With many product teams establishing core design systems, it’s only natural that these systems will change and evolve as the industry does. Alex (Design Team Lead) and Venn (Senior Designer) at Atlassian tells how they have grown the Atlassian Design Guidelines (ADG) and where they see the industry going in the future.
Breaking Down Silos
Atlassian’s Design System team combines many core disciplines—design, development, content, illustration. Alex and Venn believe that the interconnected relationships between them will be at forefront of the industry’s future.
So much of the nuance in a design system can be found in the fuzzy line between those disciplines, and the ADG team sees those silos being eliminated in the future. Tooling like Airbnb’s React > Sketch Tool and UXPin’s Design from Code are already helping designers use real-life components for their mockups. This underlies a core shift to encourage designers to think more like developers, and understand how components are built along with the props available to customize and work with them.
Designing for Experiences
As design systems like ADG canonize UI elements, some of the most exciting value lies in allowing teams to dig deeper into the experience of the product. The team at Atlassian hopes that ADG will foster an expectation that their products always provide thoughtful and consistent user experiences. “It’s about tapping into the emotional state of the user, and thinking about the whole Atlassian experience—that’s our silver bullet,” Alex explains.
Emotion and Empathy
As design teams like Atlassian’s start moving closer and closer to user problems, a foundation of empathy becomes even more important. Currently, the team sees some tactical areas of growth that will help build empathy on their team, not only for each other, but for their end-users as well.
One of these tactics is team rotations. Instead of only seeing the product through their specific team’s lense, they were able to see how the product is shaped on a global level—an insight specific to the ADG team.
Another tactical focus for the future of ADG is closing design feedback loops, moving closer to the product through analytics and in turn, closer to the users themselves.
A Bright Future
The future of design systems at Atlassian (and across the industry) is a bright one. There are plenty of opportunities for the system itself to organically grow, but even more exciting are the myriad of ways the system will help the team to really refine the experience of the product, not just its individual components.