Co-op design system team weeknotes: Issue 2

Matt Tyas
3 min readOct 5, 2020


The design system team is part of one web following our overarching vision of:

Coherent and cost-effective user experiences for Co-op.

The design system team provide the solid foundational tools, resources and standards to enable other teams to work fast — with quality baked in from the start.

Continuing with our work on accessibility

This week we continued with our work on creating an accessibility testing framework.

Why is it important?

You can read about why we’re focusing on accessibility here.

What we’ve done

We’ve now tested 38/42 components across 16 categories. The framework is a work in progress so we found we could only run 548 out of a possible 693 tests.

The remaining tests either:

  • need further discussion on the pass/fail criteria or on how we actually test them — and to what standards
  • couldn’t be tested as the component is not surfaced in the design system as yet
  • are not applicable to a component. For example the colour palette is not rated against using the correct HTML elements — we count these as passes to get a simpler metric.

Of the tests we’ve been able to run so far, we ran:

548 tests run on 38 components across 16 categories

515 Passing tests (94%)

33 Failures (6%)

What’s next?

It’s a pretty good start, but only part of the story. These are component level tests done in isolation. We know that (in One Web anyway) many accessibility errors occur when components are used in the content management system, integrated into websites or are to do with larger bespoke functionality.

We also need to make sure things are tested with real users of mixed abilities.

Therefore our next steps are:

  • taking the failed tests and creating a backlog of things to fix
  • looking into how we can automate some testing in the design system and web platform tenants
  • beginning to create a user journey level testing framework that we’ll test with product teams
  • Working with Dave Cunningham on the above and getting his help in more clearly defining what pass/fail really means in relation to the WCAG AA/AAA guidelines
  • planning more content design-led work as we welcome Alex Hall into the team after his sterling work on Membership

We’re also:

  • Starting design pattern meet-ups from next week
  • Having 2 days per fortnight of maintenance — to allow us to fix the accessibility errors we’ve found

Last weeks survey

Last week we added a short survey asking if you had read our weeknotes and if the email format worked for you as an update.

We had 24 responses with a range of communication channels mentioned. These were email, Yammer and Slack. All of which we already use each week to publicise the work that is going on — so we’ll keep doing it this way.

There was also feedback that teams would like to be briefed on changes that are upcoming and what they need to do to accommodate them.

This is entirely understandable and something we plan to begin doing in the future, as we look at our operating model and the agreement we have with teams around Co-op. Watch this space.

Contribution and support

We’re looking at designing a clear, regular contribution to live process — that will start soon — watch this space. We’ll also be starting to understand how we work with and support product teams.

Another great week.

The design system team



Matt Tyas

Service and interaction design. Product, team management and front-end engineering.