Design systems from a developer’s perspective : What aspects of communication between developers and designers need to change in order to prevent communication breakdown when creating design systems?

University essay from Jönköping University/Tekniska Högskolan

Abstract: Design systems have gained traction in the last few years. They have been primarily used by big tech companies to improve collaboration between designers and developers and to speed up the development process of their digital products. There is no formal definition of what a design system is and what it should entail as of the time of writing. It is believed that communication breakdown during the creation of design systems occurs because designers and developers do not understand each other’s fields of expertise. The purpose of this study is to explore common aspects that cause communication breakdown between developers and designers when creating a design system. The method of choice for this study is semi- structured interviews conducted with frontend/web developers, exploring their views and experiences. The results of this study indicate that there are both similarities and differences between peoples’ views on design systems and that the lack of understanding of a developer's field of work can be seen as an aspect that can cause a communication breakdown. Furthermore, the results imply that one of the factors which can contribute to a more successful understanding of the handoff for developers is the visualization of the design. The major limitations of this study are the lack of scientific literature on the topic of design systems as well as the limited number of participants. 

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