18F And USDS Working Towards The Standardization Of US Web Design

Under the administration of President Barack Obama, the US Digital Service and 18F, the group that makes digital products for government organizations introduced the US Web Design Standards in September. The style guide is not compulsorily required by federal agencies but a growing number of websites have started following the guidelines. The team of designers is now asking for feedbacks so to better meet the needs of agencies and their users.

If you will look at the guide’s original styles and user interface components, you will notice that they were made with 508-compliant, open source and mobile responsive features. The intent was to provide federal agencies with a fairly consistent and customizable process of website development that will enhance online citizen services.

According to USDS designer Mollie Ruskin during the recent 18F and USDS webcast, their goal was to create consistency across government sites so that navigation will be easier for both the staff and end users. Consistency in website design will translate into time savings and increased efficiency.

The team evaluated patterns, codes, fonts, usability factors, colors and full designs from dozens of public and private sector websites in order to gather the most efficient components for style libraries. User interviews, rankings and system were also conducted by the team so as to assess the most ideal tools and easy implementation factors.

The outcome consists of progressively enhanced HTML and modular CSS that can be used in part or in whole. Agencies can adopt the standards and they can reuse and download common web interaction tools that include buttons, tables and web forms. Agencies can also tweak visual style features like color pallets and typography that can be used for branding.

Because the standards are still in the alpha stage, researches are still being conducted including quality assurance and usability tests. Additional feedbacks and comments are still being sought for by 18F and USDS.

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