A light-weight method for auditing UI across a portfolio of products

Having recently grappled with conducting a UI audit/inventory across a large suite of products, I’ve struck upon an interesting, light-weight approach for generating an overview of patterns, elements and metaphors across a large portfolio.

Inspired by Nathan Curtis’s team activity on Parts, it’s a relatively simple process incorporating a Microsoft Forms survey (could be anything similar), a bit of jiggery-pokery in Excel (power-user terminology) and outputting the data in a meaningful way.

I caught a guy next to me on the morning commute rapidly texting a colleague on Slack..

“this guy next to me is working on a cool design…


Musicality of Design Systems

Establishing the right conditions and culture for continual innovation.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the enviable, yet daunting opportunity to present a vision and proposal for the next generation of design systems within Elsevier.

In doing so, I’ve outlined a new, brighter future that aims to solve a host of bespoke operational, design and development related pain-points we face with scaling design.

The vision, if fulfilled, promises to help breach entrenched team silos, offering a more performant, efficient working experience whilst creating richer, more enjoyable product experiences through a programmatic approach to design delivery. …


One of the most direct and expressive tools for UI design is HTML/CSS and Javascript (of course).

Being able to construct design logic with a mathematical operators and coded formula allows us to embed simple pre-compositional formulas directly into the digital canvas. Following a similar logic to musical scales and with the help of CSS variables, we’re able to take musical approaches to our designs.

One of the real benefits of pre-composing scale in CSS variables, is the possibility to quickly nudge elements around using relative degrees of the scale, rather than thinking in absolute values.

Working in this way…


The Musicality of Design Systems (Pt 2)

Music is deemed by many as the ultimate expression of humanity.

It holds the power to make us smile, weep, console and unite us.

It has propelled a myriad of cultural movements, adapted effortlessly to regionalisation, inspired waves of technical innovation and weaved its influence into pretty much every facet of life, within every walk of life.

With such command over the world’s population, it’s long been appropriated as a vehicle to drive collective sentiment within religion, politics and commerce.

Those who have mastered the language possess a power to deliver meaning and emulate emotion in ways unachievable in any…


So much has been written on the subject of design systems of late that I felt compelled to add to the crescendo, hoping to strike an emphatic power-chord with all those design system groupies looking for yet another jam to add to the mix.

As a musician, an ex-music product producer and now design system designer (I know!) I have been riffing on some concepts based on the similarities between music’s inherent formulas and the needs of a successful, adaptable product design system that I’d like to share.

From the development of the music language to the delivery models that…

Dan Sankey

Dan is a digital/analog, full-stack, hybrid, design synthesiser — www.dansankey.com

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