By now, I think it’s safe to say we all agree that “systems, not pages” is the way to go when you’re working on big projects. But how do you design something flexible and scalable enough to meet the demands of a massive site or app?
I’ve worked on a number of large content sites in the last few years, and I’ve tackled them with talented Front End Developers who helped me refine my approach to design systems. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
Start with pages
I know, I know – the whole point is to develop components, patterns, and guidelines rather than a set of perfectly polished page designs. But after you’ve established things like mood, aesthetic, and tone, it’s helpful to knock out a few layouts instead of designing components in isolation. I never feel confident about my design decisions until I’ve tested them across a range of use cases. Instead of jumping right in to parts, I suggest fleshing out a few of the most functional pages on the site.
As part of my annual performance review last summer, I set one goal that wasn’t directly related to my UX practice: to build confidence at work. This goal flew under the radar — I don’t think we even discussed it in my actual review — but I knew it would be the most important thing I worked on this year.
Like many people, I was suffering from a serious case of imposter syndrome, and I was suffering in silence. I didn’t want to talk about it with anyone because I thought talking about it would make people realize I actually was a huge fraud who was terrible at her job, or they’d think I was latching on to the latest trendy topic as some sort of excuse.
What is decision-making? In its simplest form, decision-making is the act of choosing between multiple courses of action. When confronted with a decision, you can take one of two cognitive approaches – analytical or intuitive.
In Thinking Fast, and Slow, Nobel prize winner cognitive psychologist Daniel Kahneman describes analytical thinking as “slow, deliberate, and consciously effortful mode of reasoning.” By contrast, intuitive thinking is our “fast, automatic, and largely unconscious mode.” In other words: think, or blink.
When we talk about development process, we tend to focus on process artifacts and rituals like tickets and sprint planning meetings. But how does a ticket become actionable in the first place? How do you leave a sprint planning session with enough knowledge to start development? That piece can be less clear.
The secret? Definition.
In this post, I’ll walk through an example from a recent project that illustrates the unheralded but hugely important definition process.