Design systems exist to bring unity, cohesion, and harmony to our designs. That said, the best design systems are flexible enough to enable variation while still maintaining connectedness between those variants. In this excerpt from Expressive Designs Systems, Yesenia Perez-Cruz goes deep on what it takes to create design systems that enables intentional, meaningful variation.
There’s no shortage of content, manifestos, and opinions these days on how design can be evil. But if they’ve left you feeling more frustrated than empowered, wishing for practical, real-world ways to enact change in your work, we hear you. In this piece, Lennart Overkamp lays out a practice-based approach to daily ethical design. You might be surprised to find out how much you can already do.
Design decisions across our projects can mean the difference between affirmation and invalidation—and sometimes safety and danger. Erin White explores the repercussions for trans, non-binary, and gender-variant users and what we can do about it.
Quantifying the success of creative work may not be easy for designers and developers, but for many clients, it’s a necessity. Through tools like A/B testing and conversion rates, formerly nebulous qualities like user satisfaction can take on clear measures of success. Developer Brandon Gregory provides an overview of these and other tools, and discusses the benefits of designing for conversions, which allows products to reach their targets and serve the right people.
As humans, we have an underlying “blueprint” for how we perceive and process the world around us, and the study of psychology helps us define this blueprint. And as designers, we can leverage psychology principles to build more intuitive products. But where to start? Author Jon Yablonski explains three essential theories of psychology, and provides real-world examples of how they can be used to benefit design. He also discusses the ethical implications of leveraging psychology in design, and what we should all keep in mind if we want to be ethical design citizens.
Designing for the happy path—where users always enter ideal data and clients choose perfect images—can leave your layouts warped and broken when your users stray. Steven Garrity suggests you take a walk on the wild side and design with difficult data to become a better designer.
The work of a web typographer—that’s you—is challenging to say the least. Between highly variable screen sizes (and thereby line lengths), font size variability, and even font availability, it’s difficult to design great reading experiences. Tim Brown’s Flexible Typesetting is here to help.
Design systems have become the norm for organizations big and small. Yet, as more of our products and services move online, we can learn a thing or two from the world of service design. A dependence on any form of design system can create a pattern of ignoring our users’ context, hindering the design process, and even our own sense of empathy.
The sirens’ song of wireframe visuals has been the thorn in the side of many a design project. With potential to undermine user-centricity, reduce team engagement, and limit creativity when it’s most needed, wireframes can bite the unwary. In this article, Heleen van Nues and Lennart Overkamp discuss an alternative that’s far more in tune with today’s content-first, responsive design ethos, whether used as a direct replacement or to help tame wireframes’ wilder side early in a project’s life.
Engaging with users in a meaningful dialogue can seem daunting. Scary even. Understanding how to do it well will pay great dividends because UX is heading in that direction. Find out more in this excerpt from Erika Hall’s latest book, Conversational Design.