If you have never heard of Design Systems, you have nothing to worry about and we guarantee you that you are not ignorant. For people who do not design or are not Product Owners, this may be a new concept, but it is worth getting acquainted with it when you want to create a website or application.
What is a Design System?
Simply put, it is a set of principles, patterns, and design resources that simplify the design, construction, and development of digital products or organizations.
In practice, it is a library of various components that allows designers and developers to work more efficiently and create a coherent family of products within one organization. The Design System allows effective management of design consistency, improves the work of design teams, and also ensures visual coherence of the brand, and strengthens its recognition and trust in the eyes of users.
The design System is created with scalability in mind, which means it can be used on various projects and adapted to changing business and technological needs.
Who needs a Design System?
Design System is intended for professionals involved in designing and creating digital products, i.e. designers, developers, project managers, UX/UI teams, etc. The design system is essential for any organization or brand (small business and corporation) it is useful for companies large-scale businesses – with lots of design teams and products and can tailor to various industries such as e-commerce, fintech, health, education, social media, and many more.
What does the design system look like?
DS, like BrandBook, is a set of guidelines and reusable elements and components, but it is used to design and develop a digital product.
System design acc. The Atomic Design methodology by Brad Frost consists of a set of components organized in a hierarchical structure, similar to the atoms. It is described by five levels corresponding to different levels of abstraction and complexity.
- Atoms: These are the simplest elements, such as shapes, colors, typography, or icons, which are the foundation of the design system. Atoms build more advanced components.
- Molecules: These are combinations of atoms that create simpler components such as buttons, text boxes, and forms. Molecules are more advanced and can be used as stand-alone components or as part of larger structures.
- Organisms: These are more complex components that consist of different molecules and atoms to create more advanced user interfaces such as navigation bars, tabs, and sections. Organisms are ready-made components that can be used in projects.
- Templates: These are comprehensive page layouts that use organisms to create complete user interfaces. Templates define the structures and relationships between the various components that determine how they should be arranged on the page.
- Pages: These are specific template instances that make up actual web pages or apps. Pages are the result of a project where components, templates, and organisms are used in a specific context.
Design systems save time and money!
Well-known products are predictable and perceived as safe, so if one of our products were popular and users like it, thanks to the usage of the same system design, the new product will automatically evoke positive emotions.
Here are a few reasons why you should use the Design System in your company:
- Consistency and Consistency: The Design System ensures consistency and consistency in the appearance, behavior, and interaction of user interfaces across platforms and devices. This makes it easier for users to navigate and use digital products, which translates into a better user experience.
- Save time and resources: The Design System allows you to reuse ready-made components, graphic styles, and other elements, which speeds up the process of designing and creating new user interfaces. In addition, uniform documentation and rules used in the Design System save time and resources when training new members of the design team.
- Increased Efficiency: With the Design System, design and development teams can work more efficiently, avoiding the need to reinvent the wheel, and create elements from scratch on every project. This allows for faster implementation of projects and increases work efficiency.
- Improvement of the brand and image: Consistent appearance and functionality of user interfaces within the Design System allow for consistent brand presentation across platforms and devices. This increases the professionalism of digital products and builds user trust and a positive brand image.
- Scalability and Adaptability: The design System allows you to scale and adapt user interfaces to different platforms, devices, screen resolutions, and other requirements. Due to this, the company can quickly respond to changing technological and market trends without creating interfaces from scratch.
Examples of the most popular Design Systems implemented by other companies.
Implementing a Design System has become a popular approach in digital design, and many well-known companies and brands have already adopted it. Examples of companies that have implemented the Design System:
- Lighting (made by Salesforce): CLICK
- Material (created by Google): CLICK
- Fluent (created by Microsoft): CLICK
- Human Interface Guidelines (created by Apple): CLICK
When should a design system be implemented?
The implementation of the system design can be considered in various design phases, depending on the specific needs and goals of the organization. The implementation may be appropriate when:
- The company plans to create a new product or service – The design system will allow you to plan consistent and effective design solutions from the very beginning, which can speed up the design process and ensure a consistent appearance and functionality of the new product.
- The company already has a product or service that is scalable – implementing a design system can help manage a growing design team, ensure consistency of user interfaces and streamline the design process.
- A company has many products or services with different user interfaces – implementing system design can help consolidate these interfaces and ensure a consistent user experience across products and services.
