About

Monthly calls

At USWDS monthly calls, we share important updates and tips about how to use the design system.

Register for upcoming calls on Digital.gov. All USWDS videos are available on our YouTube page.

May 2024 : Creating accessible civic spaces

Learn how to design usable and accessible civic spaces on the web and beyond.

Guest speaker Whitney Quesenbery joined the U.S. Web Design System team on Global Accessibility Awareness Day to discuss her work to create a more accessible voting process. She previously served as a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee and helped draft versions 1.0 and 1.1 of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines.

April 2024 : Introduction to Web Components

Learn the basics about Web Components and what this technology means for USWDS

Dan Williams and James Mejia from USWDS described the basics of Web Components: what they are, how this technology works, and how Web Components can simplify how teams implement and stay up-to-date with the design system.

March 2024 : Building with USWDS tools

Learn how to build new components that look and feel consistent with existing components

Our USWDS team did a live tutorial on customizing and extending USWDS. We covered working with settings, applying tokens, handling style conflicts, and ensuring good color contrast.

February 2024 : USWDS component lifecycle

How ideas for new components become proposals and how you can help

We reviewed how community suggestions become formal proposals for new components. USWDS counts on community feedback and we encourage you to contribute. We also talked about the lifecycle for existing components.

January 2024 : Component-based accessibility tests

Manual accessibility tests for the whole team

We shared new component-based accessibility test pages (formerly called “critical checklists”) for the accordion, button, and link components. We also discussed the months of work that led to their launch. The process started with internal manual accessibility testing of USWDS components. We then prototyped the pages that explain how we tested and what we found in those tests. Later, usability testing with participants from the USWDS community shaped the iterative development of these pages. We look forward to updating the community as we roll out accessibility tests for more USWDS components.

November 2023 : Designing a repeatable research process with people with disabilities

Managing and sustaining our user research

We continued a discussion from the October monthly call about ongoing research on how the design system works for users with disabilities. We presented more research findings and talked about what those results mean for USWDS components. We also defined best research practices and plans to continue, improve, and share findings from this work.

October 2023 : Conducting user research on how USWDS serves people with disabilities

How to develop a sustainable, repeatable research process

One of our roadmap goals is to conduct more user research with people who have disabilities — and to ensure we’re doing so regularly. We shared our progress and reported on findings from our first round of this research: working with users who have visual impairments to conduct usability tests on design system components.

September 2023 : Mission, vision, and polestar

Stepping back to look at the big picture

It’s been eight years since the first public release of USWDS. What have we done? Where are we going? What have we learned? We revisited our mission and vision as we looked out in the direction of the next eight years.

August 2023 : Product roadmap

Looking ahead to 2024 for the U.S. Web Design System

The USWDS team shared the latest iteration of the design system’s product roadmap. We discussed how we develop, update, and publicly display our roadmap.

June 2023 : Introducing critical checklists

Developing and evaluating content for manual accessibility and user experience (UX) tests

We talked about the easy-to-follow, manual accessibility and user experience (UX) tests we’re developing for USWDS components. We’re calling these tests Critical Checklists.

May 2023 : Real-world accessibility

What’s it like to be blind and use the web in 2023

To observe Global Accessibility Awareness Day we talked about the real-world experience of blind users on the web.

April 2023 : Top tasks

What the U.S. Web Design System team did and what they found

We discussed how and why the USWDS team performed their Top Tasks research, as well as what they learned and what they’ll do next.

March 2023 : Making sense: Attention and the brain

Cognition, perception, and design

The design system team took a step back and explored how our design decisions both support and are supported by the ways our bodies and brains perceive order and make sense of the world.

February 2023 : Using design tokens

What design tokens are and how to adapt them to agency needs

Take a deep dive into USWDS design tokens. What are they? How are they used? How can they be adapted to agencies’ branding needs?

January 2023 : Frequently asked questions

Answering your most-asked questions about the U.S. Web Design System

The USWDS team answered frequent questions, such as how to theme USWDS, how to set up custom fonts, and when new components get released.

Latest updates

Meaningful code and guidance updates are listed in the following table:

Date Description
2024-06-14

Added May 2024 monthly call. Note that there is no video available for this call yet. More information: uswds-site#2708

2024-05-15

Added April 2024 monthly call. More information: uswds-site#2671

2024-04-26

Added March 2024 monthly call. More information: uswds-site#2631

2024-04-26

Added February 2024 monthly call. More information: uswds-site#2576

2024-02-09

Added January 2024 monthly call. More information: uswds-site#2465

2023-12-11

Added November 2023 monthly call. More information: uswds-site#2393

2023-11-06

Added monthly calls page. More information: uswds-site#2345