Helping creators know how to meet the NSW Design Standards - May 2020

Since December 2019 the current Design System team have been working with creators of digital things and subject matter experts to define the standards. Through that work we’ve produced new minimum requirements and guidance to help teams know how to meet the standards when making government websites, apps and services.

We’ve come a long way since the re-release of the NSW Design Standards in September 2019 (now on our third iteration to be exact). We now published detailed minimum requirements for all of the standards.

Agencies had told us they see the value of the standards but they also told us… ‘we need clearer expectations’ and more detail about what to do and how to get there.

So we developed minimum requirements so teams can know what’s expected from them, as well as providing more guidance to apply the standards. This helps people plan for and meet various requirements early in the design process and gives people confidence that they’re on the right track.

How we worked

Our goal is to make the standards more useful and relevant for teams creating digital things.

The standards set out what you need to do to design and deliver digital services for NSW Government. They’re for teams of varying digital maturity to know what to plan for and what’s expected to create better customer-focused digital products and services. They provide the steps to help you make decisions and build team capability.

Over the past six months we researched and tested our prototypes of the new standards with experts and users of the Design System. We were lucky to have worked closely with many experts from across NSW Government:

  • the Data Analytics Centre
  • Government Chief Information Security Office
  • NSW Information and Privacy Commission, and the
  • NSW State Archives and Records Agency.

Iterate, test and learn

We’ve been testing the layout and navigation of the standards content with service designers, policymakers, and a vast collection of other government employees. What we’ve learned is that they ‘just want to know the minimum’ they need to do upfront.

Based on their feedback, we’ve come up with a content strategy for the standards that outlines the minimum you need to do, how to do it, and a checklist to self-assess your progress. Users found this layout clear, logical and easy to follow.

Caption: Iterating as we go. A paper prototype and early webpage prototype of the new Design Standards content

Also in progress is a project phase checklist for teams who prefer to apply the standards at various phases of the agile delivery process.

What’s new

Check out the standards at digital.nsw.

Right now, we’re developing guidance around what’s expected of people when governing their project, and how to be transparent and collaborative.

Get involved

If you want to help us shape accompanying guidance for the standards, or take part in usability testing, get in touch:

We’d love to hear from you here on the Community too, if you have any feedback or suggestions about the standards.

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