I recently worked on a project where they hired an agency for a UX heavy buildout. They didn’t have the funds to have every little nuance built out, which is common, so there was some translation in between.
But what happens when you don’t have a solid set of tools to refer too? In this case, after my involvement the project went slowly off brand.
Without a consistent set of Design System Engineering tools your site is almost guaranteed to go off brand as well.
This is because as you process day-to-day changes your dev team will surely encounter a pattern that is not obvious or documented.
This is where they start to get creative.
I am not talking about creative, like in creative code.
I am talking about creative in a bad way.
Soon your engineers start fiddling with CSS, perhaps the colors, and maybe grab some rando-code off of stack overflow or github.
They are a bit out of their comfort zone, but they are problem solvers.
And a problem solving they go.
This can quickly lead to radically different looking elements, buttons, and modules.
This is guaranteed to make your site look unprofessional, off brand, hacked or just plain broken to your users.
Having a properly maintained set of front-end code for major templates alongside a coded styleguide (at a minimum) is key to having your backend team keep your site or app on brand.
Design Systems Engineering can provide a set of tools and documentation that can keep your dev team focused and productive, but most importantly on brand.
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My name is James Stone and I am a Senior Software Developer at Futurice in Helsinki, Finland. I typically give talks and write about Design Systems (especially with React), React, TypeScript and how to become a better developer. If you would like for me to send you an email every time I publish a new article or talk, please join my email list. I also will occasiounally send out some secret list only information or offers. I expect the frequency to be about one or two times per week.