Ken
Skistimas
Design Manager,
Facebook, United States
Ken has had a part in creating large scale design systems at Salesforce, General Electric, and Facebook. He’s currently a Design Manager at Facebook where he leads the Business Design System team responsible for maintaining a consistent and modern design language for all ads and business products.

With a background in graphic design and a highly collaborative nature, he’s a big proponent of getting ideas down quickly by sketching, sharing early with product and development teams, and using data to iterate quickly to deliver exceptional user experiences.

6 hrs Workshop (Full Day hands on)

Targeted to ELITE – Expert
Track 3: Design Systems, Research, Methods, and Processes

Design System Foundations

A design system is never done. As someone interested in creating a design system, or someone looking to evolve and improve their current system, this workshop will offer value by identifying actionable items to take back to your org and apply immediately. We’ll cover the foundational items required to build a successful design system, discuss how to get a system together, building a component library, facilitating adoption and how to scale across an organization.

Track 3: Design Systems, Research, Methods, and Processes

Three key takeaways

● An action plan for creating or evolving a design system at your organization.
● Strategies for facilitating collaboration and creating buy-in for a system.
● Methods for scaling across an org

 

Rough outline of the workshop

Note: This outline is in its early stages and will evolve. The workshop will be very interactive and collaborative with group activities and discussions. The goal is to have participants leave with tangible actions to take back to their organization. Additionally, another goal is to have participants build a sense of community while solving common issues together.

Hour 1 : Design system basics
● Introductions
● Ice breaker discussion: Who has a system? What’s working, what isn’t? What can we solve while we’re together?
● The foundational elements of a design system: design, code, documentation, collaboration.

Hour 2 : Getting a system off the ground
● Discussion: what can a design system solve in your organization?
● Activity: Writing a design system team mission.
● Determining high impact focus areas for the system.
● Organizational strategies, team structures.
● Discussion

Hour 3 : Component libraries
● System thinking : What goes in a design system, what doesn’t.
● Technical considerations
● Delivery mechanisms & tooling
● Activity: Identify core elements, determine the most effective way to deliver
● Discussion

Hour 4 : Building momentum in an organization
● Identify challenges and opportunities for a design system in your organization.
● Discussion: What resonates in your organization?
● Activity: Match challenges and organizational interests with collaboration methods.
● Discussion

Hour 5 : Strategies for scaling
● How to document a system
● Communication methods
● Building and managing a network of advocates in your org
● Activity & Discussion

Hour 6 : Wrap up
● Review action plans

30 min Keynote

Targeted to ELITE – Expert

Track 3: Design Systems, Research, Methods, and Processes

The components of a successful design system : Architecting a system to facilitate culture change in an organization

Over the last few years, design systems have become a solution to drive coherence and consistency across products, but so many systems experience a failure to deliver on the promise. Beyond reusable components and styling, a truly impactful design system can become a catalyst to influence the design culture at a company, but there’s not a one size fits all solution. It needs to be tailored to fit your company.

I’ll explain the foundational elements for a successful design system, and strategies to facilitate adoption based on my experiences working on large scale systems at Salesforce, General Electric and Facebook. The common thread has been collaboration, transparency and iteration. With all the elements in place, a design system is much more than a pattern library. It has the potential to be a catalyst for significant change to how you build products at your company, ultimately delivering higher value to your customers in a more efficient way.

Track 3: Design Systems, Research, Methods, and Processes

Three key takeaways

1) A clear understanding of what a design system is, why you need one, and the foundational elements required to make one successful.
2) How to define a tailored strategy for adoption of a design system by reading signals inside your company.
3) An impactful design system influences the design culture in an organization. Utilizing techniques and best practices to facilitate for collaboration, community, and transparency are critical elements to make this happen.

Over the last few years, design systems have become a solution to drive coherence and consistency across products, but so many systems experience a failure to deliver on the promise. Beyond reusable components and styling, a truly impactful design system can become a catalyst to influence the design culture at a company, but there’s not a one size fits all solution. It needs to be tailored to fit your company.

I’ll explain the foundational elements for a successful design system, and strategies to facilitate adoption based on my experiences working on large scale systems at Salesforce, General Electric and Facebook. The common thread has been collaboration, transparency and iteration. With all the elements in place, a design system is much more than a pattern library. It has the potential to be a catalyst for significant change to how you build products at your company, ultimately delivering higher value to your customers in a more efficient way.

 

Rough Outline

[5 Minutes]
My history and background in the industry. High level overview of the three design systems I’ve been a part of and how they’ve impacted the design culture.

[10 minutes]
What is a design system?

A design system is not a Sketch file. There are 4 main pillars to a successful design system.

Design : A library of reusable components and templates.

Code & Tooling: Corresponding reusable developer components and the appropriate tooling to encourage adoption.

Documentation: A single source of truth to connect designers and developers goes a long way.

Community: Like any product you need to listen to your customers. A design system isn’t going anywhere without a community around it and needs to start on day one.

[5 minutes]
Finding the levers for adoption

Look at how your company operates and identify potential opportunities for system adoption. Rather than begging for adoption or forcing the system on teams, it’s more efficient to focus and identify products or areas where you can have broad impact. Work with PM, find teams that have aligned goals.

Prioritizing key surfaces for adoption and teaming up with product teams goes a long way. Pairing with product teams builds trust in the system and ensures you’re building the right thing for your customers. Example from Salesforce Lightning.

Alternatively, in a dev-centric culture you may have optimize for developer efficiency. Example from GE.

In some cases, you have to do both. Example from Facebook.

One thing is a constant: it’s critical to be open and transparent about everything when running a system and invite feedback. If the system isn’t changing and evolving, no one is using it.

[5 minutes]
Facilitating collaboration and transparency

Transparency around communication and work benefits any type of company. Since they work across multiple teams, design system teams are in a place to facilitate openness and cross-functional collaboration in an organization. They can define the best practices for how teams should work together.

Operationalizing this: Create a design sharing site, office hours, design sprints, cross team workshops, open documentation. There are no secrets in a system team.

[5 minutes]
Outcomes of a successful system

Designers are inspired and enthused and embrace the system because they know they can influence it. (GE)
It affects the way products are built. (example from Salesforce)
A community of designers, developers and product owners rally around it.
People start focusing more on higher level problems.

Wrap up: There is no one size fits all solution for a design system. It’s just like any other product, do your research, determine how you can demonstrate value and build a strategy to do so. With the proper foundation and strategy, a system can influence the culture at your company.

Share This