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About this guide

18F user experience (UX) designers join cross-functional teams to improve interactions between government agencies and the people they serve. The 18F UX Guide helps us get this job done. It’s a starting point for UX design at 18F: doing it, discussing it, and ensuring it’s done to a consistent level of quality.

What this guide is

Like our content guide, the 18F UX guide is written for our internal designers, but we hope it’s a useful reference for anyone. Our working assumptions for this guide include that 18F UX designers are expected to possess, among other things:

  • design research skills
  • the ability to skillfully navigate organizational relationships
  • the ability to deliver artifacts that guide development, like wireframes and prototypes

This guide includes information that may be new to the designers we hire (who may be new to government), and useful starting points for conversations with the people we work with (who may be new to UX design). For details of specific UX activities and how to conduct them, see 18F's methods.

18F staff should consult additional guidance:

How to use this guide

We created this guide for our reference. It’s here for a refresher on ways to protect research participant privacy, or for quick access to design-related templates, presentations, etc. You’re also welcome to read it from start to finish if you like.

This guide is divided into three sections:

If you have any suggestions or want to get involved, read our contributing page; find us on Slack in either #ux, #ux-guide, or #g-research; or create an issue in GitHub.

Reusing this guide in other organizations

As a work of the federal government, this project is in the public domain within the United States. Additionally, we waive copyright and related rights in the work worldwide through the CC0 1.0 Universal public domain dedication.

This guide is written for internal use and is shared in the spirit of open source. This guide is a product of what we’ve learned from doing UX research and design in government over the past few years, in collaboration with GSA’s Office of General Counsel, Privacy Office, PRA (Paperwork Reduction Act) Desk Officer, and our agency partners.

Feel free to fork this guide on GitHub and personalize it for your organization; we trust you’ll change it in whatever ways best suit you. Also, if you have a suggestion, spot an error, or otherwise want to make constructive contribution to this guide, head over to our contributing page.


This guide draws on information from many resources. GSA cannot endorse these resources, or their respective authors. GSA employees interested in further reading can access a list of 18F only, references.

18F User Experience Guide

An official website of the GSA’s Technology Transformation Services

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