A design system helps deliver a unified experience for the end user, no matter what the medium. But it also means a cohesive internal experience as well. Design systems unite teams across time and space, bring designers and engineers together through a shared language, and help designers focus on experience over style.
In our newest episode of the DesignBetter.Co Podcast, Indeed’s director of design experience, Kim Williams, talks about the evolution of Indeed’s design system, designing with empathy for job seekers in mind, and how collaboration across the company is key to any design system’s success.
Indeed’s Director of Design Experience, Kim Williams
Key points from Kim:
- Creating a design system shared vocabulary takes constant, intentional communication across all stakeholders
- Measuring design success isn’t all quantitative, it can also be about how it makes a user feel and how scalable it is
- A design system isn’t just about the design team; it’s influenced by and has effects on teams across a company
“I think for us, the design system is one part of how people feel about the brand and the product itself. The design system is really this tool that can help you tell your best story.”
On design systems being an all-teams effort
“One thing I always say is that everyone is a part of the design system team. Sure, there’s a core team that’s building it and creating it, but each product team is making choices. They’re making decisions every day, and those decisions will either converge or diverge. It’s important that whatever decisions are made are ones that really just advanced our narrative together. And where they do diverge, it’s important to know why.”
On how a brand system influences a design system
“From the design system’s perspective, it’s really about developing, so taking the high level elements of illustration, color, photography, motion, and breaking that down into more tangible and tactical applications within the product itself, like, ‘How does that specifically apply?’ How do you kinda go from the 50,000-foot view of motion of video to the 50-foot view, which is, ‘What is that micro interaction for that button?'”
On a design department that’s grown by 5x in a year
“The only reason we have been as successful as we have been with rolling out this first iteration of our design system is from the radical collaboration that happens when you bring people together around a common purpose and a common goal … We’ve been able to maintain that drive, that ambition, comradery.”
On design system adoption
“It takes a great deal of humility for design systems to work because of all of these factors of working across the globe, working at different levels, speaking different languages to people—it’s considering all of the different facets of what goes into it. It takes a village, and it requires a great deal of humility. You can be bold in your thinking, you can be bold in your process, you can be bold in the work. But when it comes to the collaboration piece it really is paramount that you make meaningful connections.”
Resources Kim recommends:
- “Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time” by Susan Scott
- Design Systems, a curated publication with news across the design system world
Stephanie is a copywriter for InVision. She hails from the humid land of Elvis (that’s Memphis, TN, for the uninitiated), where she lords it over her two dogs, three cats, and one bearded husband, all while continuously talking about herself in third person.
by Eli Woolery
Eli is the Director of Design Education at InVision. His design career spans both physical and digital products, and he is a lecturer in the Product Design program at Stanford University. You can find Eli on <a href="https://medium.com/@ewoolery">Medium</a> or on <a href="https://twitter.com/ewoolery">Twitter</a>.