The main problem is that often, brands see every point of contact (website, terminal, digital apps and so on) as a different project. And each one of them has its own code that handles the visual experience separately. This is rather costly as design changes need to be maintained in every single project.
Thus, it can happen easily that the experience between digital channels becomes inconsistent, because of silo mentality or simply because of negligence. This often leads to an iterative cycle where some entity within the company eventually sees the need of defining “a new corporate online identity”.
This doesn’t tackle the core of the problem. Designers and developers want a single source of truth they can refer to and don’t need to maintain themselves! Having only one source of truth is cost effective as there is less code. Changes are done only once and are distributed centrally to all teams.
There are some things to consider though:
A tool such as Storybook: UI Component Explorer for Front-end Developers helps in achieving all of these goals. Storybook is an open source tool for developing UI components in isolation for React, Vue and Angular. It makes building stunning user interfaces organized and efficient.
A digital governance team should centrally create all elements used on the digital channels, from the smallest and simplest link to the more concrete and defined main menu.
You can create variants of certain elements, sometimes to define context (e.g. is a link external or internal?), sometimes to be used in a different element (e.g. a link in the standard text, versus a link in the main menu).
Designing elements from their core up to templates and pages (and not the other way around) requires a more abstract way to design, but it achieves a number of benefits:
A number of organizations have adopted to this style of working. The design system of Gov.uk is a nice example. It’s even been used as a base for other governments like Australia‘s and New Zealand‘s (among others). In the private sector we also find examples of different companies who’ve even open-sourced their design systems: Audi, Mailchimp, IBM and AXA, only to name a few.
You as a marketer, creative or designer want to be sure that every user interaction with your brand, product, website or mobile app provides a consistent and recognizable experience. To do so, there is some work to be done before jumping to the “real” job of designing and styling. But once you do it right, you achieve innumerous benefits. Epecially when doing it right from the start. Read on to learn about the crucial checkpoints you need to adhere to, for your investment to substantially make sense.