ONS Pattern Library

June - November 2014

My first project while working at cxpartners was working with the UK Office for National Statistics to ship their alpha and beta websites by designing and building a living pattern library. The key goal for this pattern library was supporting several rapid iterations grounded in solid design thinking, and by all measures it was an overwhelming success. To this date, this has still been the most satisfying project I have ever worked on, helped by the fantastic team from cx.

Sophie did a miraculous job leading the project, Steve and Neil performed several UX and IA miracles, considering the absolutely humongous scope of all of the national statistics released in the sixth-largest economy in the world. Michelle and Chris did a wonderful job working with the ONS brand language to help carve out a coherent set of design patterns to build a pattern library from, and were a delight to work with. The cx tech director Jon pulled out all the stops to ensure the technical aspect of the project was running as smoothly as possible, and he even created a brilliant pattern library build tool, HTMLDoc off the back of it.

We worked closely with Matt Jokes, Rob Chambers, and the rest of the alpha team from the ONS to establish a new design language and identity to shake off the previous reputation of the website, which was once described as the worst, most important, website in the UK. The pattern library was originally only scoped to support an Alpha release, but went on to outlive its lifespan, and underpinned the Beta release as well.

My role in the project was as the main front-end developer. I worked with the cx design team to distil and unify their designs into a composable, re-usable set of flexible patterns, and helped the ONS and their systems integration team, Methods Digital, use the pattern library to its fullest potential, through a combination of extensive documentation and on-site training.

Sophie, Steve, Jon, Chris, Alex, Michelle et al at CX Partners were also incredibly important to the success of the Alpha. The collaborative work we did, especially in the early phases, really helped set the direction of the project and the pattern library is something I am very proud of.

– Matt Jukes, Head of Digital Transformation, ONS

While the cx team's involvement tapered off towards the transition from alpha and beta towards live, several core aspects of the live website still carry the clear hallmark of our involvement, and I couldn't be happier with the final result.

View the final pattern library here, and check out the source here.