Very shortly we’re going to release an alpha version of design principles. I thought I’d explain some of the thinking behind them in advance of that release.
Firstly, why design principles?
If you’ve spoken to anyone from the GDS design team over the last few months you’ll have heard us using the term GEL. This comes from the BBC GEL which is a great example of a set of web design guidelines.
However, the term can be slightly confusing. Global, experience and language can all have slightly different meanings to the one we want here. So we’ve opted to use the simpler and clearer design principles descriptor.
When we release you’ll notice that they are very alpha. It’s a first draft of a set of principles that will evolve to be the guide we will all reference when designing digital services. At the moment it’s a first stab at that.
Looking at it your first comment may well be: ‘why haven’t you covered this?’. The reason will probably be that we haven’t got there yet. We believe that we should talk through our work and so we have only documented decisions we’ve made so far. So for example, it won’t cover transactions because we don’t have enough work yet to be able to write a set of principles for that.
We’ve also indicated whether something is experimental, likely to change or tried and tested. This is because we’ve done things that we are planning to change but we still want to explain why we made those decisions.
We do hope the document will explain the foundations of our design process and then give examples of where we’ve used that principle in the work we’ve done so far.
This could be an internal document but we believe it will get better if we share it. As ever we’d love to hear your feedback, specifically what you think is useful, and what you’d like to see included in further versions.
You can now read more as we have released the alpha of our design principles.