The beauty of style and simplicity

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The Independent Online

It might not look pretty. To some, it may even appear downright dull. But shows how a well-designed website can improve the lives of millions and cut costs at the same time – and for this reason it is a worthy winner.

Not only is it efficient, it puts its users' needs ahead of the Government's – so it is extremely democratic.

It may also have appealed to the judges because it fits into a long lineage of great British design projects – take Harry Beck's London Underground map, Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir's motorway signage or Kenneth Grange's Inter City 125 train design, for example.

Like those projects, this unassuming website has changed the lives of millions while fitting seamlessly into the context of their everyday existence. It makes tasks like renewing birth certificates and finding out when the next bank holiday is much simpler and more pleasurable. Many people who use it probably don't even remember doing so. They take it for granted – which can only be a good thing.

Tom Banks is news editor of 'Design Week'