Amidst today’s global digital transformation, consumers are spoilt for choice in apps. They are used to the amazing design found in consumer-facing apps where corporations have large budgets to spend on polishing every view to perfection. A high-quality UX is simple, intuitive and makes the final product a delight to use. For a prime example, think of PayPal.
The engaging experience offered by consumer-grade apps is also encouraging enterprises to rethink the design of their business apps. Poor design can cost an organisation in multiple ways from delayed releases, application rework to increased support costs.
This begs the question, how can enterprises efficiently develop apps that are scalable and consistent across touchpoints, whilst offering a good UX?
The answer is with the help of a design system.
What is a design system?
A design system consists of design assets and reusable components, governed by a set of guidelines and principles. Design systems help developers, designers, and product teams to efficiently build business web applications that are easily scalable and consistent in their design.
See the following article for a detailed introduction to design systems.
The benefits of a design system
UI consistency is one of the biggest challenges in enterprise application development, leading to a bad user experience, high user error rates, and increased training and support costs.
This is mainly caused by insufficient awareness of UI features, and inefficient coordination and communication between team members. These challenges grow with team size and product complexity and become even more apparent in organizations with multiple teams working on different products.
In addition to consistency issues, this also leads to an inefficient development process, more technical debt, and expensive maintenance. To overcome these challenges, big corporations including Google, IBM, and Adobe have created their own design systems that standardize the design and development of their products' UIs.
Let’s take a closer look at other ways how a design system can benefit your company’s product development process.
Improved developer experience
A good developer experience treats the developer like a customer. It looks at the developer’s journey in building an app and recognizes potential pain points or opportunities to improve the developer’s workflow. As a developer, you want to place your focus on what is important - solving business problems, and delivering value as quickly and frequently as possible.
A design system provides components and stylesheets for developers, and corresponding graphical assets for designers, improving developer-designer collaboration. In addition, associated documentation allows for quick onboarding of new developers, higher productivity, and consistency of the user interface (UI) in the event of personnel changes.
Consistency in design
Consistency in design throughout the user interface is key for creating an exceptional UX for the end users of your workplace application. Confusing and unorganized UIs , where elements behave differently and equivalent buttons have an inconsistent design, leave users frustrated and put off by the product.
Achieving design consistency is one of the main challenges most product teams face. Especially when scaling a product or creating new applications within your portfolio, inconsistencies are more likely to increase. Valuable time (and money) is wasted manually coding and matching each shade of blue, for example.
Learn more about Design Systems for Consistency and Efficiency.
With the help of set documentation, guidelines, and behaviors, a design system acts as the single source of truth for both designers and developers. Creating uniform UIs becomes effortless and, as a result, your business app users benefit from a pleasing UX. It’s a win-win situation.
A competitive advantage for businesses
The benefits of a design system to the DX and UX have a positive impact on project teams, and on the whole company itself in terms of ROI. Design systems speed up the development-to-market process of new and existing products and can save up to 70% of your team’s valuable time.
Moreover, business app users benefit from an intuitive and consistent user experience, which reduces onboarding time, user error rates and support requests. In the long run, the development of a design system that is agile, efficiently built, and scalable provides an enterprise with a clear competitive advantage.
Read more on the business case for adopting a design system.
The Vaadin Design System
Take your business web apps UX to the next level. We make building a company-specific design system much more cost-effective and therefore enable Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to benefit from design systems.
The Vaadin Design System is composed of web components, the modern Lumo theme, Vaadin Publisher, and helpful documentation that enables companies to extend and customize it according to their brand and application portfolio. Discover the Vaadin Design System.