Why you need a design system

There are many benefits of a design system.

Design systems allow you to build a consistent user experience, deploy features more quickly, make rebranding changes more efficiently and free-up time to address challenging UX issues. At a broad level, we can break-down the need for a design system into 5 main categories:

Reduced costs

Having everything in one place reduces the amount of work done by multiple teams. Reduced design and development time has the potential to save a lot of money in the long run.

  • Shared design library: For a good design system there should be a single source of truth that everyone can refer to, whether it’s the design team, engineering team or the product team. Maintaining a single source is quite challenging, but helpful in the long run. It's a good idea to look through the design library before creating a new component. It enables the system to grow.
  • Collaborative workflow: Involve the whole team to create a process that incorporates your design system, while being simple to follow.

More team confidence

Having clear instructions for developing a given user interface gives the team more confidence. It is a single source of truth that incorporates design tokens, a design kit and a component library. Developers using development guidelines and references to the components helps with brand adoption.

Collaboration among all teams is a must-have for creating a customer-centric solution. Both teams, designers and developers, must collaborate to create well-designed, functional products. When everyone in the team contributes to the core design system, it elevates empathy between the teams. Only collaborative techniques can bridge the gap between teams and make them more efficient and effective.

Backlight includes features such as real-time preview and collaboration, branch/pull-request management, asynchronous communications and visual reviews.

Higher quality

A design system makes design decisions reusable, allowing product teams to build products faster without sacrificing quality. Along with technical challenges, quality is a key aspect to tackle. Building components in a nested environment, like in a design system, is a good way to ensure that components are well crafted and tested collaboratively, before being safely shipped to production. It makes the customization of components easier to manage and ensures higher quality over time.

Greater productivity

Productivity improves when everything originates from a single source of truth.

A design system greatly removes possible misunderstandings between designers and developers, clients and stakeholders. It brings them all together.

With predefined components and definitions for how they are used, when they are used and how they function, unnecessary meetings can be forgone, saving teams a lot of time.

Backlight includes a number of starter kits to help you get started with your design system at a lower cost. The faster you have a design system the faster you benefit from it for productivity.

Consistency

A product with inconsistent design invariably results in poor user experience and inefficient product teams. While new users are confused by multiple designs for the same action, new team members don’t have components to reuse, leading to a slower onboarding.

By building and using a design system, the consistency that comes with it increases both the end user experience, ensuring that they are welcomed by the same interface elements wherever they are in the product, and the product team’s efficiency. Having a set of reusable elements together with documentation eliminates the need for the front-end team to make design decisions for every single new feature. Instead, they can reapply the existing rules that make up the design system.