Stephen McCarthy Talk – GOV.UK

It’s not finished

It never will be

Резултат с изображение за gov uk

Stephen McCarthy – Head of Design for Government as a Platform at (or which, however, won a prize for the best website)

Design for UK public services has a long and celebrated history

-underground maps

-universal standardized road signs

-the symbol for train lines

Design in government today – gdsdesign blog


  • start with  needs
  • do less
  • design with data – understand the data behind how people use the design
  • do the hard work to make it simple –
  • iterate. then iterate again – design for everyone; light weighted; dyslexic?
  • this is for everyone
  • understand context
  • build digital services, not websites
  • be consistent, not uniform
  • make things open: it makes things better

The user experience is everyone’s responsibility

format rhytm dig deeper into what it means clear purpose enablelegibility



Graphic Design in the context of government services means communicating content in the most simple way.. Design should never get in the way of the content. It should be almost invisible. Every element on the page should have a clear purpose.

  • The crystal goblet by Beatrice Warde 1932 an essay on typography

The context in which users interact with these services should always be considered – tablet/phone/monitor?

Graphic Design is not something thrown in at the end of the process

Challenge what is being communicated – ask why

  • words and typography

Words are the most important thing on the page, do not distract from the words, make your words count, do not over explain; use plain English. Understand content and how people interact with it.

Typography- font they have used is ‘New transport’. Based on user research, it is efficient, high legibility, readable, iconic they have strong established rules

Acoid long lines of copy – max 75 characters or 2/3 of the page for body copy

use the fewest number of typographic styles, be consistent

  •  layout

grids give structure to the content

when used effectively they enable clear hierarchies and groupings to form

Page furniture and color: carefully considered use of colour and page furniture such as keylines, boxes and panels. (Standard page) Incredibly simple design, clear what you need to do

space between elements gives structure, helps group content; enhances clarity legibility and readability through lack of clutter and distractions

Hierarchy !! What do we want users to read first?

Read tempo – aid easy reading and don’t tire users out with much information ! Manageable chunks of information.

Affordance –  the properties of an object relating to how easy it is to use

Don’t use UI to expain UI – click this to do this

  • visuals

Only used when there is a need! Be careful with the number of icons, they distract the user – imagery

come handy when explaining instructions

  • Time

Respect people’s time

small, bite-sized chunks can feels quicker to use

  • Behaviour

Understand it. You are NOT the user. Don’t assume others will behave as you would!

Low frequency use; Novice users; Little or no learning; Broad range of devices


  • TEST
  • REMEMBER THE BIG PICTURE – detail is crucial; but the key is to see the bigger picture




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