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This page contains frequently asked questions from our community.

If you can’t find the answer to your question, you can email, post a message on the community forum or join our conversation on Slack.



Is there any documentation or list of components?

You can find the Design System documentation at For further examples of our tests you can also see the components unit tests.

What are you working on?

You can view our project backlog to see an up to date list of tasks. We generally try to balance 50% community engagement (capability uplift and understanding user needs) and 50% product (maintenance and building).

What are the differences between version one and version two?

Version one was implemented following strict semantic HTML. This caused issues with implementation as users who didn’t have easy control over their HTML struggled to implement the components. Due to this version one is now deprecated and is no longer supported. Version two uses classes that need to be added. This allows users to be more flexible with the HTML they are provided with.

Who can use the components?

The components are built for everyone. We want government and private sector to embrace the components. It aims to solve common usability and accessibility problems in a simple and robust way.

I found an issue/bug/problem. What do I do?

That’s awesome! Please take a look at the Github issue queue, if you find a relevant issue please join the conversation and note down any steps you took to find it. If it’s a new issue please create a new issue and provide detailed instructions. We’ve provided an issue template to make this process easier.

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Why is there a max-width on elements inside the body?

To optimise readability we have set a max-width on certain elements inside the body. This creates a consistent and easy to use user interface. You can override the code as necessary, but please understand your users needs.

Are there .psd or .sketch files of the components?

We don't maintain Photoshop files, but if you're a Sketch user, you can head to the downloads page on our documentation site to get the latest version. We're updating them frequently to add new features and fix any issues, but if you'd like to contribute new functionality or bug fixes, please create an issue or open a pull request in the design system repository.

Why no carousels, tabs, and dropdowns?

Complicated functions and interactions need careful accessibility consideration during development and design; usually on a per-project basis. We plan on looking at some of these things in the future and provide guidance around them.

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Are the components available with my content management system or JavaScript framework?

The components are built to be system-agnostic. This means that it can work with any system, development environment, build tools or stack. Currently we support three different entry-points:

There are also many communities which are connecting content management systems and other JavaScript frameworks to the components. If you would like to do the same we recommend having a look at the question How do I add the components to my build process? How do I add custom code/variables/overrides?.

Why are my HTML elements NOT automatically styled (h1, input, blockquote, etc.)?

The body and headings components are likely what you're looking for.

HTML elements no longer get styling from the components by default. From our learnings in version 1, we decided it was best to provide our users with css classes which they can then invoke onto the HTML output their system provides.

Why should I use the components if I still have to write custom code?

The purpose of the components is to help you get started and give you a foundation to work from, which will in turn provide a consistency and efficiency across government projects. As with any framework, there is still an expectation that custom code will be needed to meet your specific needs.

However, we do have several whole-page templates which we hope will greatly minimise the need to write custom code.

Our recommendation is to write your custom code in a reusable and robust pattern. If you’re making a new component, follow the same patterns as the existing components. That will allow you to contribute back, or replace those components in the future if your team want to implement another solution.

How do I request a new component to be added to the system?

The best place to start is by looking for existing conversation in the community forums, followed by reviewing the Contribution Guidelines.

How do I add the components to my build process? How do I add custom code/variables/overrides?

Build processes can be complicated, we recommend first looking at our design system starter pack. This is a simple implementation of the design system showing how to include the components into your project. After you npm install and run npm run watch you should have some generated files. Looking at the src/sass/main.scss file you can see the order:


// components
@import '@auds';


This pattern is how we recommend to apply the components. You are able to overwrite variables as we use the SASS default flag on our variables. Then when creating or overriding existing components we recommend adding your code in the custom SASS section.

How do I make a pull request? What branch should I pull request into?

Pull requests are awesome so thank you for reading this! The general procedure we follow when making a pull request is:

  1. Create a new branch off the development branch for what you’re working on
  2. Do the necessary changes
  3. If possible please test the work, we understand this is not always possible :)
  4. Please submit your PR against the develop branch of the govau/design-system-components repo.

What code standards do I need to follow for a pull request?

While we want to be open to the community and allow collaboration to happen without barriers, we do follow a strict set of rules for code that ends up into the components. It would be a great help if you could test or specify what you have tested against that list. Please also work with the code style, not against it.

Where can I get help implementing the components with my project?

We currently have a community on Slack and Github. If you’re working on a specific implementation with a JavaScript framework or content management system there may also be communities external to the components.

What is pancake? Do I need to know pancake?

You don’t need to know or fully understand pancake. It’s a tool used to distribute the components. We would recommend reading the repository documentation and having an understanding of the pancake object in the package.json file. Pancake allows users to npm install and get a the assets file copied into a folder of your choosing. It’s a powerful tool that we have built to enable us to use npm as our distribution manager. This means that one user can have breadcrumbs version 1.2 and another can have version 2.1 and nothing will break. Users can then choose to upgrade their components when necessary. A great article around pancake can be found on medium.

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