Making Impact With Design Systems
In their presentation at Patterns Day 2019, Alla discussed getting buy-in for your Design System from teams and leadership.
Why should our teams and leadership believe in Design Systems?
- Brand and UX improvements
Can consistency enabled by a design system, help improve conversions?
- 2018, Alla managed to test if the consistency of Bulb’s site improved revenue.
- They had to make sure conversion wasn’t hampered by changes.
- They didn’t want to skew the results of the joining path by redesigning the sign up path.
- They used the design system to update colours, and typography.
- The results was 0.17% in favour of the using the design system.
- “negligible really”.
Are there other ways to improve revenue?
- Design Systems can support experimentation and growth.
- Mailchimp had a dramatic style change in 2018, base upon the original style guide.
- “We parter with Growth to facility experimentation and testing of new patterns” - Alex Lehner, Mailchimp.
- At Pinterest, a new element must out perform and existing element to be included.
- Pattern experiments are unique to your system.
- At Gov.uk they experimented with the progress indicator, without the indicator they time it took to complete a task didn’t change, so they removed the indicator.
- At Habito, they found the form worked better, with a quicker progression with a progress indicator.
- A pattern can work differently for different teams and products.
UX and Brand
- Often we talk about how Design Systems make things cohesive.
- The term cohesive is something Alla hears a lot.
- “User experience often suffers not because of poor consistency but confusing information architecture and content design.”
- “Design Systems can help implement and reinforce a visual brand.”
- GDS is a good example of this. Before the .gov.uk design system, there were 600-700 different UK government websites.
- “People didn’t really know if they were on an official government website” - Tim Paul.
- Whatever the reason, there needs to be organisational buy-in.
- There needs to clarity on what the brand is.
To work out what your brand is, you need clarity. To do this, you can:
- purpose and values of the brand Design principles
- Main screen design using new brand. Brand in context
- Which then leads to new design patterns and documentation.
- The top ‘key point’ of selling a Design System.
- Marvel have a well established Design System
- “We haven’t used our design system in the last year. We just needed to ship things really fast.” - Yavor Punchev, Marvel App
- If a point of design systems is efficiency, why did this happen?
- Work out what you need to invest time in to make things efficient.
- Investing in form patterns, it allowed Bulb to save 50% of front-end time working on pages that needed forms.
- FutureLearn, on the other hand, only has one or two forms, so investing the same time on form patterns would not be an efficient use of time.
- A Design System needs to adopt through it’s product life cycle.
- Not only looking at the growth and maturity uses.
- Technology plays a very big part in keeping your Design System efficient
- “Without React working on the design system alway felt like an uphill struggle.” - Jay Begum, FutureLearn.
Being strategic in what parts you invest in and when can make a really impact on your Design System.
“There needs to be a bigger goal, beyond the design system, for the system to have an impact.” - Alla