Tokens, assets, components, and patterns.

By Carlos Yllobre Aleman, Senior Product Designer, Workday

This is the third in a series of articles about design systems thinking. Read Part 1 and Part 2 here.

Essentially what makes up a design — or any — system is the sum of its parts and the connection between these parts, working towards a defined purpose. This concept is clear but not complete. When it comes to understanding the system as an entity, we need to dig deeper and get to know those pieces and their interactions.

In previous articles, I have talked about applying systems thinking and following a…


Learn how Workday’s Canvas Kit team manages complex visual states.

Written by Manuel Carerra, Design Technologist at Workday

Imagine having a New Year’s resolution of eating healthy, but two days in, you’re eating a box of cinnamon rolls and you haven’t changed your shirt. Complex visual states for User Interface (UI) components are just as hard to maintain as your New Year’s resolution. Don’t worry though, with some CSS overrides and visually representing all variations, we’re able to achieve our resolution!

A row of icon buttons depicting a few visuals states a button can have
A row of icon buttons depicting a few visuals states a button can have
Illustrations by Jonathan Keyek-Franssen

Take a simple UI component like a button, for example. The designers spec out the colors for when the button is hovered and when it’s in a disabled state…


Expert advice on how to collaborate, advocate, and defend inclusive design in cross-disciplinary teams

By Emma Siegel, Inclusive Design and Research

Illustrations by Emma Siegel

Each member of a team has a different level of awareness, knowledge, or understanding of the value of inclusive design. Stakeholders and collaborators might have other factors they prioritize over inclusion. Advocating for inclusion isn’t always easy and can often lead to some challenging conversations.

What happens if UX teams don’t take action or speak up to advocate for inclusion?

  • We may exclude and disable people.
  • We may harm, erase, or dehumanize entire communities.
  • We may perpetuate the idea that inclusion isn’t our responsibility.

How to Frame the Conversation

Members of Workday’s Digital Accessibility and Inclusive Design teams…


By Justin Panté, Design System Product Manager at Workday, and Lynn Chyi, software development engineer

Illustration of a park with people
Illustration of a park with people
Illustrations by Nor Sanavongsay

This article was previously published on designsystems.com.

This article is the third of a three-part series that takes a deep dive through Workday’s experience of developing, productizing, and eventually releasing their design system out into the open. Check out Part I, Design Systems are Everybody’s Business, and Part II, Productizing Your Design System.

The heart of any design system is the community built around it. This is the underlying engine that powers the Workday Canvas Design System with our community defined by transparency and inclusion…


A simple guide for design system teams.

By Carlos Yllobre Aleman, Senior Product Designer, Workday

This is the second in a series of articles about design systems thinking. Read Part 1 here.

The first time I heard about systems thinking was back in 2017 when my team and I started building a more complex library of components to serve developers when they updated our product. That first attempt would evolve into what we know today as a design system, but the real change didn’t come with the outcome. …


Part 2 on how a priority guide can add value at any point in the design process

By Simone Ehrlich, Content Strategy Manager

Illustration by Vichai Iamsirithanakorn

Redesigns are easy, right? Just glance at the page, and it’s instantly clear what should stay and what should go. Far from it. The beauty and risk in design is that inherent in any page are a thousand small decisions. All these add up to an efficient, delightful experience, or degrade it until it’s a broken, incoherent mess.

A priority guide has the potential to inform your decision-making. At Workday, this is one of our Content Early methods, which we use at any time during the design process. We use priority guides to design…


Part 1 on how infusing intent into a priority guide is a catalyst for effective design

By Simone Ehrlich, Content Strategy Manager

Illustrations by Vichai Iamsirithanakorn

Nothing sharpens our sense of priorities like a crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly thrown my personal priorities into sharp relief. The goal is to get through this. My priorities, in order, are my family, my team at Workday, and my community.

It shouldn’t take a crisis, however, for you to know your goal and priorities. In design, knowing both is key to success. A priority guide is a design tool that helps to establish the goal for a page and what should go on the page to serve that goal. …


A case for a design-led asynchronous communication evolution.

Written and illustrated by Jonathan Keyek-Franssen, Product Designer at Workday

A cartoon of the emotional drain caused by zoom fatigue
A cartoon of the emotional drain caused by zoom fatigue

Most information has no perfect channel to be passed through–social media posts are good for advertising, but so are TV spots. Podcasts are good for storytelling, but so are novels. And, as it turns out, repetitive, expensive, and synchronous meetings are good for getting slack messages like this:


Canvas, Workday’s design system, enhances user experiences through promoting accessible design and code accessibility.

By Michael Blume, William Stanton, and Justin Panté

Illustration by Chris King

Accessibility often represents the difference between a usable website and an indecipherable mess for people with disabilities. This is all the more important because of the recent need and desire to work from home; Gallup reports that in 2012, 29% of American employees worked remotely at least some of the time, but by 2016 that number grew to 43%. Despite this growing trend in remote work, the number of accessibility issues in web applications continues to slowly increase. …


By Carlos Yllobre Aleman, Senior Product Designer, Workday

This is the first in a series of articles about design systems thinking. Read Part 2 here.

Images by Carlos Yllobre Aleman

Building a system is not an easy task, but it is an enjoyable one. Discovering connections, creating new ones, improving the parts, and seeing the whole evolve in shape and purpose are some of the things that make it such an interesting project to work on.

In her incredible book, “Thinking in Systems,” Donella Meadows mentions that there are 3 fundamental ideas that apply to a system: its pieces, the connections between these pieces and…

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