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Common Theme Features

Responsive layouts, browser compatibility, markup and accessibility. All of our website themes have the following standard features.

Responsive Layout

All of our themes have a responsive design, catering for desktop, tablet and mobile screen sizes. Content and layout will adapt to fit the device the site is being viewed on, including the resizing of images, rearranging of content and adaptive menus.


All of our themes conform to HTML 5 standards.


All of our themes use JavaScript to deliver a richer experience. However they will all still work with JavaScript disabled.

Browser Compatibility

When designing themes we follow the browser support guidelines of GDS, which represents 95% users. These can be summarised as:

Operating SystemBrowsers
WindowsThe latest versions of Edge, Chrome and Firefox
macOSThe latest versions of Safari, Chrome and Firefox
iOSThe latest versions of Mobile Safari and Chrome
AndroidThe latest versions of Android Browser and Chrome


Themes are designed to deliver HTML content in accordance with the Web Accessibility Initiative's (WAI) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Version 2.1, to level 'AA' standards. There's more information in the Accessibility Features article.


Links within the main page content are displayed in a contrasting colour. Links to content within the navigation and asset panels are styled as per those panels. On mouseover, link text will be underlined. If a link matches the currently displayed page, it no longer acts as a link.

A link's "title" element, if present, will display as the tooltip on mouseover.

By default, links to pages within the site will open in the same browser tab, links to external sites will open in a new browser tab.


Inline support is provided by the site frameworks rather than the themes themselves. See Inlines - Standard Behaviour form more information.


All of the themes have a content managed favicon and Apple Touch icon. These are set in the subsite configuration.

Cookie Banners

All of our themes support the Cookie Policy banners described in the Cookie Policy Template and Banner section.

Links to Articles - Headings and Summaries

When an article appears as part of another article you'll often see some text accompanying it. This is true for articles in lists, articles in search results, and articles displayed on some home pages or in panels of content on other pages.

As a general rule an article will output its heading text and summary text. The heading can be overridden by the article alternate link text. If the article doesn't have summary text it will fall back to the introductory text.

Site Framework Features

All of the site themes support standard framework features including:

  • Page last modified dates
  • Page feedback
  • Content managed 404 pages
  • Custom JavaScript and CSS
  • Changing the format of the document title
  • Custom metadata
  • Robots.txt files
  • PWAs

See Subsite Configuration - Framework Features for all of the settings.

Last modified on March 30, 2023

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