Minimize text size Reset text to normal size Increase text size


Throughout 2013, we are updating the Research-Based Web Design and Usability Guidelines that so many of you reference and rely on. The first step in that process was to implement a searchable database. The database allows you to access the guidelines associated with your area of interest and allows us to update the guidelines more easily and frequently.

At present, the database houses the current guidelines published in 2006. Moving forward, we will update the database to cover current trends and topics in digital communications, including:

  • Responsive design
  • Mobile strategy
  • Applications (apps)
  • Social media

How to Get Involved

Creating the 2013 guidelines involves extensive research and review. If you would like to be involved, or if you would just like to offer suggestions for topics or evidence for inclusion, contact us at

Search HHS Web Guidelines

Search by entering keyword(s) and clicking the search button.

Guideline Chapters

Usability Guidelines Book

The Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines is also available as a PDF (21 MB) for downloading convenience. It includes the:

  • Background and methodology
  • Glossary
  • Appendices
  • Sources
  • Author index


The guidelines may not be applicable to all audiences or contexts and are not fixed rules. Although considerable effort has been made to base the guidelines on research from a variety of fields—including cognitive psychology, computer science, human factors, technical communication, and usability—other disciplines may provide valuable research that is not reflected in these guidelines.

Linking to or Citing the Guidelines

Get guidance on linking to or citing the guidelines.