Bunfight at the OK Corral!

There is no other phrase that sends shivers down the spine of anybody involved in a Web based project quite like ‘design by committee’.

I’ve personally been in many a UX/UI/Customer Experience meeting that looked like something from the OK Corral, one line of ‘creatives’ faced off by a line of Board Directors and of course, each person present had their own point of view and of course their’s was clearly more important than the others. The end result was a digital platform that lacked clarity and purpose, was over budget and suffered massively by being an inferior product when compared to the initial scope.

So what’s the alternative?

Before we get onto that, let’s just talk about how this happens.

Every Digital Agency and/or collaborative team has their preferred method of working, this may involve different types of people, structures, methodology, software as well as skill sets. That’s fine, we’re all unique, but this doesn’t help the end client in obtaining and building a consistent brand and vision.

And there’s the two-penneth, everybody has them and they all like to make sure they don’t go to waste.

So we need a mechanism that is there to guide designers, developers, UX Consultants also copywriters and well, basically everyone involved in a digital project to make their life easier.

Clarity in Unity

Any marketing savvy company these days will have two important tools in their box of trickery, namely a Design System and also a Style Guide. These combined will arm any marketing team with clarity, focus, purpose and a single direction in which any digital or offline project should take.

So what are they, how do they help?

Style Guide - A standard style guide should include information about your company’s Tone of Voice, Fonts to use both on and offline, agreed brand colours and use of your company logo. But a great style guide goes much further than that. Ideally, you also need to consider your company brand, it’s personality and how it communicates with customers.

Correct tone of voice is hugely important, you don’t want your digital platforms to be talking in slang when you’re a corporate organisation, but equally, if you’re a streetwear clothing e-commerce company you don’t want to be using a stuffy and old fashioned tone of voice that would totally alienate your potential customers.

Design System - A standard design system provides all of the technical information required for your development team and would include information about your digital products, how they are laid out and how best to implement them, again, this could be extended to make everyone’s life easier by creating a much more comprehensive Design System.

A great Design System will include Code Snippets so that developers can utilise already approved code, CSS so that each and every element across multiple pages and platforms has consistency.  This saves on time and anguish for both the design and development team.

The two documents combined, allow for a unified experience not only for your design and development team, but it also supplies the constraints necessary to prevent those random ideas from ‘that director!’!

So everybody wins, most importantly, your audience base have a consistent experience that will build trust and reputation.

There are rules and RULES!

Surely, setting out all of this information would create a system that’s too prescriptive, not allowing for creativity and would stifle a brand?  Actually, quite the opposite. Having these documents in place will mean that regardless of which company, freelancer or consultant is involved a company requesting a digital project to be delivered they will be able to rest assured they are receiving a platform in line with their guidelines and a website or digital asset that has been developed as efficiently as possible.


Want to know more or not got your ducks in a row? Drop me a line.