Advocacy

  • Pair sessions: Nothing beats pulling up a chair and working together on a project. While more time-intensive than other training vehicles, it’s the best way to get makers and users collaborating together, learning how the system works, and exposing new opportunities and shortcomings.
  • Workshops: From immersive full-day sessions to quick walk-throughs, it’s incredibly helpful to set up face-to-face training workshops involving both makers and users. These sessions can help smooth out any misconceptions about the system, help level-up users with hands-on guidance, and create a healthy relationship between the people in charge of maintaining the system and the people in charge of working with it.
  • Webinars: If workshops or pair sessions aren’t possible, or you need to train a lot of users at scale, webinars can be fantastic. Users can tune into online sessions to learn about how to properly use the system. When conducting webinars, be sure to build in plenty of Q&A time to field both audio and typed questions, concerns, and comments.
  • Tutorials: A series of blog posts and screencasts can neatly encapsulate core concepts of working with the design system. Not only do these help serve as a training tool, but they can serve as a great reference to keep coming back to.
  • Onboarding: A great way of injecting your design system into your company culture is to bake design system training right into the onboarding process for new employees. New colleagues will understand the importance of modularity, reuse, and all the other benefits a design system brings.
  • Suggestions and pull requests: Encourage anyone using the design system to suggest changes and new features. Better yet, invite users to submit changes in the form of pull requests that can be merged directly back into the codebase.
  • Individual interviews and roundtable discussions: It’s always a good idea to talk to users, so regularly schedule time to chat with the people who are touching these patterns on a regular basis. Take it all in, listen to both the good and the bad, and collectively determine a plan of attack to address any issues and suggestions.
  • Requests for feedback: Managing a system that can potentially be deployed to hundreds of applications can be tricky. Before pulling the trigger on decisions that could impact a lot of people, ask for opinions: “We’re considering deprecating our carousel pattern and would like to hear what you think.”
  • Surveys: If interviews aren’t feasible, you can lean on quick surveys to get a feel for how effective UI patterns and the style guide are. Questions like “On a scale from one to five, how useful is the pattern documentation? Any suggestions?” can help identify blind spots and get users to suggest features that would make their lives easier.
  • Regular “state of the union” meetings: Schedule regular meetings where the design system team discusses the product roadmap, lessons learned along the way, and suggestions and feedback. Encourage anyone to join the meeting, and be sure to record and distribute these sessions so everyone is aware of the master plan.