Design System Checklist

I just started to create another design system for a client and there are some conceptual questions I need to first think about before I can design the system. I’ve got them in my head and roughly know what to look out for. But up until now, I never wrote those questions down.

Tim Schoch
Nov 16, 2018 · 6 min read

Design Systems Series

This Checklist is Part two of something bigger:
Part I 5 Pillars of a Design System
Part II Design System Checklist
Part III Design System Resources and Links


Today I needed to free up the hard drive in my brain, so here it is: my evolving design system checklist.

Feel free to use and abuse it. ❤️
(Tired of reading? The video of my Talk is at the end)

And if you do so, please leave a feedback on what worked and what’s missing so we can add more important questions to this list as a community.

Pillar 1 — Sell our Design System

Goals

  • What do our stakeholders expect?

Scope

What will we deliver:

  • Principles (Brand values, Purpose, …, Limit them!)

Stakeholders and Process

  • Which roles do we need on our team to be successful?

Pillar 2 — Research our Design System

Initial Setup

  • Is it a redesign or completely new? (Migrating old applications
    can surface unexpected usages of token CSS-classes)

Users

  • Do we have enough insights to understand them? (Journeys, JTBD)

Technology

  • What output channels suit our audience? (Web, Mobile, API, Services, …)

Pillar 3 — Design our Design System

Layout and Content

  • What screen sizes and input methods de we design for?

Pillar 4 — Build our Design System

Manipulating Data

  • Where does the user edit stuff? (Dialogs, Inline, Popup-Forms, …)

Error Prevention and Error Tolerance

  • When do we validate user input and how do we show validation messages? (complex validation over several fields)

Notifications

  • What levels of notifications are needed?
    (Info, Success, Warning, Error, Critical)

Testing and Documentation

  • When and how do we run usability tests?

Pillar 5 — Maintain our Design System

Integration

  • Does our build pipeline allow for automation?

Scaling

  • Do all products need the whole design system or can we group it into plugins?

DesignOps Global Conference Talk

I had the chance to talk about this check list at the DesignOps Global Conference 2019 in Manchester. It covers this check list and some more.
And the Fonts didn’t work.

Next Article in the Design System Series

Part I5 Pillars of a Design System


🚧 Work in Progress

If you’ve found this list to be useful, I need your help to make it even better. Please share it with your fellow designers and leave a comment below with additional questions you ask yourself or pitfalls you found out about the hard way while designing a system.

-No, this isn’t my checklist. This is simply stock photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash to make the teaser of this article look nice :)

Ramblings of a Designer

I write about Interaction and UX Design.

Tim Schoch

Written by

I’m a full-stack freelance Interaction Designer from Switzerland. Passionate about good UX. Empathic towards users. Love simple solutions. Not fueled by coffee.

Ramblings of a Designer

I write about Interaction and UX Design. And about Life, Love, Family and other funny things.

Tim Schoch

Written by

I’m a full-stack freelance Interaction Designer from Switzerland. Passionate about good UX. Empathic towards users. Love simple solutions. Not fueled by coffee.

Ramblings of a Designer

I write about Interaction and UX Design. And about Life, Love, Family and other funny things.

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