Craft better & faster

User confusion? Slow design process? Slow development? Difficult onboarding? Those are common problems for many products, directly impacting on value and revenue. The good news is that we know how to solve it — Google proved that we crave familiarity, and this is the root of it all.

"That problem is the lack of design consistency. The menace of every great product." — Marcin Treder, CEO at UXPin

"And you thought buttons were easy?" is a good start to see how a simple thing like a button can scalate it’s complexity. If they alone can cost thousands of dollars when the team doesn’t have a clear guide, how much will be spent in more complex elements?

So, how to solve or minimize these problems? Design systems — they are created to craft better & faster.

A design system will help you to:

  1. Align language & mindset
  2. Improve the process
  3. Create a scalable product
  4. Ensure consistency
  5. Build trust
  6. Manage complexity
  7. Avoid misunderstandings
  8. Develop faster
  9. Lower costs
  10. Create coherent experiences

So, what is a design system?

A great design system includes not only visual identity guides and components, but also principles, personality, tone of voice, writing style and team values. Let’s take a look at some examples.

“ Great design principles help designers learn more about their design and make critical decisions about what they’re building.” — Jared M. Spool

Shopify Polaris:

Talking about mission, approach, accessibility and more
Defining not only visual components, but marketing approach and brand personality
Knowing that iteration is a vital part of the process
Documenting the lessons learned

Crafting a design system

Don’t expect to create a design system and never update it again! It is a language, and languages are alive.

  1. Start with making a Interface Inventory of your product to see the inconsistencies that are already there. You can check a great example of this journey reading Design Systems Sprint 1: The Interface Inventory.
  2. Get your team together, not only designers, to define design principles. They will be the foundation of the design system. Jared Spool can help this process.
  3. Decide patterns for the elements and test them. If they work well and make sense, lock them into the design system, but keeping in mind that they may change if needed. Make sure your code stays aligned with your design definitions. Keep the team educated about why something is entering the system.
UXPin analysed 39 public design systems and they suggest this structure

“True collaboration isn’t throwing designs over the wall. It’s designers, engineers, and the rest of the team sharing the responsibility to build a quality product” — Diana Mounter, Product Designer at Github

Do you have any more thoughts about design systems? Let me know :)