Pages

Service unavailable pages
Experimental

This pattern is currently experimental because more research is needed to validate it.

This is a page that tells someone a service is unavailable on purpose. These are also known as 503 and shutter pages.

<div class="govuk-width-container">
  <main class="govuk-main-wrapper govuk-main-wrapper--l" id="main-content" role="main">
    <div class="govuk-grid-row">
      <div class="govuk-grid-column-two-thirds">
        <h1 class="govuk-heading-xl">Service unavailable</h1>
        <p class="govuk-body-l">
          You will be able to use the service from 9am on Monday 19&nbsp;November&nbsp;2018.
        </p>
        <p class="govuk-body">
          <a class="govuk-link" href="#">Contact the Tax Credit Helpline</a> if you need to make changes to your claim or speak to someone about your tax credits.
        </p>
      </div>
    </div>
  </main>
</div>

When to use this pattern

Use a service unavailable page when a service has been closed on purpose. This could be for a specific period of time or permanently.

If there is a problem with the service, use a there is a problem with the service page.

Have a general page in case you need to close a service and do not have time to update the page. As soon as you know when the service will be available, update the page.

How it works

The page should have:

  • “Service unavailable – service name – GOV.UK” as the page title
  • “Service unavailable” as the H1
  • the day, date and time it is going to be available or what to do if it is permanently closed
  • information about what has happened to their answers if they are in the middle of a transaction
  • contact information, if it exists and helps meet a user need
  • a link to another service, if they can use it to do what they came to do

Contact information should either be:

  • a link to a specific page that includes numbers and opening times
  • include all numbers and opening times

Have clear and concise content and do not use:

  • breadcrumbs
  • vague, unhelpful words like maintenance, improvements
  • red text to warn people

General page

<div class="govuk-width-container">
  <main class="govuk-main-wrapper govuk-main-wrapper--l" id="main-content" role="main">
    <div class="govuk-grid-row">
      <div class="govuk-grid-column-two-thirds">
        <h1 class="govuk-heading-xl">Service unavailable</h1>
        <p class="govuk-body-l">
          You will be able to use the service later.
        </p>
        <p class="govuk-body">
          We saved your answers. They will be available for 30 days.
        </p>
        <p class="govuk-body">
          <a class="govuk-link" href="#">
            Contact the Tax Credit Helpline</a> if you need to make changes to your claim or speak to someone about your tax credits.
        </p>
      </div>
    </div>
  </main>
</div>

When you know when a service will be available

<div class="govuk-width-container">
  <main class="govuk-main-wrapper govuk-main-wrapper--l" id="main-content" role="main">
    <div class="govuk-grid-row">
      <div class="govuk-grid-column-two-thirds">
        <h1 class="govuk-heading-xl">Service unavailable</h1>
        <p class="govuk-body-l">
          You will be able to use the service on Monday 19&nbsp;November&nbsp;2018.
        </p>
        <p class="govuk-body">
          We have not saved your answers. When the service is available, you will have to start again.
        </p>
        <p class="govuk-body">
          <a class="govuk-link" href="#">Contact the Tax Credit Helpline</a> if you need to make changes to your claim or speak to someone about your tax credits.
        </p>
      </div>
    </div>
  </main>
</div>

Service is closed for part of the year

This is for a service like tax credit renewals.

After a service closes

<div class="govuk-width-container">
  <main class="govuk-main-wrapper govuk-main-wrapper--l" id="main-content" role="main">
    <div class="govuk-grid-row">
      <div class="govuk-grid-column-two-thirds">
        <h1 class="govuk-heading-xl">Service unavailable</h1>
        <p class="govuk-body-l">
          You cannot use the online service to renew your tax credits.
        </p>
        <p class="govuk-body">
          <a class="govuk-link" href="#">Contact the Tax Credit Helpline</a> to renew your tax credits by phone or letter.
        </p>
        <p class="govuk-body">
          You can use the tax credits service to:
        </p>
        <ul class="govuk-list govuk-list--bullet">
          <li>find out more about your payments</li>
          <li>see who is on your claim</li>
          <li>make changes to your claim</li>
          <li>check the status of your renewal</li>
        </ul>
      </div>
    </div>
  </main>
</div>

Before a service opens

Do not include any contact information.

