Improving Team Efficiency by Creating a UC Style Guide
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
2016 - Current
Recognizing when I can Help
Being the only designer on my team at UCOP (University of California, Office of the President), I have a ton of day to day work on projects. But, in addition to my project work, I see a big part of the value I provide as using design tools and methods to help improve our work processes. In my first year on the job, I noticed several issues in our process that could be made more efficient by implementing a style guide and eventually developing it into a full design system:
- Tough time and budget constraints caused features to not always be developed as designed.
- I do not work on every project my team takes on, however some of those projects still involve UI design that should be consistent with the rest of our projects.
- Documenting and specifying both interaction and visual design would take too much time and money from our budget
- UI elements with standard interaction and visual design abstract away a layer of specification that needs to be done, making it much less likely elements are implemented incorrectly
- Developers have consistent frameworks and components to work from if I am not included on the project
- Less time is needed to create documentation around basic behavior and more time can be spent specifying the overall experience
When you are the only designer on your team, a lot of evangelization and education is key to establish good practices. I needed to get buy in by convincing both management and my teammates of the value of a design system. Luckily, my manager was quite receptive to the idea of building a design system when I explained its benefits to our business. We integrated building a UI style guide into my goals for the year as a first step in the process of getting to a design system. I also gave a presentation to my teammates to introduce them to the concept of a design system and what it could do to make our lives easier. When I made the argument for a design system from that perspective, my teammates were happy to endorse the initiative and also help where they can. I also have meetings with them as the design process goes on so I can get their feedback and keep the project transparent.