Digital and technology skills

From
Cabinet Office
Updated
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Design

Creating the visual and interactive experience that ensures user needs are met quickly and easily.

Design is about how users interact with services and how the services look. It spans everything from colours to typography to accessibility.

Some relevant roles: interaction designers, user experience (UX) designers, graphic designers, visual designers, developers

Design disciplines

Understanding the particular focus of different design disciplines (eg interaction, graphic and user experience (UX))

Mapping user journeys

Plotting and explaining the end-to-end user journey of a service, including multiple online and offline touch points a user might interact with.

Using design research in design

This involves:

  • understanding different user research practices
  • working collaboratively with user researchers
  • using the findings to produce relevant design decisions

Designing using data

Using performance analysis and user research data to improve and refine the user experience.

Interaction design

Designing for ease of use

Creating user interfaces, flows and sites that are fundamentally easy to understand and use.

Designing services based on user behaviour

This involves:

  • knowing how users interact with online services
  • understanding that interaction design is often described as ‘shaping digital things for people’s use’ and considers both format and human-computer interaction (HCI)

Sketching designs

This involves:

  • sketching concepts quickly and being able to explain them to non-designers
  • showing ideas to users early on to get their feedback, which will help ensure design focuses on their needs

Platform and device agnostic digital design

Designing interfaces that are responsive as well as platform and device agnostic, so they work on as many different end user devices as possible.

Prototyping interfaces in HTML

This involves:

  • prototyping interfaces rapidly on paper and then digitally, using a basic understanding of languages such as HTML5 and CSS3
  • using debugging tools such as Chrome Dev tools and Firebug to support the development and improvement of digital services

Utilising good typography

This involves:

  • having an understanding of typography
  • creating a hierarchy of information

Accessibility

Creating accessible interfaces and services

This involves:

  • developing interfaces and front-end services that are accessible by default, which includes:
    • visual elements
    • code mark-up
    • page structures
  • considering accessibility from the outset, as accessibility improves the experience for all users

Meeting accessibility standards

This involves:

  • designing a service that meets appropriate accessibility standards (eg Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as a starting point)
  • being familiar with assistive technologies (eg screen readers and speech recognition software) and recognising how these affect the user experience
  • understanding individual and organisation-wide duties under the Equalities Act 2010

Design patterns

Creating and/or following agreed design patterns (eg styling of basic form elements and transaction pages).

Image editing

Using image editing tools to support the creation of designs, layouts and user interfaces.

Version control

Using a version control system, including to support collaborative teamwork in agile development.

Learning resources:

The Service Design Manual includes an overview of design skills, looking at what designers do and what capabilities to look for when hiring designers.

The Service Design Manual includes a wide array of resources for designers on good design practice for services on GOV.UK.

The UX review is an external blog on user experience (UX) design. It includes a guide for beginners.