Atomic design, pattern libraries, modular design—the process of designing with a system goes by many names, but regardless of what you call it, the advantages of this process are clear. Whether you’re on a large team or a small one, taking on a huge project or a one-page website, working with a design system can help make your project more efficient and infinitely scalable, provided you take the time to set yourself and your team up for success.
Amy Vainieri and Courtney Clark explain how Forum One used a robust design system when recently tackling an enormous user experience and design challenge: a website for a large, service-based government organization targeted at millennials, with stakeholders in over 60 countries. Amy and Courtney share their strategy from this project and offer takeaways from the experience that have influenced their other ongoing projects.
You’ll learn how a design system works, the benefits of creating one, and options for how to implement a system on projects. You’ll also get some tips and tricks for creating a process and resources that can be easily implemented by developers.
Amy Vainieri is a senior designer at Taoti Creative in Washington, DC. In her 10+-year career in design (both digital and print), Amy has focused on designing for nonprofit, advocacy, and government clients—including the Peace Corps, United Way Worldwide, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, People for the American Way, and Doctors Without Borders. She is an advocate for election design reform; previously, she held a fellowship in the Oregon Elections Division, where she redesigned election materials for an improved user experience. Amy grew up moving around between the US and Europe. She holds a master’s degree in graphic design from SCAD-Atlanta and a bachelor’s degree from Emory University.
Courtney Clark is Forum One’s director of user experience. Courtney has more than 10 years of experience helping foundations, government agencies, and nonprofits optimize their online offerings. She works with clients like the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the MacArthur Foundation, the California Department of Health Care Services, and Consumers Union to develop tailored solutions that balance each organization’s mission with the needs of its audiences. Courtney specializes in leading user research activities like surveys, interviews, card sorts, heuristic evaluations, and usability research to understand user needs. Previously, Courtney was an interaction designer for the University of Kansas, where she took part in an extensive rebranding exercise and contributed to two major web redesigns. She holds a BFA with a focus in visual communications from the University of Kansas.
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