Every great user experience begins with a blueprint. You can think of a UX design system as a living and breathing blueprint that helps you build an effective user experience, scale and deliver your designs faster, and make it easier for other designers to develop consistent experiences. When applied successfully, a design system decreases your team’s overhead, allowing them to spend more time developing features that delight your users. Here are a few pointers to get you started creating a design system:
Start With The Style Guide
In order to stay consistent, UX designers need easy-to-understand style guidelines. The style guide describes how to consistently use every piece of your brand, from colors and fonts to photographs and logos, across all aspects of the design process. Style guides typically include some—or all—of the following components:
- Brand Story and Messaging
- Color Palette
- Tone of Voice
- Design Patterns
- Branding Guidelines
- Editorial Style Guide
- UI Elements
- Form Elements
Having everything in one place will keep each product consistent throughout your ecosystem and allow team members to spend less time making small decisions. Anyone on your team can reference your style guide—from developers to designers—in order to ensure that your logo, color palette, and other branding aspects are uniform across products.
Define Your Audience
Who the system is intended for and how it will be used are essential factors to consider when creating the style guide. For example, if your style guide is intended for a smartphone app, be aware that both designers and developers might read. You’ll also need to train employees on how to use the new design system, so make it possible for users to provide feedback. Remember that this is a living document that will need to be updated and maintained. You may want to appoint someone on your design team to maintain the style guide, updating it as needed when brand colors, logos, or other visuals change, or when the product evolves and requires new design standards.
Choose Your Team
Will everyone in the company be able to add components to the design system, or will it be limited to designers and developers? Will the style guide be accessible to everyone, regardless of what projects they’re working on? Maintaining a style guide can quickly become complicated if you invite too many individuals to participate in the process, but you also want to ensure that essential stakeholders are included in the discussion.
Assemble a “dream team” of designers for your initial build, which can reduce the likelihood of loose ends or missteps. Make sure to involve team members with varied perspectives. To ensure that the design system is representative, you may need to consult with other departments inside the organization. Verify that everyone on the team understands their responsibilities and roles in creating the design system, and establish clear expectations for roles and deliverables.
As businesses get more complex and technology allows us to achieve things we never could before, UX design is becoming increasingly significant, which means UX design systems are becoming a necessity. A well-structured design system can help you save money, increase productivity, and standardize your user experience across all platforms and products.