What are the top 3 organizational impacts of a design system?

Date published
March 2, 2020

Does it seem like everyone is talking about design systems? Well, it’s with good reason. These collections of reusable components are making a massive impact on the organizations leveraging them. While the big players like Airbnb, Uber, and IBM are well known for their innovative design systems, this tool is changing the way even mid-sized organizations deliver digital products.

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It’s been exciting to watch businesses across every industry embrace this powerful tool and reap the rewards. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in some design system projects here at Rangle and would like to share the business impact that I’ve observed.

Here are my top 3 insights on the organizational impact design systems are making:

Close the collaboration gap between teams

In my observation, many organizations see websites as a collection of pages. Designers typically solve design problems, creating designs for each page - then they hand the designs over to developers to divide the work up into tickets to complete.

Waterfall comes with heaps of design and technical debt. There really is a better way.

While popular, this page-based approach causes challenges. Such as:

  • Developers are blocked by designers
  • Maintenance is too difficult
  • Site design becomes inconsistent
  • Time is wasted re-solving the same problems

In Rangle’s work with a major American airline, we saw first-hand how a component library reduced teams from being blocked and increased speed to market. Since items like brand colours, buttons, and content were pre-determined in easy building blocks, the team was able to focus on improving other elements of the website, like page load times.

As a result, the airline was able to improve page load times by 90%. By allowing customers to move faster through mobile booking, check-in, home page, flight tracker and more, there was a notable increase in conversions and overall customer delight.

Enable omni-channel brand management and consistency

There is a cognitive dissonance that happens when the experience offered by a store online differs from the experience offered in-store. These days, the lines between digital and brick-and-mortar are blurring and customers crave brand consistency between experiences.

Problems caused by inconsistent experiences include:

  • Re-work, design and technical debt required to deliver multiple experiences from scratch
  • Confused or frustrated customers who expect more intuitive/consistent user experiences
  • Smaller cart sizes and fewer opportunities to upsell built into digital products

Recently, Rangle partnered with leading office supply chain Staples to rebrand and re-focus, Staples needed to update in-store processes for print services to better align with digital experiences on their website.

Rather than separately building different solutions for every ecommerce site, digital kiosk, and branding exercise, a design system provided the organization with a toolkit that can be repeated and leveraged across channels both in store and online.

As a result, Staples reduced time-to-launch new products from 6+ months to less than 2 months, the online bounce rate improved thanks to with 6x faster load times on the Solution Builder app. Not to mention, in-store browsing time is nearly double the previous rates.

Save time and deliver faster by no longer building from scratch

Design systems can be shared across multiple teams, so efficiencies are extended between team members and products. When one team has spent time and effort to solve a design problem, then why shouldn’t another team in your company also benefit from this work?

Problems solved by constantly rebuilding from scratch:

  • Inconsistent user experiences due to different teams rebuilding the same solutions
  • Time lost and ROI impacted by re-doing tasks
  • No time to test and improve on existing digital products because resources are going towards building from the ground up

I was thrilled when Rangle partnered with a major global retailer to build a design system that functions across 18 countries. In the past, the organization was building every regional site from scratch. Thanks to the design system, multiple teams, locales, or even separate brands can now make use of each other's innovations and avoid reinventing the wheel.

The result? Rangle delivered 173 custom components, recipes, templates and variations, covering nearly 100% of the use cases across platforms. New features were built 80% faster compared to the creation of new components from scratch, saving both time and money.

Rangle can help you leverage a design system to make a measurable impact on your organization.

Partnering with Rangle, a design system can be implemented in three to six months in organizations of any size, and scaled organically after that. By working alongside your team in an Agile fashion, we train up your developers and designers on how to rapidly deliver long after our engagement is complete.

I’d love to discuss more about how Rangle has built design systems that have impacted major retailers, healthcare providers, and financial services clients. Reach out to me on Linkedin or email me at jonathan.hydebarnes@rangle.io to talk about how you can close the collaboration gap, improve brand consistency, and deliver faster.

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