Why you need a design system and how to get it.

Design can sometimes feel like black magic.

You know good work when you see it —but it’s really hard to explain why…

The engineers and designers at Skuid are long-time fans of Adam Wathan and Steve Schoger’s work at RefactoringUI.com. They explain very tactically why well designed applications work.

Recently, the Refactoring UI team published a full book about the tactics necessary for effective application design. It’s a great piece that we highly recommend. (See https://refactoringui.com/book/)

As our team at Skuid read the book, we started wondering whether the authors were using our new Skuid Spark release. Both of our teams seem to emphasize a huge number of similar themes. One of these is the importance of design systems, consistent components, and a “design-first” mentality to application development.  These are features of the new INK Components and Design System Studio that we just released.

In their book, Refactoring UI argues:

Define systems in advance: Instead of hand-picking values from a limitless pool any time you need to make a decision, start with a smaller set of options. Don’t reach for the color picker every time you need to pick a new shade of blue—choose from a set of 8–10 shades picked out ahead of time. Similarly, don’t tweak a font size one pixel at a time until it looks perfect. Define a restrictive type scale in advance and use that to make any future font size decisions.

Refactoring UI book, p. 29

The Skuid Design System Studio was built to make it easy for you to set these kinds of standards.

When you create a new design system using the Design System Studio, we encourage you to define a number of very high-level variables.

These include basic colors, standard borders, opacity levels, shadows, standard size and space, and typography.

When you define these variables, these standards then cascade down all across all your Skuid components–and, by extension, into all the Skuid pages you have built under this Design System.

When you make decisions at this very high level, you don’t have to think about them again during your application construction process.

Better yet—you can maintain consistency throughout your application!

Ready to give it a try? Get a free trial of Skuid today to get started.

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Product Applications Manager

I'm a bilingual Lego builder, translating the language of business into applications. I also lead Skuid's internal systems development team.