DTA Decomissions Government Design System - New Collective to Provide Ongoing Management

Following a change in mandate, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is no longer supporting the Australian Government Design System (AuDS). An open collective including public sector workers, developers, designers, accessibility experts and others has been established in response to this change.

Operating under the name Design System AU, the group will be providing ongoing support, maintenance and development for AuDS, ensuring that websites that utilise the System can continue to benefit from future updates. An incomplete reference of sites will be showcased here.

AuDS is a free reusable starting point for building Government website and application interfaces (frontend). It is built on inclusive design principles, meets accessibility standards, is tested with users and is themeable - to satisfy a range of government brand requirements. This allows Government entities to meet best practice requirements, and eliminates the need to repeatedly rebuild system components, saving time and resources.

There is no directive for Government entities to use the System, however, AuDS has been used extensively on its merits and in the spirit of supporting what it is trying to achieve. With so many active dependents on the System, its cessation could have resulted in end-of-life for ongoing projects, as bugs would not be fixed or kept up to date.

Under the new governance, Government groups can once again have confidence that questions they have of the System will be answered, and to the benefit of all they will be empowered to contribute back to the System.

This co-ownership will result in a more precise tool and ensure the AuDS will be sustained and well-governed independently from any one specific agency or change in Government or policy.

Design System AU are passionate about the vital role of the AuDS in delivering better Government services. It is our belief that the most viable way to see the System sustained and continued without the DTA is via the open source community, driven at heart by Government representatives.

About The Australian Government Design System

  • The Australian Government Design System (AuDS) has had significant impact on the advancement and unification of Government websites
  • There are a multitude of websites actively using the System - the recent online census is just one high profile example of the Design System in action, others are showcased here.
  • AuDS is:
    • Usability-tested, meaning research has been conducted to ensure it works well for users
    • Adherent to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA
    • Themeable - which is to say it’s both customisable and a great jumping off point for delivery teams to utilise
    • Following a change in mandate, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) are no longer supportingAuDS

About Design System AU

  • Design System AU is an open collective of developers, designers, accessibility experts, former DTA employees and others, established in response to this change
  • We will be providing ongoing support for the AuDS as a community, working in the open and making decisions together
  • Joining the Design System AU Slack or watching the project on GitHub is the best way to contribute and keep up to date with the project
  • Our work is Open Source and available here
  • We have published a Charter and an RFC process to outline who, who and where you may propose changes

Goals of Design System AU

  • To continue to make the Australian Government Design System the best design system for government
  • To provide permanent ongoing management of and support for the Australian Government Design System, ensuring it will remain a viable solution for existing and future users
  • To provide a centralised place for framework adaptations and tooling for the Australian Government Design System

Further Reading