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  • Writer's pictureBoaz Rossano

UX Tip#10: Design Systems and Designers: What's really needed at the age of Ai and ChatGPT?



I've been testing chatGPT for over 6 months now, as part of my interest in the field (as I'm working over the past 2 years, as a part-time product and UX designer at Tensorleap.ai, a startup developing an innovative explainability and debugging platform, and was exposed to Ai capabilities earlier than most of you.

At first we thought that Ai will replace the manual/blue collar jobs, like taxi drivers etc. Now we understand that it's not the case. It could actually be the opposite. Ai will replace white collar jobs — Over the past few months, Chat GPT passed the lawyers' bar exam, and medical doctors' exams...


How this relates to design and designers?

One of our challenges was integrating a design system for Tensorleap (a sample of our design system is available in my portfolio. Zoom in to see the details...) — It is a growing trend in local Israeli startup companies to integrate a design system very early on in their product design life.


There are many reasons why to use a design system, and many not.


Therefor, I asked ChatGPT what are the 10 best reasons to use a design system:

  1. Consistency: A design system in Figma ensures consistency across all design elements and components, making the design process more efficient and reducing the chances of errors or inconsistencies.

  2. Time-saving: A design system allows designers to reuse components, styles, and other design elements, saving time and effort and improving workflow efficiency.

  3. Collaboration: Design systems enable collaboration between team members, as everyone can work from the same design assets and components, reducing the chances of errors and miscommunications.

  4. Brand identity: A design system can help maintain brand consistency across different design projects, making it easier to create and maintain a strong brand identity.

  5. Accessibility: Design systems can be designed to adhere to accessibility standards, ensuring that designs are accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities.

  6. Scalability: A design system can be designed to be scalable, allowing designers to add or remove elements as needed and easily adapt to changing design requirements.

  7. Efficiency: With a design system, designers can quickly and easily create new designs and iterate on existing ones, streamlining the design process and improving overall efficiency.

  8. Improved design quality: A design system can help improve the overall quality of designs, as designers can ensure consistency and adhere to best practices and standards.

  9. User experience: A design system can help improve the user experience, as designers can focus on creating intuitive and consistent design elements that users will find easy to navigate and understand.

  10. Flexibility: A design system can be customized to meet the specific needs of a project, team, or organization, providing flexibility and adaptability to changing requirements.

Quite impressive. Everything is true... After reading that you would surely go and start picking up fonts and color palettes for your startup's new design system...


Then, I thought, why not ask the opposite: "Can you give me 10 reasons why not?"

Here's what chatGPT answered:

  1. Time-consuming: Setting up and maintaining a design system can be time-consuming, especially for smaller projects or teams.

  2. Over-engineering: Design systems can sometimes become over-engineered, with too much emphasis placed on consistency at the expense of creativity and innovation.

  3. Limited flexibility: A design system can sometimes be too rigid, limiting designers' ability to create unique designs that deviate from the established design standards.

  4. Learning curve: Design systems can have a steep learning curve, especially for designers who are new to the platform or the concept of design systems.

  5. Resource-intensive: Design systems can require significant resources, including time, money, and manpower, making them impractical for smaller projects or teams.

  6. Not applicable to all design projects: Design systems may not be necessary or applicable to all design projects, especially those that are one-off or don't require a high degree of consistency.

  7. Potential for design stagnation: A design system can sometimes lead to design stagnation, with designers relying too heavily on established design patterns and elements rather than exploring new design ideas.

  8. Maintenance and updates: Design systems require ongoing maintenance and updates to remain relevant and effective, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

  9. Inadequate documentation: Poorly documented design systems can be difficult to maintain and use, potentially leading to errors, inconsistencies, and confusion.

  10. Not suitable for all design teams: Not all design teams may benefit from a design system, as some may have different workflows, priorities, or design philosophies that are not compatible with a standardized design system approach.

Again, all true.

So, how do you decide? And who should decide?


Do we really need designers at the age of Ai?

At the age of Ai, we still need professionals to make sense and especially make decisions, in complex, dynamic, (and sometimes even taste-based) 'soft' fields, where the answer isn't always simple (black and white), but rather a mixture that is built on logic combined with intuition and experience...


This is where designers really excel: Noticing the pattern within the noise... Building solutions that suit unique needs, and balance between competing challenges. Creating something new (and not a replica of something an Ai previously saw)...


I know that in first glance, the Ai revolution seem to retire some jobs, but since I'm an optimistic by nature: I am certain that our design profession is only beginning its next exciting evolution.



 

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