What Is a Design System and When to Create One

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Throughout my continuing journey as a designer I have started to notice several companies are creating what they call design systems. Some people also like to refer to them as design languages, visual languages, or human interface guidelines. Google has Material Design, Apple has created their Human Interface Guidelines, last year Salesforce put together their Lightning Design System, and Airbnb has recently put together a visual design language for their design team. I became curious as what a design system is and why these companies have started to create and document them. Below I’ve broken down my research into a few sections: what is a design system, what are the benefits, and when it is and isn’t beneficial to create one.

Prototyping with Principle: A Quick Review

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Principle Icon

I’ve partnered with my client, Texture, for more than two years, and I am still continually learning in all aspects of design. I’ve been lucky enough to pick up two software programs in the last year; Sketch and Principle. I’d like to give a quick review of Principle and share my pros and cons as a new user

The Internet of Things: Future Trends and UX Considerations

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What does the IoT look like in 5, 10, or 25 years?
We’re living in a very exciting time for developments in technology, and there are always new stories of huge funding rounds going to companies bringing us closer to the future we’ve all imagined. Looking at the graphic below we can begin to make some sense of the different forces driving these technologies. Why do certain startups land billion dollar rounds while others slowly emerge out of academic labs? Why do some emerging technologies mature rapidly, while other languish? What differentiates a breakout crowdfunding campaign from a VC darling?

Apple Watch Connectivity

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On September 9th, 2014, Tim Cook announced the Apple Watch. This wearable smartwatch quickly gained the loyalty of millions. The wearable was developed in part to incorporate fitness tracking and allow for health tracking, but more-so to free users from their phones. It includes a digital crown used to scroll and zoom, and a touchscreen with Force Touch technology. An extra button under the digital crown serves favorite contacts and access to Apple Pay.

The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide

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I’ve recently made it one of my goals to learn more about UX and design.  To that end, I read a book that was highly recommended by our Grio designers, The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide, by Lean Buley. The book is written for people who are or want to be UX professionals, with a focus on those who either the only person in their company working on UX or who are in some way UX evangelists in their organizations.  Although the intended audience of the book is UX professionals, there were also number of tips and ideas that a company like Grio can find useful.  On many projects, especially when budgets and time are tight, Grio takes on the role of UX evangelist for our clients.

Expanding our Design Toolbox with Lean UX

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Recently Grio’s design team has adopted Lean UX that enabled us to expand our design toolbox in the following ways:

  • Conduct in-depth Discovery and Research to define the products
  • Inject a user-centric design focus
  • Incorporate “deep collaboration” internally, as well as with our clients

Building Better Products with UserTesting

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Grio Design is showing some blog love this week! We’ve been busy making clients happy by solving wicked design problems and producing beautiful interfaces, but I wanted to take some time to talk about user experience design (UX), usability, and how UserTesting can help everyone reap the benefits of usability testing.

Creating Custom stencils for Omnigraffle ( the right way )

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Recently I have been using Omnigraffle for creating wireframes. I like using Omnigraffle because it offers a lot of flexibility in terms of styling the wireframes, while being quite simple to use.

Another great thing about Omnigraffle is the Graffletopia stencil library. This extensive resource includes many commonly used design elements and icons – you can download it from http://www.graffletopia.com.