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One of the major challenges of systems design is communicating the rationale of decisions — why you landed on certain choices, and why they make sense in the bigger picture. I’ve found language is an effective metaphor to explain my rationale: Creating a system is, in essence, creating a language.

Let’s look at the definition of the word “language”: The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way.

We can tweak that a bit to apply to design systems: The method of human communication within a user interface, consisting of interface elements in a structured and conventional way.


I’ve decided to publish my words elsewhere. I’ve deleted my past posts on Medium, but if you wish to refer back to them, below are the updated links:

Making a Design System is a People Job

Write like you design

Everything is a Prototype

Design for Speed

In Defense of Hard

About

PJ Onori

The ways we design can make us better people and, in turn, better designers. http://pjonori.com