Afterlife – Designer Discussion

Government Digital Service by Stephen McCarthy

Yesterday Stephen McCarthy, a designer based in the Governments Digital Service, came in to discuss his work with us. His job was to improve the way people interact with the government, through making substantial changes, building things, using code, spotting problems and working collaboratively.

He told us that there used to be many government websites and this started to become confusing, so they decided to replace all the websites with just one (“”). With every page they made sure it had a purpose! He told us that they experimented with using different symbols, and eventually people would start referring to the  symbols and seeing them as different categories. However people started to get confused thinking that the symbols would lead you to a different page. To solve this problem, they made the website as basic as they could!

Using the same idea as Beatrice Warde had in her book ‘The Crystal Goblet’ 1932, she said that typography should be simple and clear. The design company now considers, the words, typography, layout, visuals, physical space, time and behaviour, all to make the website as easy as possible to use. McCarthy also told us that “Words are the service” so its important that all the information on the page is accessible and simple, whilst also using the fewest number of typographic styles needed on each page!




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