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After listening to a lot of thoughtful feedback and discussion from a wide range of voices in the government web community, we’ve decided to change our name to the U.S. Web Design System. (You don’t need to update any code for this, it’s simply an announcement.)

Here’s why we’re making the change:

  • We wanted to clarify our project: they’re not mandatory standards, but a system of tools and guidelines that anyone can choose to build better government websites and services.
  • Standards also suggests something fixed and rigid, which is the opposite of our goal to create a design system that’s flexible, modular, and always learning from its users and modern best practices.
  • It’s a system whose various parts (e.g. visual design, accessible color combinations, interactive components, page templates, etc…) can be used bit by bit, all together, or extended into something new.
  • A Design System is the real-world name for what we do and what we are. All kinds of organizations—from governments to large corporations—use design systems to help guide the design and development of their digital products. So we’ll be consistent with real-world usage as well as gov-specific terminology.
  • Conveniently, we don’t need to change the acronym (USWDS).

Moving forward as the U.S. Web Design System is the right thing to do and will strengthen the system going forward. Our mission to provide research-backed design patterns for building accessible, responsive, and consistent digital products for the federal government is as important as ever, and we’re focused on improving what we do and the benefits we provide to those who use what we make.

We’d like to thank everyone for contributing their time and expertise to the discussion and your patience as we worked through this issue. We’ll begin rolling this out in the next few weeks (see the task list). We look forward to continuing to work together in the coming year.