As designers, we are always creating design systems. But what we aren’t always doing is thinking about systems in such a way. Frameworks like atomic design allow us to focus our thinking and be explicit in what we create. It ensures our designs are consistent, relevant and manageable.
Atomic design enables designers to think critically about components – both separately and as a whole. Following this approach, we (designers) can create simple, standalone and reusable components. These make our lives and the lives of developers working on the project so much easier.
Moreover, Atomic design gives us the ability to traverse from abstract to concrete. Because of this, we can create systems that promote consistency and scalability while simultaneously showing things in their final context. And by assembling rather than deconstructing, we’re crafting a system right out of the gate instead of cherry picking patterns after the fact.
Here are some of the major benefits of adopting such an approach:
Design systems lead to cohesive, consistent experiences. This means that the users master your UI faster, leading to more conversions and more revenue based on the metrics that your stakeholders care about.
Centralizing UI components in a pattern library establishes a shared vocabulary for everyone in the organization, and creates a more collaborative workflow across all disciplines. With everyone speaking the same language, more time is spent getting work done and less time is spent dealing with superfluous back-and-forth communications and meetings.
Design systems make cross-browser/device, performance, and accessibility testing easier; vastly speeding up production time and allowing teams to launch higher-quality work faster. In addition, baking things like accessibility into a living design system scales those best practices, allowing your interfaces to reach more users while reducing the risk of you getting sued!
Future Proof Products
Once a design system (with accompanying pattern library) is established, it serves as a future-friendly foundation for the organization to modify, tweak, extend, and improve on over time. Doing some A/B testing? Roll the lessons from those tests into the living design system. Made some big performance optimizations? Roll them into the living design system! The living part of living design systems means they can always adapt to meet the future needs of the organization, saving time and money all the while.
So it’s important to bear in mind that even though at the start, the atomic design approach will require plenty of extra effort to implement, yet it will all pay off in the long run! You don’t just create a bunch of buttons and pages. You create a system. It will therefore allow you to have a system that is fully documented and can be scaled for dozens of your client’s projects (think of all the time & money you’d save on). So now that you know the benefits of integrating an atomic design system into the workflow processes, what are you waiting for?