As part of the 21st Century IDEA act, the federal government has rules now to ensure a satisfying user experience across websites. One program that helps agencies reach these goals is the U.S. Web Design System. Created in 2015, USWDS provides code and resources for federal web designers to create websites that are easy to navigate and simple to use. Jacob Parcell, innovation portfolio director at GSA, says that the U.S. Web Design System takes inspiration from similar private sector projects.
“It was a partnership between GSA and the U.S. Digital Service. What we were trying to do is create a similar code base for a few projects we were working on together, and we had noticed that the design systems existed in the private sector,” Parcell said. “A design system is a way of an organization or company having a common code base so when they build digital experiences, they have the same look and feel, and people within the company don’t have to recreate the wheel. What we were trying to do back then is come up with a similar concept for government. Over the years it has become very popular. We have over 40 agencies using the U.S. Web Design System.”