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The power of Design Systems: The example of Dialectica

Category:

Published:

July 27, 2023

by

Anie Blaggidi – Senior UX Designer

A significant player in the market, Dialectica continually works to enhance its product line in order to meet the changing needs of its clients and internal users. In keeping with its continued dedication to providing a superior user experience, Dialectica’s UX and engineering team have created a new design system that will benefit the organization in various ways. The article will explore the factors that led to the requirement for a design system and the benefits that Dialectica can expect from it.

The Need for a Design System

The product line of Dialectica has expanded dramatically over time, and new features and functionalities are consistently being introduced. However, this expansion has brought with it a unique set of challenges. For instance, it became more difficult to establish a consistent design language and set of principles as separate teams worked on different areas of the product. 

Additionally, since we needed a library of reusable components, designers, and developers had to start from scratch each time they created a new feature or product, which resulted in a longer time to ship and a slower product development cycle. 

The Tech department realized the need for a design system that could provide a clear set of standards, a uniform design language, and a reusable component library to tackle these challenges. As a result, a design system would guarantee that all teams are coordinated and striving toward the same objectives, providing clients with a smooth user experience.

How we did it

We split up our process into two distinct phases: planning and execution.

Design

For the product design team, creating a new design system for an organization can be both an exciting and challenging task. The organization’s products, business, and user needs must be thoroughly understood. The collaboration on highlighting the requirements from the stakeholders in meetings is one of the most fundamental things to do. This helps us to be clear from the start and decide a product life cycle according to them. 

The first step we took in order to build a new design system was to conduct an extensive audit of the existing elements used throughout products. We conducted these surveys from our technical and design team as they are the people who are the most exposed to bringing our products to life. In addition, in Dialectica, as we focus on diverse and innovative ideas, the team members do not shy away from sharing their thoughts and feedback. These reflections were seen in the audit, which gave us visibility of the current system’s strengths and weaknesses and identified areas that require improvement.

Moving on, we carefully assessed foundational elements used in the existing system, such as typography styles, and color palettes. For example, we evaluated the typography used in the system to assess if it followed hierarchy guidelines and accessibility rules and whether it served its intended purpose. Similarly, we carefully examined the color palette used in the products and evaluated whether they were used appropriately and semantically, met accessibility guidelines, and aligned with the organization’s brand identity. 

In the planning phase, we also conducted an extensive research with our users, so that we build a new design system that is consistent and aligned with Dialectica products and its users needs.

The design principles are based on the product’s goals and user needs and ensure that the design system is consistent, usable, scalable, flexible, accessible, efficient, coherent, and empathetic. The design system would provide a consistent experience across all products, platforms, and channels, prioritizing usability by providing components that are easy to use, intuitive, and accessible to all users. The design system would also be scalable and flexible, serving a fast-growing organization’s product. Additionally, we prioritized accessibility with design elements, including everything from typography, and color schemes to icons and user interface patterns, assuring that all users, including those with impairments, could use the product efficiently.

Guiding design excellence: a comprehensive resource for seamless collaboration and consistency

Lastly, we created documentation for each element of the design system that specified how each design component should be used by the designers. This documentation serves as a resource for designers, developers, and stakeholders as well as a guideline providing rules for using a certain component.

Implementation

After the research and analysis conducted for the design system, we designed an effective and coherent design system for our users to ensure a smooth user journey for the final designed product. 

The color palette and the typography of the buttons or icons in the design system were placed in such a way that the user could easily navigate through the screens. Furthermore, the spacing and the imagery guidelines were also maintained throughout the system so that the text is easily readable and the user’s focus is maintained while they explore the product’s features. As a result, all of these changes effectively increase the user experience. In addition, a style guide was also created to explain the reasoning behind the product’s features, such as the placed buttons, images, or the product’s color palette.

Furthermore, we also conducted a few workshops for our stakeholders, technical team, and design team so that everyone could get comfortable with the design system. In addition, since it is a collaboration of efforts from the design and the engineering team, it allows them to bond and develop a sense of community while enjoying the experience. 

Since we follow Agile methodology to compete in the market effectively, we ensure the product is always improving by incorporating users’ feedback, whether it requires design or technical changes. The iterative changes made, in turn, helped to develop a greater life for the design system and create an impact on the product market.

All these changes were first reflected in the wireframing and prototyping of the product while receiving the feedback from the client and then moving on to make the high-fidelity designs using the tools, such as Figma, to bring the idea into existence which is aligned with the demands and expectations. These designs then go into user testing to ensure the user journey is smooth throughout the product usage and helps retain user attention. Finally, after positive feedback from the audience, including the employees, clients, users, and stakeholders, the product is ready to be launched.

Benefits of a Design System

A coherent design system will bring several benefits to Dialectica’s employees, which are as follows:

Improved User Experience

One of the primary benefits of a design system is that it establishes a consistent design language with a clear set of guidelines. It makes it easier for users to navigate and understand the product, reducing the learning curve and making the product more intuitive to use. In addition, a consistent design language also ensures that all products have a cohesive look and feel, resulting in a better user experience for customers.

Increased Velocity and Efficiency – Time to market

The design system includes a reusable component library that enables us designers and engineers to build new features and products fast and effectively. They will collaborate more successfully and effectively, lowering the possibility of errors and boosting productivity, with the help of clear guidelines and reusable components. In addition, the reusable components allows the team to avoid starting from scratch, speeding up the product life cycle and shortening the delivery time for the product, enabling Dialectica to remain competitive in the market (time to market).

Reusable components for streamlined and fast product development

Improved Quality

A cohesive design system will raise Dialectica’s products’ overall level of quality. By building products based on this reusable elements library, we can guarantee that all products meet high standards of usability and quality, providing end-users a more fulfilling experience.

Conclusion

All in all, Dialectica stands to gain a significant amount from the implementation of a new design system. It will help Dialectica gain an advantage over its competitors by utilizing the most up-to-date design and technical skills possessed by its employees, customers, and other stakeholders in the company. 

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