Design Approach

The City advocates for a human-centered design approach to all digital design projects. This means not relying solely on our own interests and assumptions. It means designing with and for the end users—including those who will ultimately use your services as well as those who deliver them. It means prioritizing research, and testing and revising often.

Civic Service Design


Children sitting at desk with cookies and cups while looking at phones

The Service Design Studio at the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) created Civic Service Design Tools + Tactics, which lays out human-centered design methods tailored to government service design. The toolkit’s principles and tactics can and should be applied to all digital design projects.

NYC Opportunity describes service design as “the practice of creating, better understanding, and improving upon programs at any stage; we use ‘civic service design’ to mean applying the tools and methods of service design to government-run or funded programs.”

You can find the full set of civic service design principles, and methods, tools, and templates for research and design at the Civic Service Design Tools + Tactics website, and learn more in the User Research & Testing section.

Read about specific UX and design principles and City brand guidelines in the Design section.