Design Systems Consulting

Struggling with consistency across your digital products, confusion about how things should look and work, or just need a more efficient way to get things done?

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Design Systems empower your teams to design & build with greater consistency & efficiency.

A Design System is more than a common library of UI elements like buttons, and navigation menus. It’s a common visual and technical language everyone on your team —from marketing to engineering — can use to collaborate with more efficiency and less confusion.

Companies like Airbnb, Uber, & IBM have changed how they design digital products by incorporating their own unique design systems. By utilizing a collection of repeatable components and a set of standards guiding the use of those components, each of these companies has been able to change the pace of creation and innovation within their teams.

Design Systems help you to manage design at scale.

Some companies have seen as much as a 300% return on their investment in the first three years of building a Design System through gains in development speed and efficiency. The idea of saving up to 80% of your time in design and specifications and 75% of the time in development makes it easy to understand why so many companies are jumping to create design systems.

Reduce Design & Technical Debt

The more a company and its products grow, the more features get added to the original design, and old features become outdated. Without a design system, a product can lose its identity and start looking like a soup of various buttons and fonts, creating a disjointed user experience.

Eliminate Inconsistencies

The first task before building a design system is classifying all the visual components within the product. This will highlight where the biggest inconsistencies within the product are and will help the team to pick the most important and most used elements and components of the product. It also serves your customer and makes their lives easier. When you create a consistent experience you reduce the cognitive load that exists when the user switches from a mobile product to its desktop version.

Save Design & Development Time

When a team designs something it is to serve the user. Many designers and teams think the user is only the customer buying the product. But in this case, it’s also the people within the organization. Indeed, you might also work on internal products, that are used by different teams within the company, in order to serve the customer. When you build a design system, you will speed up the design process while also building links amongst teams.

Atomic Design
What Exactly Is a Design System?

Design Systems are called many things. From Atomic Design to a Design Language or other names like:

  • Pattern library
  • Modular design
  • Component design
  • Design language
  • User interface library

Sure, there are nuances to all of these, but they’re basically doing the same thing: creating a series of design components for you and your team to reuse. Sometimes, you’ll even find elements of a design system in a style or brand guide.

Case Study
Elevating Design at Delta Air Lines

When Delta wanted to reimagine one of their critical B2B platforms we led the creation of a new design system that helped their business, marketing, and IT teams collaborate with more speed and confidence than ever before.

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Insights
The Importance of a Great Design Process

You need great people, a great product, and a great process to be successful. This is true for business and it’s true for product teams, too.

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We were struggling to update our product fast enough to keep on track with our roadmap. Nine Labs helped us streamline our design process and install a Design System that keeps our design and development teams in sync. It's been a huge success.

Robert Swifton - Director of Product Management, National Retail

What To Expect:

Our unbiased, 3rd party perspective on your design process helps find opportunities to improve.

Process & Systems Assessment

We’ll talk with your design and development teams about their current process and document any pain points they have when creating or updating your product’s User Interface. 

Recommendations

You’ll get a detailed outline of where your processes can be improved using a Design System, and a roadmap for creating the Design System with your team and training them on its use.

Implementation

Based on the recommendations and your product roadmap, we’ll work alongside your teams to create and implement a Design System specific to your company's needs. 

The Details

Location:
In-person is preferred, but all sessions can be held remotely from anywhere in the world.
Duration:
Expect the Assessment and Recommendations to take at least several weeks from start to finish, subject to availability of your team. Expect the Implementation Phase to take at least 60 days, depending on the complexity of the Design System needed.
Scheduling:
We can usually schedule the first Assessment Meeting within 14 business days.
Participation:
Critical leaders and decision makers from your team must participate.
Deliverables:
For the Assessment and Recommendation Phases you can expect an Executive Summary, including:
  • Scoring of how your current design process could be improved through the use of a Design System
  • Recommendations and next steps for how to close critical gaps in your design workflows
  • Roadmap for creating and implementing the Design System with your teams
For the Implementation Phase you can expect:
  • A Design System built to your specifications
  • Online documentation for usage across your organization
  • Ongoing implementation support as desired

 

Having a Design System helps our entire team stay focused on what we need to build instead of debating things like font sizes, button colors, and how other UI elements should look and behave. Now our apps look consistent and we can build things faster than ever.

Chris Abernathy - VP of E-Commerce Solutions, Global Fintech SaaS provider