The Government Digital Service (GDS) has unveiled a set of self-imposed design principles that it will follow when building future digital services, in a bid to improve user experience. 

In a blog posting on the GDS website, head of design Ben Terrett explains that the ten principles place the end user at the centre of everything being built. 

“Let’s be crystal clear about this – you can’t design well unless you’ve put the effort into getting the brief right,” he said. “If a bad digital service looks great, it’s still a bad digital service. It’s essential we are clear about what user need we are trying to meet before we begin to design.” 

The principles were originally intended to aid the design and build of, a government project intended to act as a single source for public services in the UK, but has now extended to cover future digital projects. 

GDS has created a HTML page that outlines the principles, which include start with needs, do less, design with data, do the hard work to make it simple, iterate, build for inclusion, understand context, build digital services not websites, be consistent not uniform and make things open. 

Terett also emphasises that design should consider how the final product is used across multiple platforms. 

“Another key part of design at GDS is understanding that we are designing information, not just pushing pixels around a screen,” reads the blog. 

“Good, well though-out information design will work well in any medium and on any screen. Good information design relates to content, not just visuals.” 

This will not be the final draft of principles released by GDS, as it is currently working on a series of designs for transactions, which it says will prompt further additions to the guidelines.