Sparkbox was founded in 2009 with a mission to build a better web. As President, Ben has helped lead and grow the organization while they work alongside clients like Gap, The Oklahoma City Thunder, and Stanford University. He’s focused his energy most recently on developing a maturity model for design systems, articulating the anatomy of design systems, and chronicling his findings about workplace culture in the tech space. When not knee-deep in these explorations with others, Ben is a father, partner, poet, and home barista. His personal motto is, “Stay in learning mode” and this helps him to remember that every interaction is an opportunity to grow.
Hard truth: there is still so much confusion about what a design system actually is and why it is important.
It's not enough to design and develop a fantastic design system. If you want to mature a sustainable design system inside your organization, you'll also have to do the work to create a shared understanding of what a system is and why it is important. This presentation is the result of years of research, hundreds of interviews, and dozens of consulting engagements that lead me to the disappointing fact that most people inside your organization probably have wildly different ideas about design system. In an effort to give my team and others in the industry a common language to use around the pieces and parts of a design system, I'm offering a framework called "The Anatomy of a Design System."
We'll start with the context in which a design system must live, cover four primary layers of design systems, and define three main parts of each layer. This presentation covers these ideas in a practical way and offers the framework as a roadmap for future systematic work.
If you find that there is confusion about design systems inside your team or organization, if you're struggling to get people to use your system, or if you know a systematic approach will help your team but you don't know where to start, this presentation is for you. Join me to cover a way of thinking about design systems that will put everyone on the same page and, more importantly, the same team.
For the last five to ten years, systematic design and development practices have been growing and growing. It’s no wonder that, once we put a name on this snowball (hello, “design systems”), it only picked up speed. If you manage more than one site, if you support more than one brand, if you want to be more efficient or more consistent or more unified in your digital interface building approach—this is the workshop for you.
We’ll start with a breakdown of design system concepts, reframing how to think about them in a practical and approachable way (The Anatomy of a Design System).
Where design systems live in an organization
The four layers of a design system (concepts)
The three parts of each layer (tangibles)
Then we’ll dig into the four major concepts covered by the Design System Maturity Model developed from years of work, interviews, and industry-wide surveys.
The stages of design system maturity
How a design system’s origin story impacts its path through maturity
A framework for maturing in a healthy way
A framework for maintaining stability
Finally, we’ll discuss how the culture of your organization will impact the way you approach creating a sustainable systematic design practice.
What is organizational culture?
How to establish culture
How subcultures are impacted by overall org culture
How all of this connects to your systematic design practice
Additionally, we’ll cover the delicate balance between flexibility and consistency. We’ll discuss an additive approach to maturing that will allow you to move from one stage to the next and keep your team and system in good health. And we’ll discuss strategies for you to assess your current stage and discover opportunities to fill in the gaps you might have missed along the way.
Join this workshop for a discussion that will reframe the way you think about the people and the processes your design system was built to support.
A holistic understanding of the anatomy of design systems
An overview of the various ways a system can mature
An understanding of the impact org culture has on a systems subculture