Jina Anne

Jina Anne

Design Systems Advocate at Sushi & Robots, LLC

Design advisor. Design systems consultant. Founder of ClarityConf.com. Sass core team designer. Previously design systems at Amazon/Salesforce/Apple.

6 action items

Measure the impact of a design system

    • Track your communication.

      The impact of a design system reveals itself through communication. Do you have a regularly-scheduled design systems advisory board or office hour? Who comes to those? What questions are they asking? If you have a support intake system, what questions come up the most? Focus your time on the common problem areas that surface.... See more

    • Start with your design principles and goals.

      Your principles and goals, derived from user research, should drive your metrics. Otherwise, you’re collecting information that can be arbitrary. If consistency is one of your principles, measure how many components you’ve merged. If you have efficiency as a principle, you can measure how fast it takes to roll out a feature. Note: it’s difficult to track time saved because most people will fill that time with more tasks.... See more

Convince leadership to invest in a design system

    • Have a plan

      You may start with research on how effective design systems have been in the industry. But it is more important to research how it will impact your product. Show visuals. You can conduct both a visual and a user interface inventory. Use tools like CSS Stats to reveal where you can merge color, typography, and more. If you have 30 different button styles, show that, too. Be realistic with your plan. Don’t try to address everything in one go. Present what your focus areas will be, when you plan to complete them, and who needs to adopt them. You’ll want to acknowledge the engineering impact.... See more

    • Have a unified vision

      Talk to everyone who will be using, building, or benefitting from the design system. Get insights from designers, developers, product managers, leadership, etc. If you have third-party customers or partners using the system, talk to them, too. Ask about pain points. What are they always trying to find (in the context of design and frontend resources)? Find out how people will measure the success of the system. From there, you can derive your design goals and principles. Use your design principles as an actionable tool. Have a reason for each that focuses on your customer experience. Agree on a stack ranking of these principles. Then, use that stack-ranking to drive your design decisions with confidence.... See more

    • Show, don’t tell

      It may seem obvious, but people have to see your work. Show progress early and often. Broadcast your changes and additions. Get a prototype up fast. This way, people can see the value right away.

    • Demonstrate early results

      Start with a small pilot that shows a significant impact. If you have many products, show that you can update a global element (like a header) on all the products. Show that it was fast and required low engineering effort. When executives see change happen fast and error-free, they’ll buy in.... See more