Design systems are becoming increasingly important for UX teams, as they provide an efficient and effective way to create consistent, user-friendly interfaces across multiple platforms. A design system is a collection of reusable components, guidelines, and best practices that help designers and developers build products that are consistent, visually appealing, and easy to use.
Purpose of a Design System
There are several reasons why a design system can be beneficial to UX teams.
- It provides consistency across all platforms, ensuring that users have a seamless experience no matter what device they are using. This can lead to increased user satisfaction, as it is easier for users to learn when switching platforms.
- A design system can save time and resources. Rather than starting from scratch with each new project, designers and developers can use pre-built components from the design system, which can speed up the development process and reduce the risk of errors. This can save time and resources, allowing teams to focus on more important tasks, such as user research and testing.
- Related to the above, a design system decreases on-boarding time for new team members, they can review the system as part of their training.
- A design system can improve collaboration and communication within a team. By providing a shared language and set of standards, designers and developers can easily communicate with each other, reducing the risk of misunderstandings and ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Designers often need the help of platform developers to understand the constraints of the system. This can lead to better collaboration, more efficient workflows, and ultimately better products.
- Design systems can foster communication with other teams early in the process. For instance, with the marketing team around brand colors and how the colors may or may not work for usability.
Steps to create a design system
Creating a design system can seem like a daunting task, but it can be broken down into a few key steps. Here are some of the steps to consider when creating a design system:
1. Define your brand and user needs
Before you start creating your design system, it's important to define your brand and user needs. This will help you create a system that is aligned with your brand values and meets the needs & goals of your users. You should consider things like color palettes, typography, and visual style, and most importantly user needs such as accessibility and usability.
2. Establish best practices
As part of your design system, you should establish best practices for things like accessibility, usability, and performance. This can include guidelines for things like keyboard navigation, screen reader compatibility, and load times. By establishing best practices, you can ensure that your products are accessible and easy to use for all users.
3. Create a style guide
A style guide is an essential component of a design system, as it outlines the visual standards for your brand. This should include details such as color palettes, typography, and iconography, as well as guidelines for spacing, layout, and other visual elements.
4. Build a pattern library
A pattern library is a collection of reusable components that can be used across multiple projects. This can include things like buttons, forms, menus, and other UI elements. By creating a pattern library, you can ensure consistency across all your projects, as well as save time and resources by reusing existing components.
6. Test and iterate
Once you have created your design system, it's important to test it and iterate based on feedback from users and stakeholders. This can help you identify any areas that need improvement, and ensure that your design system is meeting the needs of your users.
In conclusion, a design system can be a valuable asset for product engineering teams, providing consistency, efficiency, and improved collaboration. By following these steps, you can create a design system that meets the needs of your brand and users, and helps you deliver high-quality products that meet the needs of your users.