In today’s digital experience, designers and developers face similar challenges. With passage of time, I have seen more and more team members come go and in this process, the continuity of maintaining a guideline becomes very essential. Additionally with new technology platforms and trends evolving, means the product innovation must occur every quarter instead of years.
UI Style Guides are a design and development tool that brings cohesion to a digital product’s user interface and experience. At their core, they:
- Record all of the design elements and interactions that occur within a product
- List crucial UI components such as buttons, typography, color, navigation menus, etc.
- Contain live elements and code snippets for developers to reference and use.
A styleguide must contain components like:
- Navigation menus
- And more…
The style guide must address interface layouts across screen sizes especially when we have products which are meant o be used by users who are using multiple types of devices. Simple examples like spacing, padding and placement is very helpful in defining the relation to screen sizes.
The big goal here is providing enough context to prevent the need for one-off screen designs. Over time, these add up and undermine a digital product’s cohesion.
Color palettes must be clearly be defined. I also try to include examples on how and where to use the colors with the specific HEX values.
I have always tried to introduce a palette of gray and secondary palette for graphs and charts.
Apart from the UI components, there are a lot of practical features that make UI style guide easier for developers, QA and other teams to reference and navigate like:
- Table of Contents: A well organized and marked table of contents is a simple way to help everyone quickly to find whats inside a document
- Context Notes: It’s impossible to predict every problematic design decision that may arise over a product’s lifespan, so articulating the design rationale behind often-used UI components can make unforeseen scenarios easier to resolve. This in future would help us to know what we did and why we did?
For example: When I started to write the specs for a combobox dropdown, we started writing specifications with starts with functionality. Initially, we thought it we defined all of it correctly, but in practical usage, we figured that it is of use only if we make it to have a “Contains with” search.
- Live Elements and Code Snippets: Brand identity guidelines are typically static documents, but UI Style Guides must include live elements that operate as they would in the final product that means button behavior, dropdown/navigation menus and animations.Code snippets allow developers to quickly copy and paste the code of live elements into a product’s back-end.