A Pattern Library proof of concept for New Zealand government

Building a model to develop consistent, quality services, easy to use and reuse.

Posted by Mark Kirkpatrick on July 10, 2018

Government Information Services (GIS) are completing discovery work into an all-of-government Pattern Library (as part of a wider discussion around a Design System ), testing the following statement:

"Users need to experience consistently applied interface elements that are familiar, usable and accessible when using government services so that those services are trusted, inclusive and used.”

We are talking to agencies, vendors and international counterparts to determine need, and if there are opportunities to reuse some of the good work already done in this space.

There are two strands to current work:

  1. Building a Proof of Concept (POC) Pattern Library
  2. Research and discovery work

The POC will help visualise what a pattern library is (e.g. to demo with leadership teams), using a sub-set of patterns, and an exemplar showing use. This work will also inform what future work in this space could entail.

Mark Kirkpatrick presenting at government design system working grooup meet-up - slide suppplied by UXPin Mark Kirkpatrick presenting at government workshop

Key user groups identified so far from across government include:

  • Developers
  • Designers
  • Content design communities
  • Vendors.

User benefits

This Proof of Concept (working title: 'Tahi’ or ‘One’) is a model for unifying the look and feel of key government digital services in New Zealand. Other possible benefits identified from talking to digital teams include:

  • Accessibility and quality ‘baked-in’
  • Cost savings across system
  • Well-documented, easy to reuse patterns/components
  • Faster time to market (e.g. easier prototyping)

We will do further work with agencies and vendors to learn more about pattern library form and function, as well as drafting principles.

This will inform future work around a sustainable way to deliver unified government services.

Active communities of interest

It is vital that communities across government are part of this process and we are consulting with cross-disciplinary groups involved in digital service delivery.

Following on from a successful meet-up in May, we are holding meet-ups over the winter for communities engaged across government in:

  • UX
  • Development
  • Content design
  • Service design.

We want to explore further what a living library could be, including how to collaborate on governance, contribution that make it easier for teams across government to use any system.

We look forward to the work ahead, getting more agencies involved and contributing to making things easier for users of government services.

Header background image by Reuben Moyler on Unsplash