Service level settings

When implementing density modes in your service, you must provide users with a mechanism to choose between comfortable and compact mode. With this pattern, you can set up service-level settings for density modes. Make sure when you use this pattern, you store the user's preference across all pages within your service.

Building blocks


Density settings link

Use a side navigation link to trigger a modal. Place the link as last item in your side navigation and separate it from the other links with a divider. If your service has already a settings area include the content density selection there.


Use a modal to display the appearance settings. 

Form field label

Include a form field label and description to provide context to users.


Use tiles so that users can select a mode. Include label, description, and image in both options.

Form actions

Include form actions so that users can confirm or cancel their choice. 

Dismiss button

Include a dismiss button to close the modal. Upon dismiss no changes are applied.


Full implementation

When compact mode is fully available in your service implement the density settings and provide context to your users via form field description.

Partial implementation

When compact mode is partially available in your service, for example due to version migration strategies or rollout in only some sub-services, include additional information in the form field description to set expectations for users.

Feature announcement

We recommend communicating the release of the compact mode to your users, for example by using a flash message. Include information about compact mode release, and an action button to choose the preferred density level via density settings modal.
You can optionally include a link to allow users to provide feedback, via the feedback mechanism found in the global footer.

General guidelines


  • Always provide comfortable mode as default. Compact mode reduced spacing can hinder readability of content for users with vision impairment, and interactivity with close targets for users with physical disability.
  • Store users preferences when they select the preferred density mode, and display the corresponding selection in the density settings.
  • Apply the mode selection at submission via the confirm button.
  • In case you already have a settings area in your service, implement the density settings within that space.


  • Don't use the density settings pattern for generic service-level settings.

Writing guidelines


  • For the header, use this text: Density settings

  • For the primary action button, use this text: Confirm

Form field label

For the tiles group label, use this text: Content density

Form field description

  • For the tiles group description, use this text: Choose the preferred level of content density for this console

  • In case of partial implementation, include additional details. For example: The compact experience is available for some features in this service

Tiles label

The tile label describes the density level applicable. Use these labels: comfortable and compact

Tiles description

  • The tile description provides additional information about the option.

  • For comfortable mode, use this text: Default spacing that optimizes information consumption.

  • For compact mode, use this text: Reduced spacing that provides more visibility over content.

Accessibility guidelines

General accessibility guidelines

  • Follow the guidelines on alternative text and Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) regions for each component.

  • Make sure to define ARIA labels aligned with the language context of your application.

  • Don't add unnecessary markup for roles and landmarks. Follow the guidelines for each component.

  • Provide keyboard functionality to all available content in a logical and predictable order. The flow of information should make sense.

  • Make sure you define ARIA labels for the selection inputs that are aligned with the language context of your application.


Follow the accessibility guidelines for modal.


Follow the accessibility guidelines for tiles.

Related patterns and components

Content density is defined by the ratio of information visible compared to the space available in the interface.
A form element that's an extension of a radio group with additional metadata to facilitate comparisons or progressive disclosure. As with a radio group, tiles allow the user to choose one of a predefined set of options.
A user interface element subordinate to an application's main window. It prevents interaction with the main page content, but keeps it visible with the modal as a child window in front of it.
Displays one or more page-level flash notifications to communicate the status of a user’s action, such as success, failed, and so on.