Setting up an effective design system program is a challenge.
A system must fit smoothly into how an organization makes and delivers digital experiences. Yet, it must also embrace specific and robust processes needed to deliver high-quality components and other tools. Whether integrating a button or contributing a button variant, composing design guidelines or releasing a bug patch, each designer and developer must get how things work. Even more, they must feel empowered to use, influence, and contribute to the system with confidence.
In this workshop, we’ll explore the operational topics that matter most: defining a system’s vision, forming a core team, scoping and making features, and communicating and contributing across a community. We’ll also zoom out, taking on higher-order challenges of multiple systems that overlap and conflict with one another, and the competition for capacity and attention that every system craves.
Why you should attend
A design system endeavor confronts you with so many questions of “How does THIS work? How does THAT work?” It can feel mystifyingly complex.
The Operating Design Systems workshop lays a foundation and challenges you to consider if your system program is robust, flexible, and inclusive enough. We’ll explore the processes that matter most and when to invest in each to build a successful program. Participants will explore many models, imagine new processes, share their own experiences, and inspire each other.
Nathan Curtis will guide the group, relying on 10+ years experience (yes, even long before the field called ‘em design systems) supporting programs at Marriott, Morningstar, Verizon, Google, Atlassian, Liberty Mutual, Twitter, Dropbox, Nationwide, Automattic, World Bank, Hudl, REI, Capital One, Discovery, Target, Cisco, and Fidelity. This exposure will season each participant’s appreciation for the many approaches and challenges they’ll face every day.
Who should attend
Design systems are best as a multidisciplinary pursuit. Therefore, the workshop is aimed at designers, engineers, product owners, managers, and leaders setting up or optimizing how to operate a design system at scale.
While topics assume some familiarity with design systems concepts, the opening activity will establish a baseline definition for the day. Remaining material will be relevant to all disciplines planning to engage a community, decide what to build, and promote it once it’s built.
What you'll learn
Over the course of the 2 days, we’ll learn about and practice how to:
- Describe a system succinctly
- Address multiple systems that may overlap and conflict
- Scoping a release to prioritize features teams need
- Communicate to your community
- Model contribution workflows
- Plan teams responsible to operate the system
- Develop features by a step-by-step process
- Set objectives and measure success
That said, this workshop is strategy, people, and processes than it is color, modals, and UX patterns. If you want to learn how to make an effective design language of visual style, weave it through a UI component library, and document it as a design system, Nathan has a distinct workshop for that – Architecting Design Systems – but that’s for another day.