What is the US Web Design System? A Comprehensive Guide

A design system for the federal government is a toolkit of principles, guidance and code that facilitates the creation of accessible and mobile-friendly government websites. USWDS 3.0 Migration to USWDS makes it easy to create government websites that are accessible and mobile-friendly. It provides a smoother experience both in your agency and across the federal government, and helps teams focus on higher-level goals. The US Web Design System (USWDS) is an official website of the United States Government, designed to make it easier for government teams to create accessible and mobile-friendly websites for the American public.

It is a library of codes and design guidelines that help developers and designers quickly create reliable, accessible and consistent digital government services. USWDS offers code and guidelines for forms, typography, buttons, alerts and more. The USWDS works for government teams by providing a set of common principles and people-centered design right from the start. These principles align teams across the federal government around common goals, while allowing agencies to customize these tools to fit their unique needs.

It also supports and reflects requirements for federal websites and digital services, codified in 21st century IDEA. By using the design system, your service benefits from our continuous improvement. We fix bugs, improve accessibility and reduce technical debt at scale. Every design system upgrade improves every site in the design system.

It also helps build institutional memory available to new teams, promotes user-centric decision-making and governance, and helps teams focus on their mission rather than their margin. USWDS exists to expand service experience across the federal government, so that all teams can benefit from upgrades to any equipment. It is an active open source community of government engineers, content specialists and designers, with collaborators both inside and outside the government who support dozens of agencies and nearly 200 sites. The latest version, 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 people who follow the project on GitHub and contribute to the code. We believe that creating tools that align with the values and needs of digital workers in the federal government will drive adoption. We create tools that perfectly meet 508 accessibility standards, from colors to code.

Our goal is to give the American people a sense of familiarity when using government services.

Dorothy Bauer
Dorothy Bauer

Extreme creator. Award-winning music geek. Award-winning twitter buff. Extreme coffee enthusiast. Subtly charming tv maven.

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