Design Systems: Rules vs. Norms

Atomic Design “…introduces a methodology for thinking of our UIs as thoughtful hierarchies…” writes Brad Frost. His system begins with atoms, the smallest documented units — think buttons, typographical styles, and the like. Combining atoms together creates a molecule. Multiple molecules and/or atoms in combination form an organism, and so on up the hierarchy. Any atom will […]

Why Snowflakes Are Counterintuitively Integral to Design Systems

The problem Design systems (e.g. style guides, pattern libraries, etc.) are all the rage. They speed product design through consistency of patterns, components and behaviors which, in turn, drives out random, one-off elements (let’s call them ‘snowflakes’). It’s a noble goal, except that design systems also slow down product teams. The drive for consistency and […]

Book Notes: Dark Matter and Trojan Horses

Notes (quotes, really) from Dan Hill’s Dark Matter and Trojan Horses. A Strategic Design Vocabulary. Some of these are a tad out of context. I’d read the book if I were you. It’s very good, short and has both high level strategy ideas and lower level tactical examples. What gives designers the right to approach such complex areas, usually […]

UX Agencies Sell (and Clients Buy) Informed Decision Making

What is User Experience (UX)? UX is a process, an approach, a way of thinking and an outcome. Outcome, in particular, is the key aspect to UX’s value. Are you solving a real problem? Are you tackling something meaningful to people? Are you bettering the organization, the system, the… whatever? I hope so. Otherwise, you’re […]

Book Notes: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum

Cognitive friction: the resistance encountered by a human intellect when it engages with a complex system of rules that change as the problem changes. “#1 goal of all computer users is to not feel stupid.” Larry Keeley’s three qualities for high tech products: Capability: what can be done? Supplied by technologists. Viability: what can we […]