Encountering a well-designed website is always a pleasure. The balance in design, layout, animations, fonts, and colours creates a harmonious visual experience. However, occasionally, inconsistencies sneak in. This is a common issue in many websites. How can we eliminate these UI inconsistencies without incurring a hefty cost? In this blog, we will explore the benefits of integrating design systems into UI development and how it helps maintain a consistent UI/UX while streamlining the development process.

Streamlining UI Development

Design to UI: Shortfalls of the traditional approach

Understanding the causes of UI inconsistencies is crucial before delving into a solution. Typically, the UX and designs are created first and then handed over to the development team. Some UI/UX designers focus solely on creating designs while leaving the more technical aspects to be understood and executed by developers. When handing off designs to developers, failure to clearly define common design elements can result in redundant styling for similar components. This, in turn, leads to inconsistencies in the user interface, potentially creating a maintenance nightmare. Additionally, poorly documented design standards can lead to chaos within the design team, especially when multiple designers contribute to the same project. Fortunately, more designers are now documenting colour definitions and even sharing them with developers, which aids in consolidating styles.

Streamlining UI Development

Design System: The Solution for UI Consistency

A Design System sets standards and guidelines for visual and interaction elements in a user interface. This encompasses a consistent colour palette, typography definitions, spacing, and size guidelines. It establishes a uniform design language for an organization’s websites, ensuring consistency even with changing designers or an expanded UI design team. With the help of a Design System, experienced UI developers can design simple pages and controls themselves without involving a designer. Thus, a design system helps manage designs at scale. Many larger organizations with multiple websites or applications have already started implementing design systems for their sites.

Theming as a way to implement Design System

The conventional approach consolidates style definitions for common website elements within a site-level stylesheet. However, in today’s scenario, completely custom components are rarely used exclusively. Instead, developers often opt for a component library like Bootstrap or MUI and customize it to align with their design language. This customization is typically achieved through the application of custom CSS classes on top of the component library classes or by directly overriding these library classes. While this approach may suffice in many instances, it often results in style conflicts that can be challenging to debug.

Furthermore, this approach disregards the thoughtful design choices made by the creators of the component libraries, which is not the desired outcome. Many component libraries like Material, MUI, and Kendo have recognized the significance of design systems and have started providing strong support for the same through theming. This ensures a more streamlined and efficient approach to UI development. Let us explore this concept further through a case study.

Case study: Theming Kendo UI for Hospital Management System

We recently undertook the task of developing a complex Hospital Management System using Angular and Kendo UI components. Given the project’s scope and timeline, a design system was imperative. Designers utilized Kendo’s Figma design kits for Material UI as a starting point, customizing colours and visual elements to align with the design language. Developers then utilized the Kendo Theme Builder to apply these customizations to the component library. This effort yielded significant benefits:

  • Established uniform design language among designers.
  • Fostered alignment between designers and developers.
  • Enhanced UI consistency.
  • Elevated overall UI quality.
  • Reduced development time.
  • Enhanced efficiency and effectiveness of quality checks.
Case study: Theming Kendo UI

Incorporating Design Systems into UI development can effectively address the common problem of inconsistent user interfaces, bringing about significant improvements. By addressing the shortcomings of traditional approaches, Design Systems provide a clear and standardized framework for UI elements. This ensures consistency across projects and facilitates scalability and collaborative design efforts. Using theming to implement Design Systems makes it easier to customize component libraries, reducing the reliance on makeshift solutions. Embracing Design Systems elevates the quality of user experiences and streamlines the UI/UX development process, making it more efficient, effective, and adaptable for both designers and developers alike. Explore our UI Services and learn more about how we can assist you in achieving your digital goals.

Bobby Jose
Senior Technical Architect - UI

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