The DDS is a living repository of policy, guidance and code available to creators – it is a treasure trove of information and ready-to-use pieces for anyone building websites, apps and other digital things. After the launch of the Digital Design System late last year, we’ve had lots of people working in NSW Government express a desire to start using it to build their digital services.  

However, there have been some questions about how to use the Digital Design Standard (which is a part of the DDS). So, we thought we’d clear things up.  

The Digital Design Standard is not mandatory (yet!) but working with its tenets in mind is best practice and best for your users. In this initial phase teams need to follow the mandatory bits in each part of the standard (which includes existing policy and legal requirements) and work towards the other requirements when they design and deliver digital services.  

Here is a brief overview of the mandatory bits for each part of the Standard: 


Part of the Standard 

Rules to follow  

Create with purpose –  

know what you’re aiming to achieve and why  

There are currently no mandatory rules for this standard. 

Find further detail about the Create with Purpose standard.  

Design with users, for users –  

meet user needs 

  • Disability Inclusion Act  

  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 

  • domain name guidelines  

Find further detail about the Design with Users standard  

Respect privacy and maintain security –  

build trust and confidence 

  • NSW Digital Information Security Policy  

  • Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act  

  • Health Records and Information Privacy Act 

  • State Records Act  

  • Standard on records management 

Find further detail about the Respect Privacy standard

Reuse and repurpose –  

avoid reinventing the wheel 

  • NSW Government Brand Guidelines 

  • NSW Government Funding Acknowledgment Guidelines 

  • Website consolidation guidelines 

  • Feedback Assist widget (for customer facing websites) 

  • Open Data Policy 

Find further detail about the Reuse and Repurpose standard.  

Be open, accountable and collaborative – share and be transparent  

  • Open Data Policy 

  • Government Information (Public Access) Act 

  • Data Sharing (Government Sector) Act 

  • State Records Act 

  • Standard on Records Management 

  • Code of Ethics and Conduct for NSW government sector employees 

Find further detail about the Be Open standard 

Continuously improve –  

respond and adapt to change  

The one mandatory rule for this right now is the Feedback Assist widget used on customer-facing websites.  

Find further detail about the Continiously Improve standard.  

There’s plenty of non-mandatory information that will help you create the best digital service you can, including best practice for user research, writing content and more. Each part of the Digital Design Standard has an explanation of why it’s important, how you get there, mandatory bits and helpful tips. Start exploring!

If you want to talk further about the Digital Design System, or if you’d like to contribute, please send us an email at  

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