In the fast-paced world of digital product design, maintaining consistency and efficiency across multiple platforms and products can be a daunting task. Design systems have emerged as a solution to this challenge, providing a comprehensive framework that enables designers and developers to create cohesive and user-friendly experiences. In this article, we will explore the concept of design systems, their benefits, and how they can transform the way organizations approach design and development.
Today, any product interface is primarily a solution to the problem. The faster the user of the interface will figure out where to click, the higher likelihood he will continue to use the product — and will not leave you for the competitors. Design system changes the attitude of users to the brand. Firstly, a common approach to the UX and UI designing makes the product more accessible and understandable for customers. Secondly, the uniform visual style of all projects increases the company’s recognition in the market and the quality standard for competitors.
The preconditions giving rise to the design system were also the understanding by designers of what works better and what is worse — and, accordingly, the rejection of unsuccessful decisions. As a result, the average user of the interface gradually formed expectations from the product interface (user-friendly or not user-friendly). And based on the analysis of user experience, designers, in turn, improved existing solutions.
A systematic design approach generates the right user experience. A single pattern — an approach to designing interfaces — should be in everything: in navigation, icons, fonts, and the name of the tabs.
There are several of them that have gained popularity in the industry. Here are a few examples:
Material Design: Developed by Google, Material Design is a comprehensive design system that provides guidelines and resources for creating visually appealing and interactive interfaces across different platforms. It emphasizes a clean and minimalistic aesthetic, along with consistent use of colors, typography, and motion.
Apple Human Interface Guidelines: Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) provide design principles and guidelines for creating user interfaces on Apple platforms such as iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. The HIG focuses on creating intuitive, user-friendly experiences that are consistent with Apple’s design language and guidelines.
IBM Design Language: IBM Design Language is a design system developed by IBM, aimed at creating a consistent and cohesive user experience across their products and services. It provides guidelines for layout, typography, color, icons, and interactions, with a focus on accessibility and inclusivity.
Salesforce Lightning Design System: The Salesforce Lightning Design System provides a set of design guidelines and resources for creating user interfaces in the Salesforce ecosystem. It offers a range of components, patterns, and utilities to ensure a consistent and efficient design process.
These are just a few examples of well-established design systems, but there are many more available, each with its own unique approach and set of guidelines. Design systems provide a framework for designers and developers to create cohesive and user-friendly interfaces, saving time and effort by providing ready-to-use components and design patterns.
The design system is a visual programming language that is technically described by the code and turns the entire structure into a designer of blocks that harmonize and intercommunicate. Simply put, the design of control elements on the web application interface is drawn and raised as a rule. Moreover, all important rules are written in the code: where these elements are located and how they are animated.
The process usually involves a designer who develops the elements themselves and their application according to certain templates and a front-end developer who is engaged in technical implementation. For example, a «Contact Us» button should always be from the bottom right and when you hover over the mouse respond with the same animation.
A design system is essential for creating large websites, services, and mobile and web applications that consist of numerous repeating elements. Here are some key reasons why a design system is necessary:
An excellent example of the practical application of design systems is in the banking industry. Banks often have both a mobile application and a website that require similar interfaces. By adopting a design system, they can establish a unified approach to design and development, enabling separate teams to use common components and patterns. This not only streamlines the redesign process but also allows for centralized updates across all projects simultaneously.
A design system encompasses various elements that define the general direction of design, the brand’s philosophy, and the approach to specific projects or products. Some key components typically included in a design system are as follows:
Implementing a design system requires careful planning and collaboration. Here are some key steps to consider:
It can do this in several ways:
As you see, a well-implemented design system can drive cost efficiency in project budgets by streamlining development, ensuring consistent design and branding, improving collaboration, enhancing scalability, reducing dependency on highly skilled resources, and increasing efficiency in maintenance and updates. By leveraging the benefits of a design system, companies can optimize their project budgets and achieve higher return on investment.