Introducing the U.S. Web Design Standards

“The U.S. Web Design Standards are the U.S. government’s very own set of common UI components and visual styles for websites. It’s a resource designed to make things easier for government designers and developers, while raising the bar on what the American people can expect from their digital experiences.”

Source: 18F — Introducing the U.S. Web Design Standards

Interesting move by our government, and definitely something that needed to be done. The four goals they worked towards are fairly close to the ones I lay out with clients when we’re working on a new site design or build as well:

  1. Make the best thing, the easiest thing. We believe that making tools that align with the values and needs of digital workers in the federal government will drive adoption.
  2. Be accessible out of the box. We created tools that seamlessly meet the standards of 508 accessibility, from colors to code.
  3. Design for flexibility. We aim to give the American people a sense of familiarity when using government services, while allowing agencies to customize these tools to fit their unique needs.
  4. Reuse, reuse, reuse. We reviewed, tested, evaluated, and repurposed existing patterns, code, and designs from dozens of government and private sector style guides to make use of tried-and-true best practices.

Add “Your tastes are not everyone’s tastes (i.e. the client is not always right)” and that’s pretty much my approach.

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