Here at Mile Marker we strive to stay on top of our game. We want to know the latest trends and learn from the best practices of others be they competitors, fellows in our field, or representatives of entirely different industries. In this spirit we wanted to establish a “book club” among our team, except asking everyone to have an entire book read and prepped for discussion with regularity made the exercise feel more like a chore than anything else. And so the “Not-a-Book Book Club”, or NABBC, was born - where we have the discussions one might have around a longer piece of literature but instead look to short-form articles, podcasts, and other quicker-to-digest mediums for our conversational impetus.
Our next struggle was picking what to read - our team has diverse roles, backgrounds, and interests which in a functional aspect is fantastic, but when trying to pick the same things to read with regularity poses a challenge. It was determined that once per month we will all read the same thing for an in-depth discussion (this March our shared discussion focused on the term “Women in Tech” - we already published our thoughts here), and once per month we will all find something that interests us specifically and report out to the team with our thoughts. Without further ado:
“A Recipe for a Good Design System” published by Smashing Magazine
Treat your design system as its own product
Prepare to constantly iterate
As a team with diverse clients who won’t all share specific aesthetics, our focus should be on creating a modular framework that can be adjusted on a client-by-client basis - but many of the principles identified can be adapted for this approach
“What is Backstage?” from the NerdOut@Spotify Poscast
Backstage is a developer portal platform developed by Spotify to help in quick iteration of their products
Their discussions echoed issues we’ve had before - and shows the value something like this can have when developed early in the process
The choice to develop something like this needs to carefully balance the effort to develop it versus the value it provides
“The Science of Productive Conflict” from the WorkLife with Adam Grant Podcast
People tend to argue about conclusions we have reached about the other side. It is important that we drill down and discuss observations and assumptions.
There are three types of conflict - task conflict focuses on disagreement about a problem, solution, or decision and is necessary and product. Relationship conflict (clashing personalities) and status conflict (lack of clarity on position in an informal hierarchy) are counterproductive and should be redirected to the underlying task conflict.
Don’t jump to a solution before defining the problem! If people don’t like a solution, they often deny or dismiss the problem altogether. Use 1-2 sentences to write out a problem statement and let others comment on it to help you drill down to the actual problem.
C# and .NET is not that far off for developers to learn and provides platform security and stability, operational manageability and scalability
“Best Practices to Scale Design with Design Systems” from the Adobe Blog
The article focused on the principles, foundations, components, guidelines, and resources that should be in place for a scalable design system.
There is strong value to putting a framework in place to help with making design decisions to increase consistency and improve the final user experience
Because we work with various often smaller clients some of the presented advice regarding having a dedicated design team doesn’t port well to our needs, but there are many elements we can adopt to provide additional value to our clients.