Skip to main content

GSA Tech Guides

All guides » Design guides

Web Design Standards

What are the Web Design Standards?

The Web Design Standards is a library of design guidelines and code to help government developers and designers quickly create trustworthy, accessible, and consistent digital government services.

Right now, when the American people go online to access government services, they’re often met with confusing navigation systems, a cacophony of visual brands and inconsistent interaction patterns. Dedicated federal employees are striving to build helpful digital tools, but our work happens in silos, under unique brands and programs. As a result, we spend a lot of time “reinventing the wheel” - recreating common patterns such as buttons, forms, and search bars - over and over again. At the end of the day, we’re creating poor user experiences, and wasting American taxpayer dollars in solving the same problems again and again. So we asked ourselves: Could we create a shared set of tools to provide consistent, beautiful, and easy-to-use government websites? Thus the Standards was born.

The Standards allow designers and developers to have a leg-up in updating existing services, or quickly create new websites, to have a modern, consistent feel. They are open source, free to use, and comply with Section 508 and OMB guidance. Currently they are being used on 100 government sites that collectively reach more than 26 million users a month!

The Standards offer code and guidelines for forms, typography, buttons, alerts and more. The latest release, 1.0, is the culmination of more than a year and a half of design and development through more than 20 versions. And there are more than 3,400 folks, inside and outside government, following the project on GitHub and contributing back to the code.

We’re looking to expand with more mobile performance-optimized components and continued user research to guide our future product decisions. We’re also looking at building more advanced components like mapping and data visualizations.

Our team is also available to work closely with you to develop custom features or train teams on implementing the Standards. If you’d like to talk to the team or explore a partnership, please contact us at uswebdesignstandards@gsa.gov. If you’ve got more general questions, you can join us in our new public Slack channel or if you have feature requests or find a bug, please file an issue in our Github tracker. This project is maintained by 18F, an office within GSA.