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The CDS Method Cards (“CDS Methods”) describe how the CDS puts human-centered design into practice. While this is primarily maintained as an internal resource, we hope it can help everyone adopt the methods of human-centered design. It has been forked from 18F's method cards, and contains modifications meant to better fit the City of Chicago. Any organization or municipality is free to use this as a base for their own work, as it is under the CC0 1.0 License.

Why methods?

In order to function well within cross-functional teams, designers need to know a few things: which methods they might choose from, why one particular method makes more sense than another at any given moment, and, once they’ve picked a method, how to actually execute it. 18F Methods collects this essential information as a series of cards. In practice, we’ve found the Methods can provide folks with a gateway into our work and build internal alignment around a shared vocabulary.

Getting started

Reading the Methods online

You’re presently looking at the Methods’ GitHub (code) repository. Please visit our homepage to read the Methods online.

Printing the Methods

To print a copy of the Methods for offline use, visit the Methods print page. You may need to select file → print… from your web browser.

Running the Methods website on your local machine

You will need Ruby ( > version 2.1.5 ). You may consider using a Ruby version manager such as rbenv or rvm to help ensure that Ruby version upgrades don’t mean all your gems will need to be rebuilt.

On OS X, you can use Homebrew to install Ruby in /usr/local/bin, which may require you to update your $PATH environment variable:

$ brew update
$ brew install ruby

To serve the CDS Methods locally, using methods as the name of your new repository: Run each of the following steps to get the site up and running.

git clone
cd methods
bundle install
jekyll serve

You should be able to see the site at: http://localhost:4000/

Contributing to the Methods

For more information on contributing to the Methods (or even making a suggestion), see

CDS contributors

  • Design Director: Jason Kunesh
  • Tait Chamberlain
  • Lukas Hoffman

18F contributors

  • Product owner: Eric Ronne
  • Designer (researcher): Andrew Maier
  • Designer (front-end developer): Scott Weber

Public domain

This project is in the worldwide public domain. As stated in CONTRIBUTING:

This project is in the public domain within the United States, and copyright and related rights in the work worldwide are waived through the CC0 1.0 Universal public domain dedication.

All contributions to this project will be released under the CC0 dedication. By submitting a pull request, you are agreeing to comply with this waiver of copyright interest.


The City of Chicago's design methods for practicing human-centered design, derived from @18F.







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