First, learn the principles on which the Council Toolkit has been founded. This is an important starting place for all people using the Toolkit for the first time.
Our time working with Councils, government, and other public sector clients has given us a good understanding of the principles needed to design and build successful digital projects for councils and their customers. These principles are heavily influenced by the GDS design principles.
User needs; not Council needs
We must design for the users of the website or application first. We must understand the user's needs well, through use of good research and data to back up design decisions.
Then act on what you've heard
Research shows when user needs are met, customer are satisfied and more likely to user our online services. That's digital by default.
Make it bite-sized, visual, interactive and shareable
While employing responsive design principles, we must build for content first, and device second. We should aim for content parity across all media and all devices.
Do the hard work - make something simple to use. That's good customer service
Where possible reduce complexity. This includes functionality, user experience and, above all, copywriting.
Accessible public services is good design
Build services that are as inclusive, legible and readable as possible. If we have to sacrifice elegance, so be it.
Be consistent, not uniform
Modularity is at the core of the Council Toolkit to enable re-use of the design system, patterns and, ultimately, the code.
Make it inclusive
The design templates should be agnostic to container width allowing placement across the design system allowing for future-friendly adoption by a myriad of screen sizes.
The Council Toolkit should be technically agnostic, built on timeless principles and using core web standards and approaches.
Build it on an open source foundation
We've built the Toolkit on top of common open source systems, and our work is also free. With no fees to pay you can run (and run) with this.
Make it part of your processes
Through commissioning and development the Toolkit can be the de facto starting point for new site creation.