Introducing patterns

USWDS patterns are practical guidelines and best practices for common user interactions

What are design patterns?

Patterns are best practice design solutions for specific user tasks and interactions.

Where do design patterns fit into USWDS?

If we frame USWDS within a food metaphor, patterns are the recipes that pull together components (ingredients), tokens (flavors and textures), and usability and accessibility guidance (techniques). Patterns provide the recipe — the blueprint — for creating an inclusive experience. You’ll still need to apply your deep knowledge of your users to make design choices that work for you, but the patterns summarize the considerations important to your choices.

Design patterns provide suggested layouts, key considerations, and research-informed recommendations on how to create successful experiences. They are designed to respect and reflect the variety of personal and life experiences users bring as these recipes come to life.

How will design patterns drive USWDS in the future?

The initial set of USWDS design patterns represent some of the most common information-gathering and task-related interactions digital teams are currently designing, with a focus on applying a lens of inclusivity to these customer experiences.

We believe this approach is just the beginning — and that our continued focus on understanding what digital teams need to reduce friction and support all users will drive USWDS toward pattern-driven development — new or improved components, tokens, guidance, and templates that reflect an evolving understanding of inclusive language and equity in delivery. We expect USWDS patterns to evolve just as this space does.