Accessibility is a crucial part of government product design. First, it’s the law. Federal agencies face legal consequences when they don’t meet accessibility requirements. Second, it affects us all. Whether you have a motor disability, you sprained your wrist playing dodgeball, you need a building to have a ramp for your wheelchair or stroller, or you literally just have your hands full, we all find ourselves unable to do certain things at different points in our lives.
One of the most common questions we receive is: Should I integrate the Draft U.S. Web Design Standards into my existing project? The answer is: it depends. A lot of design research supports the notion that many people who use government websites or services may benefit from consistency across interactions, user experiences, and behavior across those websites. A consistent look and feel with common design elements will feel familiar, trustworthy, and secure—and users will be able to navigate government websites more easily because of a common palette and design.
Joanne is a young Army Veteran who is looking to make use of her GI Bill Benefits and apply for federal student loans to attend college. In trying to access the federal programs which will allow her to afford college, Joanne must navigate the websites of multiple agencies. She finds dozens of government websites which all seem relevant to what she’s looking for. Joanne is confused. Are these programs related to each other?