Design systems – the whole truth about the product at a glance
In recent years, interface designers have coined the saying that the design system is the only source of truth about how to design and develop a product. Especially at the stage when the product gains size and maturity, the need for mechanisms facilitating further project work appears.
And here is the paradox. Banking systems are one of the largest and most complex digital products on the market. Nevertheless, banks do not yet fully take advantage of design systems. The year 2019 must bring a change in this matter – the trend is too important for the digital products industry for big players like banks not to take it seriously.
Following product evolution
The design system is nothing more than a complete set of design standards for a given product and rules for communication with the user, along with a library of all components used to create the interface. It is a living organism that evolves along with changes in organization, business, products and market trends, and it must be constantly developed. It is in fact a separate product, often with a separate design and development team responsible only for its service. Designers working on the UX or UI system, and more importantly developers, can tap into it and draw from it.
Banking is starting to catch up with other digital industries
Until recently, banks liked to treat their applications and transactional systems as closed entities, which, of course, need to be updated, security patched and to some extent developed, but on a much smaller scale and at a slower pace than in other industries.
Fortunately, a part of the banking industry shares the way of thinking of the creators of the largest digital products from other industries. The organization’s managers understand that (unfortunately!) banking systems are never a closed finite product, over which work ends at some point. The system lives and breathes, up to the time when you need to create a completely new version. They understand the need for a stable team that nurtures the evolution of the solution already implemented, the need for continuous research, evaluation of ideas, improvement and modification of existing UX processes and solutions in the system.
Organizations talk about their design systems openly and proudly present them to the world, give them marketing names (IBM – Carbon Design System, AirBnB Design Language System, etc.). In this way, the design departments become narrowly profiled communication channels of the organization.
In line with the design system: Faster, cheaper, better
Having your own system design means that every stage of a digital product’s life has a specific reference point, and all activities are simply faster and, above all, cheaper. It guarantees consistency and speed of introducing changes and new solutions. Developer teams often work remotely, are dispersed and are subject to constant staff turnover. Having the „only source of truth about the system”, the organization saves itself from painful cases of starting from scratch – whether small fragments of the interface or code, or whole large modules. The product based on a design system is coherent not only visually, but chiefly in terms of code construction and user path design, as well as tonality and the method of communication with it.
Banking will adapt
The banking industry will begin to systematically appreciate the best design practices, because using them will prove less expensive than running a whole gamut of immature practices taken from the beginning of the digital transformation era. From the way of managing a mature digital product in the form of system design, through the increase of communication awareness in these products, to micro-changes at the level of interface components resulting from close and constant observation of user behavior.
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