Info alert

This article was an April Fool’s hoax and does not contain real design recommendations.

Tired of the simple, minimalist (aka ‘boring”) design of Canada.ca? Fear not! We’ve heard you #GCDigital. Canada.ca is getting a brand-new design!

We’ve heard the feedback that the current design is so 2010s! It’s time for bold colours and graphics to grab people’s attention. Although we updated the design in 2019 using industry best practices and tested it with people who use GC information and services, there’s Just. No. Pop!

The new design is so captivating that people will enjoy just kicking back and spending time browsing all the amazing information we have to share.

What we’re changing

We’ve modified the header and footer to eliminate consistency across the brand. There’s no longer a common look and feel. It was just too hard to implement across the system. Instead, we’re encouraging departments to embrace their individuality and let their design creativity shine!

Each department will get its own colour. We have over 200 accessible colours to choose from so sign up early…it’s first come, first served.

People may have a harder time distinguishing between a real Government of Canada service and those pesky pay-for-service-scammers, but we think that the freedom to do whatever we want is easier and more important.

Redesigning for information, not answers

Don’t you love scrolling through pages and pages of information to find a pretty obvious answer? We have a new “Choose your own adventure” pattern. Think of it as the opposite of a wizard – instead of making the answer super easy to find in clear language, people will get to spend hours surfing through all the great information and services the GC has to offer.

Eye-cat-ching graphics

The beige lazy big cat with a tv remote control and a cone of ice cream in its paws is resting on a pink sofa at home. A bird is next to him. White background. Isolated.

We’re also revising the guidance on decorative images. Put those puppies everywhere! Literally. Cats too. People love animals, which means they won’t be as frustrated at not being able to do what they came to do. Plus, the more time people spend on our site – even if it’s because they’re waiting for the page to load – the better! That counts as more “time on page” when you do your analytics reports. Remember the bilingual Alt text so people who use assistive technologies don’t miss out on knowing that there’s a meme of “Misty the tabby cat falling off the TV”!

Adding a lot of graphics may mean that people in rural areas like Victoria, Barrie or Lévis, or those who have poor internet connections, won’t be able to load the pages quickly. Don’t worry. Once they do finally load, they’ll look great!

Abundant alerts

Hazard symbol collection

It’s important that people see the most important information on each page so add alerts! We encourage multiple alerts in different colours at the top of pages. Consider using the new “Alert rainbow-effect” pattern and add at least one alert in each colour. We think the ROYBGIV colour order looks great, but you do you!

Flashy status labels

Remember those “new” gifs from the 1990s? Well, just like mom jeans, they’re back. What is old is “new” again (sorry, we couldn’t resist)…and flashier than ever!

Since we’re always making updates and adding new things to Canada.ca, there’s no better way to highlight the new, important stuff than with a bright flashing “new” sign!

Site under construction? No problem. We’re big fans of iterative design. Slap a digger on there while waiting for bulk approvals.

Least requested

We’re adding a new band to bring attention to niche content that we think people should pay more attention to.

Oh wait, we already do that with “Useful links.” Sorry, our bad.

Next steps

Departments will have until April Fool’s Day, 2023 to implement the new design for Canada.ca.

If you would like to follow more updates, please visit:

Latest changes to the Canada.ca design system

Final word

Users may not be able to do what they came to do on Canada.ca, but they will have an amazingly stylish experience not doing it.

Learn more