What is a design history?
A design history can help your team log design decisions and create a permanent record of how your service has developed over time.
When designing and building a service, it can be easy to forget why previous decisions were made, even more so as new people join the team and others leave. A design history can help by creating a permanent record.
A design history site is like a blog, with posts describing the development of new features, iterations of existing ones or findings from user research – anything that may be useful to return to later.
This project was developed by the Becoming a teacher team at the Department for Education who found that by keeping a design history, they could:
- re-evaluate decisions
- see how a feature changed over time
- see how things tested in research
- give context to new team members
- demonstrate reasons why certain features did not work
- create snapshots of how things looked at significant milestones
- share design decisions across government
- share everything with service assessors
As of February 2020, the Becoming a teacher design history includes more than 200 posts documenting 5 different services. You can learn more about how and why the team created their design history on the DfE Digital blog.