The Product Design Process

Taking Your Design System to the Next Level

Paul Boag

Paul Boag

The Product Design Process

Check out a free preview of the full The Product Design Process course

The "Taking Your Design System to the Next Level" Lesson is part of the full, The Product Design Process course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul discusses taking a design system to the next level by considering design principles, creating a digital playbook, and developing a content style guide. He emphasizes the importance of having clear principles in place to guide design decisions and ensure consistency. He also highlights the benefits of a comprehensive guide to best practices and workflows, as well as a content style guide for consistency and efficiency.


Transcript from the "Taking Your Design System to the Next Level" Lesson

>> And very finally, I would say, think about taking your design system to the next level, right? So once you've got all that basic stuff in, there's loads of other things that I would consider design-system--adjacent or even a part of a design system. So for example, design principles, you're aware of design principles?

So this is the idea of having certain principles in place that act as a framework to help make design decisions. So ensuring that everything is approached in an objective, clear, concise manner. So those ones on the screen that are a bit hard to read are from the UK government, and they include principles like, start with the user's needs, do less.

Design with data, do the hard work to make things simple. Kind of underlying principles about how we're gonna approach design. What's our attitude towards this? To things like make it for everyone, so it's accessible, those kinds of things. Having those principles in place sounds a bit like airy fairy and a bit kind of, ooh, let's define our manifesto, and all of that kind of rubbish.

But actually, they're really quite useful. You get consistent decision-making across projects. It focuses you on the overall objectives of what you're trying to do from a design perspective. It ensures that you're more user-centric. But best of all, it gives you a big old hammer to hit stakeholders with when they wanna do something stupid.

Well, we agreed on these design principles, and what you're saying is not one of our design principles. Don't do it like that. The other thing you might wanna look at is creating a digital playbook or a design playbook, which is a comprehensive guide to all your best practices, your strategies, your tools, your workflows.

I create a lot of these for organizations. So just like, let's get it all down, right? Let's get it all written down as policies and procedures of how we operate. Again, it's really good for hitting stakeholders around the head with, right? So, you have a greed set of processes that you go through.

You always do usability testing, for example, is a great process to put in. It gives you a shared repository of knowledge. So as people leave the organization and new people come in, you've got it all written down. And it also improves collaboration. And it can empower people as well, cuz it teaches them best practice and what to do and things like that.

And a part of that should be content style guide, that's a part of your design system, really. Because content style guide is gonna give you consistency, it's gonna ensure quality, is gonna make you more efficient. So there's a lot, in your design system, can be bigger than just a load of components in figma and code.

But that can come later, as I was saying in the course that I ran previously. Something is better than nothing. Don't despise those small beginnings. Start with the basics and build up from there. So just to wrap that talk about design systems up, a design system is an invaluable tool, right?

If it's planned carefully, right? Or it can be an enormous waste of money and time, so be careful about that. When creating a design system, start with your styles, move on to your elements, and finally work on those components. But remember that design system is gonna need a carefully considered rollout.

And that it's much more than a set of UI elements, and you can build upon that long-term.

Learn Straight from the Experts Who Shape the Modern Web

  • In-depth Courses
  • Industry Leading Experts
  • Learning Paths
  • Live Interactive Workshops
Get Unlimited Access Now