Topics included: how to adapt design systems to an organization’s workflow and culture; the humility required to build wonderfully boring design systems; and the way that design systems will evolve to capture emerging interfaces.
All of these points circle the most important role of design systems: easing future work. Here’s what I had to say about that:
I do have a focus on designing for what’s next and how do we prepare organizations and products for what appear to be the emerging technologies that are likely to be really important in the next year or two. I do think that a really important thing about design systems and pattern libraries is being kind to your future self. It’s creating documentation, so that for the next project, my colleague or me, I’ll have all of this stuff at hand. … The way that I think of design system work writ large is that it is a container of institutional knowledge; it is a collection of solved problems and an example of the best of what a company does when it comes to design. …
It takes less and less imagination now to see that things like speech in particular, but also some artificial intelligence aspects, are going to be coming into these [projects], that our interactions are going to go well beyond keyboard and mouse, as we’ve already seen with touchscreens. … What that means is that we’ll have an explosion of design best practices for each of these new channels, and we have to get a lot better at documenting all of them. And that’s what pattern libraries and design systems are great at. …
What is emerging with all of this design system work is just how many disciplines and kinds of brains and kinds of creativity go into creating large and complex design solutions.
Listen to the whole podcast or read the transcript. Or hey why wait: just subscribe to the Style Guide podcast (iTunes or feed) so that you don’t miss an episode. Anna and Brad are doing great work to surface the best ideas and techniques for pattern libraries, style guides, and design systems. So good.
Does your company need a design system to bring order to a disconnected set of apps and websites? Or to capture emerging best practices for the latest interfaces? Big Medium can help with workshops, executive sessions, or a full-blown design engagement. Get in touch.