Bottom Line Up Front: Federal websites have pre-designed standards that all vendors must use.
The other day we talked about the 21st Century IDEA Act that legislated UX and good digital design for the civilian side of the Federal Government. As a result, the US Digital Service created a set of guidelines for Federal websites: the “U.S. Web Design System” (USWDS), which you can see here.
So What Is It?
The idea is that all Federal websites must have a common look-and-feel because consistency of good design makes it easier for citizens to find stuff and use the website. To that end, the USWDS has an array of style guides, templates, design guidelines, tutorials, and even downloadable code! They try to make it as simple as possible for you.
I Make Websites, Do I Have To Use It?
If you are a business or an individual that makes websites, and you’re thinking of doing some work for the Government, you have to use these. Thankfully, the USWDS is not really that hard. Come to think of it, it actually makes life easier for you by reducing the amount of design you have to do up front; they’ve already done it for you!