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Building the GOV.UK Design System

Blog posted by:  and , 30 October 2017 – Categories:Style, content and design.

We’ve been developing a new design system for government services.

GOV.UK Design System homepage screenshot

GOV.UK Design System will contain all the styles, components and design patterns that teams in government need to create user-centred digital services.

Some of these things can already be found in the Service ManualGOV.UK Elements and elsewhere, but we want to bring everything together in one place and make it easy for people to find, use and contribute to.

We want GOV.UK Design System to be a resource that can be used across government. To provide styles, components and patterns that are accessible, high quality and consistent. By doing this, we can make it easier and quicker for teams to design and build services, and enable them to spend more time tackling bigger design challenges.

GOV.UK Design System recently passed its alpha assessment, so we’re now building the platform and planning how to run the service for real.

Here’s what we’ve done so far and what we plan to do next.

Strong foundations

The Design System is the culmination of a lot of work we’ve done to improve and consolidate the patterns and components that are already available.

Last year we built an alpha version of GOV.UK Frontend, which will be a single resource that service teams in government can use to implement frontend code.

We continued to publish new patterns in the Service Manual – such as task list and check before you start.

And we held a cross-government show and tell where departments shared their work on design systems, looked at the different approaches and highlighted common challenges.

It became clear from the show and tell that although different departments were working on their own systems, we were all reaching maturity at the same time and were ready to start working together.

We all saw the benefits of working towards a single, federated design system, where people get to develop their own patterns and contribute them back to the main collection.

This is what we are working towards with GOV.UK Design System.


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