Systems, Robots and Heart

Concepts for future design systems

Design systems are interactive collections of content and rules that enable a uniform design language. This creates high-quality products and services that are uniformly structured regardless of touchpoint and user group. In this way, a high-quality user experience can be ensured. Since design systems are still at the beginning of their development and opportunities as well as risks can be anticipated with regard to new technologies, the area of tension between design systems and technologies of the future was examined. In the course of this, different technological trends were examined for their strengths and weaknesses in order to derive new use cases with regard to design systems. Additionally, soft factors such as communication, collaboration or work culture were analyzed to find out how design systems can help these topics or if the systems can benefit from the topics. In order to better understand the resulting findings, a basic knowledge of design systems was developed. This should help to prescribe the won realizations correctly. The result is three chapters that deal with the past, the present, and the future of design systems technologically and emotionally. The results show possible visions of future systems.

The first chapter Systems deals with the basics of design systems. The systems are always different depending on the requirements and the company. As a result, the structure and maintenance is also always somewhat different. However, communication and active collaboration are especially necessary. As well as certain topics that are usually present: Purpose/Value, Design Principles/Brand Identity, Components as well as documentation. These building blocks usually form the basis of a system. The different factors complicate testing, a unified process helps. From an economic point of view, design systems are always a valuable investment in the future, if one is aware that they are never really finished and require constant maintenance. At the same time, they don’t limit designers, they encourage them to break new ground, taking their work to a new level.

Excerpt from the Robot chapter

Robots includes concrete investigations of individual technologies and their potential in combination with design systems. The areas of artificial intelligence have proven to be particularly interesting. Design systems can take the next step in development with their help, whether in the form of smart design tokens, layout-sensitive components or predictve assembly. At the same time, AI can also benefit from design systems, especially when considering the need for moral or ethical frameworks of AI systems. Here, systems can act as moral authorities in the future to make AI fairer and thus more effective. This could also improve the learning process of AI. Emotions and morals will play a decisive role in systems of the future and help companies to master digitization and its challenges. Design systems, regardless of the technology, will become more relevant in the areas of knowledge dissemination, documentation, specification, as well as testing and the formation of moral and ethical values, and will significantly advance the scalability of digital experiences.

They will also improve collaboration, communication, and inclusion in companies. This will open up new areas of application for design systems. This is reflected in a better work culture, more intense customer engagement, as well as higher quality products and experiences. Companies will take advantage of the modular and scalable strengths of design systems to make their products usable by even more people. At the same time, the system acts as a central, social hub within the company, enabling a practical, uncomplicated and, above all, social workflow for all employees. A topic that will become even more relevant in times of home offices. Work culture, communication, collaboration, storytelling, workflow: they can all benefit from design systems and they will all make design systems indispensable.

Based on the findings, three visions can be derived. The Robot Design System, the Emotional Design System, and the Human Open Design System. They all cover different findings of this work and provide insight into the development of novel systems. Regardless of what these will look like in concrete terms, design systems will be more than a collection of building blocks in the future; they will help new technologies break through, open up new use cases, and equip companies for a digital and agile future. Design systems enable successful scalability of what a digital world requires. And first and foremost, that is humanity.

  • m.a. in creative direction (HS Pforzheim)
  • Thesis 3. Semester, WiSe 2020/21
  • Master Thesis, lecturer: Prof. Dr. Jan Of / Prof. Thomas Gerlach

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