Design Journey – Designer Logbook 2017

Design Journey – Designer Logbook 2017

In 2017, I was run over by a biker and built a design system. This is the 2017 logbook in a nutshell…

The logbook is vital to keeping track of my journey as a designer. My logbook for 2017 started with the plan of developing a design system because we enlarged the number of apps in our catalogue and decided to create a new theme for our family of fintech products.

We started this project with two goals in mind:

  1. Unify the presentation layer for all the target persona we were working for
  2. Re-design the theme to make it more responsive and modern

To have a rough estimation of the effort for all the teams (designers and developers):

  • I collected the most used usability patterns, such as primary navigation, secondary navigation, list navigation, lookup session and form entry
  • I started an investigation to collect all the widgets and all the components we were using to deliver our user interfaces (UI)
  • I’ve listed all the new widgets and components we needed for the next generation of products we were planning to deliver
  • I collected a bunch of design system examples to have a benchmark to rely on
  • I started playing around with Sketch to figure out how to solve the “working together” topic
  • I started playing around with InVision to figure out how to solve the “sharing” topic

All this effort brought a clear vision of what was needed to deliver the first version of the MVP Design System to allow a bunch of teams to develop a web app. We decided to test the DS for this app because of the timeline and the size of the solution itself

The results were evident since the first stages of the product design process:

  • Designers were able to collaborate better due to a solid workflow and a shared library
  • Product Owners and Business Analysts could better describe the target solution because of the visual documentation.
  • Product Owners and Business Analysts were able to better describe the target solution because of the naming convention for all the UI items.
  • Architects and Front-End Engineers were faster in implementing the first concept and the further versions of the app because of the high-fidelity prototype

Unfortunately, even if Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world ( you must be aware of the bike riders. They’re everywhere (especially coming down from the woods), and they are not aware that they are not the only ones having fun on this planet. And when they’re too fast to break, the poor runner ends up at the ER with a broken elbow and a lot of empathy for this excellent category of sportspeople. Anyway, lemons to lemonade, even if I was forced to not work for almost five weeks, yes, I am left-handed, and this super-hero biker was able to break my left elbow, the rest of the teams were able to develop and code the rest of the app.

So, the learnings from 2017 are:

  1. Design systems are fantastic and costy too, so be careful when you plan to create this type of deliverables
  2. If you’re a runner, even if you run in a protected area (like the pedestrian lane along the lake), always try to have a look at your back. These creatures committed to having fun on wheels without an engine (a mystery to me) don’t care too much about you.

Caveats and feedback

I haven’t hashed out all the details of 2017. This is the shortlist of my key reflections.

Your feedback is precious to me. Are you familiar with the topics I have listed? Have you found better approaches?


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