When you examine the complexities inherent to building or growing any digital product, you see how quickly inconsistency, inefficiency, and design debt can creep in. To avoid these pitfalls, a well-documented UX design system is one of the best investments you can make. Not only will it provide a better, more consistent user experience, it will also streamline workflows for your design and development teams.
Companies that adopt a UX design system approach to projects save between 40 and 81 percent of developers’ time compared to building from scratch. If you’re in the process of developing a new application or updating an existing legacy software, consider taking a UX design system approach. Here are just some of the benefits.
1. Ensure consist experience across applications and devices
A UX design system provides designers with a visual library and guidance so that every step of the user journey is orchestrated to deliver a consistent user experience. When navigation, buttons, and interfaces are consistent, users can better navigate the product and complete tasks. Consistency is especially important to users accessing the same website or application from different devices, like smartphones, tablets, and different internet browsers.
2. Enable scalability across multiple development teams
A UX design system makes code and design reusable, thus making it more efficient and easier to scale. This, in turn, increases the speed of development teams working on software and reduces their overall effort.
3. Reduce specification and design time
A UX design system simplifies the visualization of ideas. When designers no longer have to design everything from scratch, they are able to create mock-ups in a fraction of the time. And product teams know exactly how components or new features should look. As a result, you unleash creativity because time can be spent on bigger, more strategic design issues.
4. Increase speed of development
A UX design system increases the pace of innovation because it contains pre-coded components. Now developers don’t need to waste valuable time working on problems that have already been solved. Instead, they can reallocate their time to solving larger problems.
5. Ensure faster time to market
A UX design system accelerates production an average of 2x to 3x. A visual library and guidelines ensures teams design, build, and develop the UI without starting from scratch. Because teams are able to more quickly iterate on multiple platforms, development costs are also reduced.
6. Enable ongoing user validation and refinement
A UX design system reduces the effort required to iterate. If you want to experiment with new approaches to the UI or changes to a UX flow, your developers don’t need to write hundreds of lines of code. Instead, they can accomplish big changes with as little as a few characters.
7. Reduce risk
A UX design system incorporates the best UI practices from previous projects. Before a software project even gets started, someone has already tried various approaches that are potential sources of risk. They’ve resolved them, and this information has been assimilated into the UX design system.
8. Decrease technical debt
A UX design system ensures that a lot of backend work is already completed before you do any coding. Debt is acquired by coding for the short-term and using non-reusable and inconsistent design styles. As debt accumulates, it slows growth. A UX design system enables you to freely expand and evolve your application while avoiding this debt.
9. Reduce required QA activities
A UX design system streamlines the number of boxes to check during QA reviews. If you’ve ever done an audit and discovered dozens of gradients of gray or button sizes, then you understand how inconsistent and difficult to maintain your design has become. A UX design system ensures uniformity and avoids wasting valuable review time.
10. Reduce UI development skill level for developers
A UX design system includes reusable code for highly technical components. UI has become extremely complex, so it’s impossible for developers to specialize in everything. Rather than have a project’s development be stymied due to lack of skilled developers, you can hire full stack developers instead.
12. Incorporate accessibility compliance
A UX design system standardizes accessibility at the component level. Today, universal access to web-based products is essential. It’s not only important for people who have physical and mental disabilities, but also for those with special requirements, like broadband connections and older mobile devices. If you figure out the coding and design to address these issues at the component level, then you don't have to figure it out again when coding a screen by hand.
13. Provide users with greater capability in UI
A UX design system frees up time and resources for creating a UI that better meets user needs. It’s important to analyze the users’ needs and concerns with a product as early as possible. Incorporating this feedback into reusable components and guidelines means that your product is always solving the right problems for target users.
Need help with creating or managing a unified UX design system? Catalyst UX has a seasoned team of UX/UI designers, developers, and researchers that can ensure you build the best path forward. Contact us to learn more.