Enterprise UI Design System
What It Is and Why Your Business Needs One
June 22, 2021
As more B2B businesses are faced with providing robust digital experiences, the need to have a cohesive user experience and fast deployment is more important than ever. An enterprise UI design system accomplishes this. It puts a business in a strong position to easily keep up with unexpected growth, societal changes, and evolving customer demands. A study done by the Harvard Business Review revealed that businesses that leverage a design system can outperform their competition by as much as 228%. They also see 1.5x greater market share. Once established, the consistent user experience and ease of scalability, streamlined workflow across multiple departments, and financial ROI make these systems the key to beating out the competition.
More than Just an Aid in Visual Design
So, what exactly is an enterprise design system? From a development and design perspective, it is a processing modeling tool that consists of three things:
- Design Elements
- Digital Assets
- Code Snippets
Designers and developers can take these elements and easily implement them to create a cohesive and consistent user experience across all of a company’s applications. It is the single source of truth used to answer questions about all things style and branding related. Having all of the design elements and code built into the framework enables companies to rapidly scale and implement changes quickly.
More importantly, it is a living ecosystem composed of tangible and intangible components that make up a company as a whole. It is constantly evolving as a company grows and expands to meet the needs of both internal and external stakeholders.
The tangible items include the code, design elements, typography, colors, tables, etc., but it’s the intangible components that form a brand identity and recognition in the minds of the user.
These intangible elements harness a company’s culture, style, emotional appeal, brand identity, and empower positive change by providing a clear and concise direction within the organization.
Customer Experience Demands an Enterprise UI Design System
The B2B marketplace is still in its infancy when it comes to providing an intuitive e-commerce platform with a B2C-like shopping experience. The modern customer is raising the expectation and taking strong notice of those B2B companies that offer an Amazon-esque buying-journey.
A visual design system with a company-branded application wireframe can transform a company into a place people intuitively go to for their business needs; not just because they have to, but because they want to.
Benefits of Implementing an Enterprise UI Design System
Enterprise design systems leverage a business’s established identity to create a fully-branded, cohesive enterprise user experience across all of their applications. This provides a single source of truth for design and usability principles that eliminates inconsistent branding, drastically decreases design debt, and positions companies to bring products to market 2-3x faster.
The application blueprint provides the exact code snippets developers need to quickly implement the new UI design across all enterprise-wide applications. Leveraging this framework a faster and more cost-efficient output by:
- Cutting development time down from months to weeks
- Eliminating the need for unnecessary custom coding and code bloat
- Streamlining back end development
- Bridging the language gap between designers and developers
- Optimize scalability for fast future enhancements
When needing to sell a design system to a global company’s c-suite, Anja Klüver of Prospect, was able to show projects would go to market 30% faster and 30% cheaper. She also noted these additional cost-savings measures:
- 30% cash savings
- 10-30% increase in conversions
- 10-30% increase in customer loyalty
- 50% reduction in future managed costs.
Many B2B companies are realizing their legacy technology is too rigid to allow for quick and easy enhancements to keep up with business growth and customer expectations. With a design system, all of that code bloat is eliminated and designers and developers can quickly implement a scalable solution with a cohesive user experience.
For those that have already implemented agile methodologies, an enterprise design system provides the flexibility and adaptability required to work within that framework. It allows companies to take the components built in the design system, quickly prototype multiple solutions, and test them out to see what works best.
Not to mention, it brings your team together to create a more cohesive internal effort to push out a stronger, more superior external experience that will gain fast recognition and adoption in the B2B marketplace.
Enterprise UI Design Systems Don’t Inhibit Creativity; They Unleash It
Designers are often hesitant to embrace an enterprise design system because they feel it will impede upon their creativity. This could not be further from the truth.
Instead, it lays the guiding principles for your designers so they can focus their creative energy on more high-value projects. Through the use of a design system, design debt is eliminated with a 50% time savings in common patterns and journeys.
Figma found that once their designers utilized their design system, they were 34% more productive. The time savings equated to adding 3.5 part-time designers to the team each week.
Design systems bridge the gap between developers and designers. It eliminates wasted time on unnecessary custom coding and code bloat to meet the design specifications or trying to figure out how to design something within the confinements of code.
It creates a collaborative environment between these two departments and helps them speak the same language for a faster, more efficient output.
Once Cisco established their enterprise design system, Momentum, they estimated a time/cost savings for design and development in the hundreds of thousands of hours range.
The streamlined workflow and increased understanding between designers and developers allowed them to bring updates and new solutions to market at record speed with a cohesive user experience across all of their products.
Implementing an enterprise design system internally, like CUE Canvas, is no easy feat. Your investment dollars and time will go much further by hiring an outside consultative company, like Excellis Interactive. We specialize in putting this user experience design system in place quickly and with minimal effort from you so you can stay focused on your growing business. Contact us today to get started.