About the digital standards

Find out who the digital standards are endorsed by, what they include and how you can use them in your work.

The digital standards aim to make best practice for digital easier to discover, understand and implement across the Victorian Public Service.

The WoVG digital standards are now best practice for you as a Victorian Government digital services practitioner.

In July 2017, the digital standards were endorsed by:

  • the Victorian Secretaries Board
  • Each Victorian Government department's Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • Victoria Police's CIO and Senior Communications Executive

The digital standards are Victoria's central reference for digital best practice and mandatory standards.

The digital standards include:

  • 12 digital design principles
  • how-to guides covering all Victorian Government digital activities
  • a range of mandatory standards comprising legal obligations, policy requirements, and industry standards
  • your Digital Management Committee (or its local equivalent) are responsible for digital standard governance

The digital standards apply to both external and internal digital assets

The digital standards cover external digital assets, for example websites, social media accounts, mobile apps. They also apply to 'internal' digital assets, for example, intranets and applications.

12 digital design principles

We’ve developed principles for creating best-practice, user friendly digital services. They should inform all the work you do.

The government’s digital presence should be:

  1. Easy to use: Make digital the first choice for our customers.
  2. Simple: Leads directly to the most used services and information.
  3. Available: 24/7 access.
  4. Useful: Designed to solve problems.
  5. Consistent: Works the same way for common functions, like data collection.
  6. Joined together: Integrated between agencies.
  7. Mobile: Designed for mobile and tablet first.
  8. Complete: Support customers to complete activities online, without manual steps.
  9. Clear: Use clear, active language.
  10. Fast: Quick to submit, and provide an efficient end-to-end service.
  11. Aware of history: Able to provide a record of past interactions where appropriate.
  12. Aware of user: Able to use known information from previous interactions with government.

(Source: Information Technology Strategy, Victorian Government 2016-2020)

Your Digital Management Committee (or equivalent) are responsible for governance

Your Digital Management Committee or its equivalent (for example, a Digital Reference Group), share the responsibility for the governance of the digital standards. The Terms of Reference document explains how governance works in detail.

How-to guides created by subject matter experts and experienced practitioners

Subject matter experts in the VPS and industry practitioners have written the How-to guides. They’ve been extensively reviewed, including by industry experts. We’ve tried to keep everything straightforward and practical.

That’s one reason you won’t see a separate set of documents for standards and guidelines. The How-to guides blend what you must do (the standards) with what you should do (best practice ) – all in one document.

How will these guides help?

Ask the right questions when you start work

A manager asks you to start some work, often in less time than you’d like. The pressure is on to ask the right questions, and get it right the first time – even if you haven’t done that kind of project or task before.

You may need several How-to guides for one task

For some tasks it’s easy to choose the best How-to guide (for example, How-to design forms). Or it might be not so easy.

For example, to build a website with financial transactions that meets accessibility, security, and record keeping requirements (and above all, intelligently and genuinely responds to its users’ needs), is no small task. The complete list of How-to guides will help you put your thoughts in order.

Each how-to guide says what standards you must meet

Some of your work as a digital practitioner in WoVG must comply with either an external legal obligation or an internal policy, or both. You won’t be able to say ‘it’s done’ until you meet these. So we’ve tried to make what’s mandatory obvious and clear. So each How-to guide has a section ‘What standards must be met’.

Helping you set the standard for best practice digital in WoVG

Sometimes you’ll be asked to do some work in a way that might not be best practice. Refer the person making the request to the How-to guide or the 12 digital design principles.

They will help clarify how we work, and what we can and can’t do in an ICT environment where high standards and putting our users first are now the expected norm. Check what standards apply for every How-to guide:

The quick-reference table (below) lists all the how to guides, and which we recommend you use at each stage of a digital asset's lifecycle.

Quick reference: When to use each How-to guide

How-to guide title When you research, design, or build a new digital presence When you refresh or manage an already live digital presence When you decommission a digital presence
How to make websites and content accessible yes yes
How to build an Application Programming Interface (API) yes
How to design and develop a digital presence yes
How to apply for and manage a domain name yes yes yes
How to do online financial transactions yes yes
How to design forms yes yes
How to decide if you need a mobile app yes
How to publish a government open-data set yes
How to test an online product or service yes yes
How to manage online records yes yes yes
How to measure performance yes yes
How to manage privacy yes yes
How to manage security yes yes
How to do research user experience (UX) research yes yes
How to apply Brand Victoria yes yes
How to build a content strategy and manage content yes yes yes
How to consult online yes yes
How to manage content for a caretaker government or change of government yes yes yes
How to manage ministerial content yes yes yes
How to use social media yes yes yes

Reviewed 27 August 2019

Join the conversation on digital

Get advice and share your insights about this topic with other digital practitioners on the WoVG Digital Group on Yammer (VPS access only).

Can’t access Yammer? Contact us by email: (We may post your comment on Yammer for general discussion. Please tell us if that’s not OK.)

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