- The company has problems with inconsistencies in designs – such as differences in styles, colors, or interactions. Implementing a design system can help improve project consistency and efficiency by establishing uniform design standards.
- The company needs to increase the efficiency of the design team – thanks to access to a common library of components and templates, designers and developers can create new projects faster and avoid the repetition of work.
What does the Design System implementation look like?
At first glance, it may seem that implementing the Design System is a complicated process – after all each atom must be created and assembled into molecules and organisms. This process requires time and work, but in the later stages of design gives measurable benefits. Learn about the implementation process in a few steps.
The first step is a thorough analysis and diagnosis of the current design and communication processes in the team. It is necessary to identify areas where consistency and standards are missing and to define the goals and expectations of the system design implementation.
The next step is to prepare a system design implementation plan that includes goals, resources, schedule, and scope of implementation. A plan should be realistic and contains both the initial stages and the further development of the system design in the future.
In the next step, the actual design system is created, which may include creating a style guide, component library, pattern library, and other elements that were specified in the implementation plan. It is worth consulting with various team members, such as designers, developers, etc. to ensure a comprehensive approach to system design.
When work on the design system is completed, it is worth conducting tests to make sure, that it is effective and meets its goals. As needed, you can iterate and improve the design system based on users’ feedback from the design team. Once you’ve finished testing and tweaking, you can implement it in real projects. It is important to understand the whole team, so training and documentation will be necessary for proper implementation.
The implementation of the system design is not the end of the process. It must be regularly updated, maintained, and developed to ensure its effectiveness as projects evolve. It is worth monitoring the effectiveness of the design of the system and assessing its impact on projects, and if changes or improvements are necessary, they should be introduced based on the results.
Design System and WordPress. New Full Site Editing (FSE) feature
Full Site Editing (FSE) has been introduced to the WordPress platform recently. It gives users more control over the appearance of pages – it allows full editing of page templates and elements such as headers and footers in an intuitive block-based graphical interface.
FSE allows you to make global changes to the website and its elements, such as styles or thematic blocks, without the need to use code. Thanks to FSE, you can easily customize the appearance and functionality of the site, using the global settings of styles and blocks defined in the Design System, thanks to which we can create consistent and professional pages on the WordPress platform.
Thanks to its easy operation, non-technical people can independently perform many tasks that previously required technical skills or professional assistance. What’s more, these changes are now visible in the editor right away.
What are the main components of Full-Site Editing?
- FSE introduces an extensive block editor that allows you to create and edit various elements on the page, such as headers, footers, sections, columns, images, texts, etc. Blocks are the basic structural units of pages in FSE and allow for any visual customization.
- FSE allows you to create and edit page templates, which are used to define the structure and appearance of entire pages on a block basis, which unifies the appearance and layout of pages within a single site.
- FSE allows you to create global styles that can be applied to various elements on the page, such as fonts, colors, margins, backgrounds, etc. Global styles allow for a uniform look and feel throughout the page, which contributes to the consistency of the design.
- FSE allows you to create custom thematic blocks that are defined in the Design System and can be used on various pages within the site. Thematic blocks allow you to reuse defined blocks, which speeds up the process of designing and customizing pages.
- The WordPress customizer has been extended with new FSE features, allowing you to edit page templates, global styles, and thematic blocks in one place. A customizer is a tool that allows you to preview the effects of changes made on the website in real time, facilitating the process of designing and customizing the website.
FSE will not necessarily put designers and developers out of work, but it can change their role in the web development process.
Thanks to FSE, designers can now focus more on designing attractive and consistent user interfaces, rather than focusing on the technical aspects of implementation. They will still be needed in the process of creating Design System guidelines, defining global styles and custom blocks, and ensuring the consistency and professionalism of the site.
Using FSE will reduce the need for front-end developer intervention in the process of editing page templates, but technical support will still be necessary when using more advanced features or optimizing the code.
Implementing a solid system design can bring numerous benefits. Thanks to FSE, we can save a lot of time and money, optimize the team’s work and easily achieve brand consistency. If you want to learn more about Full Site Editing and Design System, be sure to sign up for the webinar where designers and developers will explain and show how to use this tool.
If you want to learn more about Design System and see how the FSE function works, join the webinar we are organizing together with White Label Coders! You can find more details here: https://webinar.whitelabelcoders.com/pl/