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Avoid these classic system design fails to boost revenue and improve user experience

Mar 06, 2020 Parth Patel

Learn how to avoid these system design fails to achieve results that work for you.

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History is never kind to the loser and failures are not something we talk about as much as our successes. However, the world of system and product design is replete with failed examples that can teach the willing student a lot about design systems and how to make it work.

To take a step back, what does a Design System mean?

I came across an interesting article on the topic some time back where the renowned international speaker Una Kravets discussed this in detail. To quote her in brief,

 A design system is a culmination of several individual components, which can include any or all of the following (and more):

A style guide or visual pattern library

Design tooling (e.g. Sketch Library)

Component library (where the components live in code)

Code usage guidelines and documentation

Design usage documentation

Voice and tone guideline

Animation language guideline

After analyzing 2 million pieces of financial data and 100,000 design “actions”–deliberate attempts to make design a more prominent part of the business–for 300 public companies over a five-year period, McKinsey found that those with the strongest commitment to design and the most adept execution of design principles had 32% more revenue and 56% more total returns to shareholders. This finding held true across three separate industries: medical technology, consumer goods, and retail banking.

There are several pioneering design systems that have set a high bar on standards including Airbnb, Material- Google Design system, Fluent by Microsoft, Polaris by Shopify, Mailchimp’s extraordinary brand tone and voice guide, Atlassian, Apple, IBM, Uber, Salesforce- Lightning design system to name a few.

Traditionally, style guides were used by companies to define the user experience until now. However, with an increasing dependence on digital media for interaction, it is important to work with an agile design system that is created in collaboration with the designers and developers to ensure ongoing improvements which will save a lot of time and money in the long run.

So why do design systems fail and what you can learn from it

Failure to understand the process can undo all the hard work of establishing a design system. Here are the top 6 reasons why a design system fails and how you can avoid these mistakes.

Treating your System design as a short-term project

A design system is an agile process that needs constant tweaking and updates. Just as you need regular updates to ensure that your software is working to meet changing demands, your team needs to ensure that the designers and developers are constantly working with the design system and evaluating it for updates.

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“Research shows that companies with the strongest commitment to design and the most adept execution of design principles had 32% more revenue and 56% more total returns to shareholders.”

  • Parth Patel
  • CEO
  • Six Consulting, Inc.
32% more revenue

with design principles

56%

increased returns to shareholders

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