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We’ve updated the alpha and beta phase banners

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Design

We recently updated the colours used by the alpha and beta phase banners on GOV.UK.

They used to look like this:

Screenshot of the previous alpha and beta banners. The alpha banner has a pink background and the beta banner has an orange background.

They now look like this:

Screenshot of the new alpha and beta banners. Both banners now have a blue background.

Why we made the change

The primary reason we made the change is for accessibility - the old colours both fell below our 4.5:1 contrast ratio requirements for text. Whilst the pink could have been made a bit darker, the orange would have become very brown and wouldn't fit with our colour scheme.

The secondary reason is that there was no real reason for the banners to have different colours.

They were originally chosen to loosely follow a traffic-light metaphor. We’ve found in research though that users don't know the colours refer to specific phases. And in practice they tend not to notice the banners. So a consistent colour works just as well.

Where to get the new banners

Developers will find them in version 2.2.1 or up of GOV.UK Elements.

We’ll be updating the guidance in the Service Manual shortly to reflect the change.

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  1. Comment by Ben Stevens posted on

    This has been a bug-bear of mine for some time. What's the user need for knowing a service is in Beta or Alpha? Does it mean anything to a user?

  2. Comment by Andrew Newman posted on

    I'm surprised you've kept the words Alpha and Beta. Have you done any user testing to see if users understand what they mean? Also they aren't a great call to action.

    Would using "New Service" or "Tell us what you think" be simpler and clearer to the user?

    I suspect many don't care how new it is!