A question and answer session with Jina Anne and Dan Mall.
In my experience, starting a design system is about focusing on process, adoption, and scale. Do you have any insight into how priorities shift once a system has stabilized and matured a bit?
for sure. this definitely happened for us at salesforce based on the adoption. we were targeting designers and third party engineers first, with the goal to target our own production engineers later (since they all said they weren’t ready for it and it’d be 2 years or so before they even adopt a button). but once we got the design system going and people saw it, our product engineers started using our stuff anyway — and not in a way we wanted them to (they were copy/pasting code). so we shifted our priorities to focus on supporting and enabling them to adopt it in a maintainable, scalable way.
also, i think the priorities should always be revisited. Nathan Curtis wrote about a worksheet he uses to help with this. i actually ran it with my team at salesforce even though we were already a year and half into things, and it helped us either modify or validate our priorities. there are other methods to do this too. but the point being it’s always good to revisit.
Read this next
A recap of the 2019 quintessential conference about design systems.