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.

1. Design for users

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.

2. Listen to your customers

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.

3. Create memorable content

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.

4. Shield customers from complexity

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.

5. Build for inclusion

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.

6. Modularity

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.

7. Build sustainable components

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.

8. Technical independence

Avoid lock-in

The Council Toolkit should be technically agnostic, built on timeless principles and using core web standards and approaches.

9. Use it - it's free

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.

10. Easy to learn and pleasant to use

Make it part of your processes

Through commissioning and development the Toolkit can be the de facto starting point for new site creation.

Get started now

Download Council Toolkit on GitHub

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