IBM’s Mid-Fi Carbon Design Kit
The software development environment is one that is fast-paced and agile. The speed and flexibility the agile methodology provides us with not only improves the rate at which we can deliver the latest version of our product, but is also meant to provide our users with the greatest value. Pair this with one of UX design’s greatest allies, the design system, we can go from a conceptual idea to an interactive prototype in record time.
With all these tools and methodologies promoting speed and efficiency, the question begs to be asked, are we sacrificing the initial and most important stages of our design process to get things out the door as quickly as possible? Are we becoming complacent designers, creating only high-fidelity designs and forgetting the benefits of testing in a lower fidelity?
The Mid-Fi Carbon Design Kit was built to avoid these issues, providing designers with a way to visualize a concept and test them out before committing to the specific components, elements, and colors available in a high-fidelity design system. It also proves beneficial in user research sessions to focus on key aspects of a flow or layout to gain useful data that can be incorporated in those high fidelity designs.
Why Mid-Fi and not Low-fi?
When looking at the Mid-Fi kit, some may immediately ask why not make a low-fidelity kit? If the purpose of the kit itself is to encourage testing early conceptual work, why not provide a kit that allows designers to work in as low fidelity as possible? The reason for a Mid-Fi kit over a Low-fi kit is to avoid resulting in a similar issue we sought to solve, to begin with.
Design should always begin in its lowest fidelity, using paper and pen. This is the cheapest and least time-consuming method to begin your design work. It encourages rapid but thoughtful iterations where designers can quickly articulate an idea and immediately get feedback from both stakeholders and users, which they can then leverage the mid-fidelity kit to then prototype and continue testing.
Introducing the Mid-Fi Carbon Design Kit
The Mid-Fi kit was designed with speed and efficiency in mind, allowing designers to quickly convert their mid-fidelity components to high-fidelity with a click of a button, once the design has been validated with users.
In this version of the Carbon kit, we have removed all colors and icons to provide a non-distracting and simplistic style for your design. By eliminating these high-fidelity design elements, we can better develop our conceptual designs to focus on the key problems and pain points we aim to resolve.
Finally, we have reduced the number of potential components to choose from to try to deter designers from getting too complicated with their initial design work. If you’re interested in designing with lower fidelity, you can now find and download the current version of the Mid-Fi Carbon Design kit on the Carbon Design website.