<div class="govuk-width-container">
  <main class="govuk-main-wrapper govuk-main-wrapper--l" id="main-content" role="main">
    <div class="govuk-grid-row">
      <div class="govuk-grid-column-two-thirds">
        <h1 class="govuk-heading-xl">Service unavailable</h1>
        <p class="govuk-body-l">
          You will be able renew your tax credits from Tuesday 24&nbsp;April&nbsp;2018.
        </p>
        <p class="govuk-body">
          <a class="govuk-link" href="#">
            Contact the Tax Credit Helpline</a> to renew your tax credits by phone or letter.
        </p>
        <p class="govuk-body">
          You can
          <a class="govuk-link" href="#">use the tax credits service</a> to:
        </p>
        <ul class="govuk-list govuk-list--bullet">
          <li>find out more about your payments</li>
          <li>see who is on your claim</li>
          <li>make changes to your claim</li>
        </ul>
      </div>
    </div>
  </main>
</div>

Service is closed forever

Nothing has replaced the service

<div class="govuk-width-container">
  <main class="govuk-main-wrapper govuk-main-wrapper--l" id="main-content" role="main">
    <div class="govuk-grid-row">
      <div class="govuk-grid-column-two-thirds">
        <h1 class="govuk-heading-xl">Service unavailable</h1>
        <p class="govuk-body-l">
          The submit an employment intermediary report service has closed.
        </p>
        <p class="govuk-body">
          Contact us if you need to speak to someone about the service and your reports.
        </p>
        <p class="govuk-body">Telephone:
          <br>
          <strong class="govuk-!-font-weight-bold">0808 157 3900</span>
    </p>
    <p class="govuk-body">Opening times:<br>
      <strong class="govuk-!-font-weight-bold">Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 4:30pm</strong>
        </p>
      </div>
    </div>
  </main>
</div>

Something has replaced the service

<div class="govuk-width-container">
  <main class="govuk-main-wrapper govuk-main-wrapper--l" id="main-content" role="main">
    <div class="govuk-grid-row">
      <div class="govuk-grid-column-two-thirds">
        <h1 class="govuk-heading-xl">Service unavailable</h1>
        <p class="govuk-body-l">Universal Credit has replaced tax credits.</p>
        <p class="govuk-body">
          <a class="govuk-link" href="#">
            Contact the Tax Credit Helpline</a> if you need to speak to someone about your tax credits.
        </p>
        <p class="govuk-body">You can:</p>
        <ul class="govuk-list govuk-list--bullet">
          <li>
            <a class="govuk-link" href="#">find out more about Universal Credit</a>
          </li>
          <li>
            <a class="govuk-link" href="#">apply for Universal Credit</a>
          </li>
          <li>
            <a class="govuk-link" href="#">sign in to your Universal Credit account</a>
          </li>
        </ul>
      </div>
    </div>
  </main>
</div>

Research on this pattern

This pattern was tested with 5 users. The user needs identified were to say:

  • when the service will be available
  • how they can do what they came to do

To meet the needs:

  • give clear information about when the service will be available again
  • if the service has closed forever, what has replaced it
  • say what someone needs to do if they need to speak to someone
  • include a link to another service or contact information about offline support

Next steps

More research is needed to find out:

  • what people need to know
  • what their expectations are after reading the page
  • if people understand what is going on when they see the page

Get in touch

If you’ve got a question, idea or suggestion share it in #govuk-design-system on cross-government Slack (open in app) or email the Design System team on govuk-design-system-support@digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk

Discuss ‘Service unavailable pages’ on GitHub