Met design de zorg verbeteren
Laura Chavarria - februari 2020
If you are working in or with UX design, with developers and designers within one or in multiple teams, you have probably encountered the following problem:
Designers and developers spending a remarkable amount of time looking for the standards of a simple element of a digital product, for example, such as a button. Common questions are:
Designers and developers ask each other these questions while creating their digital products, wasting time finding the style of an element or a component. They are certainly looking for standards. This can easily pile up as they look for more complex components and patterns. This can cause frustrations within the team, inconsistencies and delays in design and development. The result: a digital product that causes frustrations to the user, not to mention the cost of this time-wasting to the company or organization producing this product.
Or to put it another way: what is NOT a Design System. It is certainly not software; it is not an application that can be installed, and it is not a project with a beginning and an end. So, what is it?
Let’s describe it as the way designers and developers work together with a shared vision, clear principles and strong values. Working with a Design System brings noticeable benefits for businesses and organizations and as a result for all their users, whether they are customers, citizens or employees.
It is an ongoing or a live project that allows businesses and organizations to innovate in the way they design and build their digital products.
A Design System includes a collection of standardized reusable components and patterns guided by a clear visual language. Let’s call this visual language a style guide. Together, these components and patterns can be assembled to build any number of websites and applications.
Each element, component and pattern is designed and built once, the code matches the design, and together they represent the personality of the product brand. An optimized and consistent application or website results in clear benefits for the users such as fast learning, increased productivity and fewer errors while using it.
Some other relevant topics in a Design System are:
While development is way ahead on inventing ways to reuse components, design is struggling to scale in the applications it supports, why? Because tailored applications are commonly designed for each specific solution. Designers are keen on solving problems and tend to come up with specific solutions. Which is a good quality, don’t get me wrong, I’m a designer myself.
The problem arises when these specific solutions become wider, larger or for multiple products or multiple teams. That’s when they begin to have scalability problems such as inconsistency, making the design and development process slow and difficult to maintain over time.
If there is more than one designer in your company, you can start building a Design System now. Even when there is just one designer, he/she can still start mapping the road to build a Design System. This means you can use a Design System mindset or philosophy, a specific approach while structuring your design and organizing.
One way to change how design is structured that allows the reuse of components is to make it scalable by applying the atomic design philosophy on which Design Systems are based.
Atomic Design uses a handy analogy of chemistry:
Illustration atomic design (http://atomicdesign.bradfrost.com/chapter-2/)
Atomic Design is helpful in determining how to specify the components, but it is just one way to describe the elements of a Design System. There is no need to use the same terminology and exact naming for elements and components, but it is crucial to use the same principle and to understand how it works. You can also use reusable building blocks or another analogy such as Lego blocks.
Significant benefits and values of using Design Systems while creating digital products are:
We’ll take a closer look at the key elements, topics and other benefits of Design Systems in our next articles.
For more information on Design Systems, please contact us!