What kind of change are you looking for through your design system? Here’s one way to frame it. It should serve you if you want to make your pitch to someone in a management position, someone with a stake in the productivity of digital product teams in particular.

Setting the scene

When you can no longer fit your digital product team(s) into one room or weekly sharing session, collaboration dynamics change:

As an organisation, we need to find that proper balance between autonomy and co-dependency for digital product teams. …

How would you navigate the following situation?

I was recently asked for advice for a situation like this. That short exchange touched on so many enticing and tough topics that I knew there’d be more to explore if I’d work a bit more on it by writing.

When it’s really just you driving the work

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Thank you for being an initiator. We need people like you.

I’ll start with a couple “no extras” scenarios. In these, the design system really is driven by one person — someone who may have other responsibilities on their plate as well. Sooner or later, that workload is going to be too much. Either the work or the person suffers. …

How do you promote an agenda when you don’t feel like you have an official, acknowledged position to do so?

Recently, I’ve become interested in the experience of authority, what it tends to rely on… and whether my current perception of authority, whatever it might be, is something that should evolve. I believe this investigation will add to my collaboration skills — and help me support others in their journeys.

Here are some practical applications to consider:

Creating a design system is not an once-off exercise. But what kind of changes should you prepare for?

What's a design system?Design systems provide guiding principles and re-usable building blocks for related products and product teams. They provide solutions to recurring design and development needs. They establish a shared, cross-disciplinary language. As such, they address both visible user interface elements as well as internal processes. A design system can be created for a single unit, company, or for a wider variety of creators working with the same platform or brand. Systems like these have become a major trend in the recent years with digital design maturing.

1. Creating a design system is a product creation process of it’s own

Setting up a design system is a process that takes time. Creating a shared learning resource is not enough: it will have no impact unless adopted by creators and implemented in actual, user-facing products. This in turn impacts the development roadmaps and technical set-up of your products. …

In the previous post, the focus was on getting started with using data to inform your design work. In this post I’m stepping up the game: If you’re into setting up a more established, on-going practice for design relevant data, then this discussion is for you.

You might be wondering “What do you mean with design relevant data?”. Let’s make do with a short explanation for now: Design relevant data is anything that helps you understand what you’re designing for. You might get the data from digital analytics, statistics, sales numbers, surveys, text analysis tools, or sensor logs from a device. You might look for contextual factors, like distance or time of the day, or behaviors, like activity levels, or customers’ experiences, via ratings. …

If you’re into infusing some data into your design work, this discussion is for you.

Perhaps you’re preparing for a launch, or a re-design of a service. Or perhaps you are in consulting or a freelancer, regularly starting on a project with a new customer. What would you need to understand both business and customers? How would you check whether you’ve succeeded? What would you and your team need to know in order to improve the design along the way?

My aim here is to cover six dilemmas that you might encounter. …


Elisa P

If you keep your eyes open, you’ll always find something intriguing or amusing to wonder at.

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