Hey there, fellow UX designers! We're always on a mission to revamp and improve our designs to make them more user-friendly. But here's the thing – without a solid UI design system, we can run into some serious challenges along the way.
Picture this: you're working on redesigning or tweaking a project, and there's no UI design system to guide you. Suddenly, you're faced with inconsistent visuals, clunky interactions, and a lack of design harmony. It can really throw a wrench into your progress and put the success of your project at risk.
That's why we're diving into the importance of having a robust UI design system as UX designers.
We'll explore the troubles we may encounter without one and highlight the fantastic benefits that come with implementing a well-thought-out UI design system. Trust us, investing in a UI design system can revolutionize our design workflow and lead to creation of top-notch user experiences. So let's jump right in and discover the power of a rock-solid UI design system!
What is A UI Design System?
While you are focusing on the product design business, a design system will consist of the collection of documents, articles, code samples, screenshots, design principles, components, and digital assets. Usually, you will find these online on a public and internal website.
This system is made up of a number of repetitive, reusable parts as well as instructions on how you can utilize each of those parts. You can need to streamline the design process, deal with design inconsistency, and reduce design entropy using design systems. Just think of it as a great knowledge library combining a UI kit, documentation, and rules for language and code.
Why Should You Create a UI Design System?
Creating a UI design system saves time by using premade components, ensures consistency across projects and platforms, promotes collaboration, improves user experience, and maintains brand identity and recognition.
Fast Accessible to All The Components & Elements
You can reuse all these components by copying and pasting while another developer has to replicate a code section on a different page. All the pre-designed UI symbol elements will be available and ready to be dropped in when a designer has to create a new landing page.
You Can Maintain Consistency
There is no ambiguity regarding the tone of what you have to write the material or select the header picture. There is no doubt as to what or how you need to complete it because you will find everything in there already. It is clearly written and has been discussed, contributed to, and approved.
Monitor Continuous Improvement
The user interface is always changing. Following an A/B test, you may want to increase accessibility or optimize conversion. Another reason could be an upgrade to your brand or the operating system. While changes to business logic are frequently limited to a single product, component upgrades affect all products. Externalizing the user interface to a single design system might assist you in understanding what changed, leaving a greater potential for improvement.
How Can You Develop A Design System of Your Own?
In spite of the fact that you won't find a single design approach that works for all situations, you would need to get started with a step on the correct path. It's essential to remember that every design system is constructed in different ways.
Some design systems incorporate such elements that another design system can decide to exclude. But, what is vital is your design system has to be based on the project's goals. With the entire team's help, you can develop a design system. Your whole design team will have a bunch of programmers, engineers, designers, product managers, a C-suite team, etc.
You must form a team to work on it, record all the assets that go into your current digital products, and try to agree on how everything needs to be designed, programmed, presented, and discussed. Now, let's see how you can create your own design system:
1. Perform A Visual Assessment
A visual audit of your current design is the first thing you should start while developing a pre-existing website or product. Use a tool like CSS Stats to list the CSS used to construct the pieces in your visuals.
This tool can check your style sheets to see how many rules, selectors, declarations, and properties they have. It can help you keep track of the fonts, families, and sizes you've used. Also, you will get a visual depiction of the spacing and size parameters. Thus, it will be simpler for you to identify different aspects of your design system that can be combined or eliminated.
2. Create an Aesthetic Style
Any design system's core is its visual design language. It consists of the distinctive parts that your design team will have to use to create goods, including websites and online apps. Here in the following section, you will know some of the most popular categories in it:
Determine and define one to three basic colors representing your brand best to start things. You will get the freedom to go further, produce sub-sections (tints, hues, overlays), and employ tools for better color balancing on light versus dark backgrounds.
In this section, you'll describe the different font families, font sizes, and other typographic standards you've chosen for the project. Limiting the number of fonts is a smart strategy to prevent inconsistencies and inevitable performance issues.
Spacing and Sizing
Applying numbers that follow patterns and ratios is the key to creating a system for spacing and scaling. For instance, 4-based measures are becoming more and more common. A 4-based scale is used by online browsers and operating systems like iOS and Android. A standardized system makes it more probable that the components will fit together and line properly.
Establish rules for how you want to use images, drawings, icons, and diagrams in your designs. You can think about establishing guidelines for which file format to use in what circumstances, depending on the various sorts of photography you've chosen to employ. To standardize the user experience, you can think about adding further categories to your visual design language.
3. Make a Library of UI/Patterns
You can create a UI inventory by putting all of the projects and websites you are presently working on onto a single platform. Using screenshots of the UI elements is one method for doing this.
It will assist you in understanding design debt and give you a sense of which UI components are utilized the most frequently. The objective is to gather and organize all of the project's components in collaboration with your design team. Do this for each and every UI element you have.
Afterward, gather various UI components, regions, elements, and design system layouts into appropriate categories. Finally, combine and eliminate anything unnecessary.
4. Record Each Aspect
Your design system should be fully documented by describing each aspect and its intended function. For illustration, the documentation for each component can include the following:
- The name or identification of component
- A concise explanation
- Information on when to utilize it
- A case study
- A prime example of a bad action
You are free to go as deep as you desire into the documentation. The objective is to provide something that any team member can utilize to do their task. You can get started with Cupper, a designer documentation builder.
In conclusion, when implementing a UI design system, consider the following tips:
Firstly, conduct thorough research on popular design systems to gain inspiration and guidance. By studying successful examples, you can identify best practices and adapt them to your specific project needs.
Secondly, tailor the design system to align with the unique requirements of your project. Customization ensures that the components, styles, and guidelines cater specifically to your users and brand identity.
Thirdly, foster collaboration among designers, developers, and stakeholders. Encourage open communication and shared understanding to ensure everyone is on the same page and actively contributes to the design system's success.
Fourthly, remember to regularly update and maintain the design system. Technology and user preferences evolve, so it's crucial to stay current. Continuously assess and refine the system to keep it relevant and effective.
Lastly, testing and iteration are key. Continually evaluate the design system's impact on user experience and make necessary adjustments. By testing and iterating, you can optimize the design system for maximum usability and user satisfaction.
By following these guidelines, you can create a smooth and productive UI design system that streamlines your workflow, enhances design consistency, and ultimately delivers exceptional user experiences.