Topic: [TBD – On DesOps /DesignOps ]
Date: 30/31 May 2019
Venue: Manchester, England
Super excited to be part of DesignOps Global Conference (www.designops-conference.com) to share ideas with some great minds on hashtagdesignops hashtagdesops hashtagdesign and the future of hashtagdesign from the lens of hashtagopenorg culture and hashtagdesignthinking being applied as the way of life to improve and optimize the operations in the organizations to deliver the “wow” experience, through best utilizing the hashtagprocess and hashtagecosystems and hashtagtechnology in context. Thanks, Peter Fossick. Looking forward to a series of engaging sessions for every hashtagdesigner / hashtagleader.
About the Conference:
The DesignOps Global Conference is for design leaders, developers, practitioners, product managers, service innovators and business leaders that are defining the way we design and develop new products and services. Join us Manchester for the DesignOps Global Conference 2019 Agile and Beyond – New Frontiers in Design
30 + 31 May, 2019
The themes for this year’s DesignOps Global Conference are:
- DAY 1
- Theme 1: DesignOps and the impact of design
- Theme 2: Collaborating at speed and scale
- DAY 2
- Theme 3: Developing new cultures – developing new organisations
- Theme 4: DesignOps in the era of AI and cognitive computing
More details of the event and to get the pass visit https://designops-conference.com/
When we talk about an open world, we inherently refer to an attempt towards making it possible so that all the entities in that eco-system can talk to each other. It would involve people, props and processes – the typical 3 components we use in a service design model (https://www.nngroup.com/articles/service-design-101/)
Any service design tool helps to find out the touch-points and what is happening around that with the user at the center through tools like Empathy Maps, User Journeys, Service Design Blueprints and so on.
However for a future world of automation and machine learning, it becomes critical to ensure that these touch points are also considered the other two i.e. props and processes at the center. The DesOps is practically all about finding out this and enabling those touch points through the act of optimzing, reducing or removing them, to improve the operation.
In the same context we look at the design systems in use, (e.g. in a visual design and UI design and development scenario – a branding guideline, widget library, collection sample code organized in someway) also are part of bigger eco-system, where the future automation of design with machine learning they need to talk to each other. Being a set of “prop” they need also to interact with “people” and “processes”. This means, a design eco-system of future should be open, where collaboration from “people” or the “designers” is made possible where design systems follow a common model to become part of the common language.
At the same time the design systems should semantic so that the machines can infer them and take logical decisions (read: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/open-design-system-adding-semantics-part-3-heredity-samir-dash/)
Then how to achieve this?
One of the possible way, as I see is to build the open design “eco-system” with the two components in them.
The first one is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that would allow different design systems to share their content for reusability and collaboration against some namespaces (or an identifier path )
Secondly, it should follow a model that is scalable, extensible and can align to semantic model. One such model as I was writing about earlier is the Nuclear Design Model. (read https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/photo-essay-semantic-design-system-part-2-nuclear-model-samir-dash/ )
So the Open Design (Eco)System would be combination of a CDN with a Nuclear Design Model.
To achieve this in design dimensions of different domains e.g. UI design, Visual Design, Branding, Voice based System Design, Business Process Design, Service design, Content Design, Learning or Instructional Design, System Design etc. etc. we need to use different technologies, framework and methodologies depending on the area it touches upon, and I think this would is a great opportunity for all service designer in today’s world to explore these and define.
In the UX India workshop I took an example case of UI design and development scenario targeting web technology, and attempted on a Proof -of – concept (POC) using HTML, CSS and JS.
I created a basic css representations of the Nuclear Model using CSS3 Variables, that allowed modification of properties which was an essential part of building an inheritance model of properties.
So I started with a basic bucketing of the entities at a conceptual level, with a namespace model and folder structure.
ODS-Global was the global namespace tagged to a folder that contained two set of entities i.e. Tokens and Primitives.
In Tokens (representing properties and attributes) I kept all the list of tokens without assigning them to any particular entities. Then under Primitives, 3 main primitives were defined (namely Shape, Image and Text), where each one defined which tokens belong to them.
Then each design system created by anyone would have a separate namespace folder under which there are buckets/folders for each entity type, namely :
Tokens – set of properties or attributes defined with default values
Primitives – applied a set of selective tokens
Derivatives – these are derivations from any primitive with modified values to the tokens they are associated with)
Patterns – combination of derivatives in an integrated way
Template – combination of patterns.
Views – combination of templates.
The above diagram shows the conceptual structure and how inheritance is happening based on the approach mentioned above. This conceptual structure now can be represented in CSS , HTML and JS as following
And the following image shows how the entities get their default properties and if needed over-ride them while maintaining the scope of their entities.
See how in a design system DS1 the properties change, keeping the same list of tokens intact, to provide one-to-one mapping among the design systems.
When I translated this into CSS and HTML and JS structure, I got the following structure of folders and files for the POC.
In the actual application, only referring to the namespace and type of entity is good enough to load the right pattern from any design-system part of the open design eco-system.
You can download and play around the code of the sample above from github:
Note: this is a prototype of the concept and is not optimal for any production usage. Ther are a lot scope to improve the implementation. For example usage of @import in CSS in real time may not be practical, but it might be good idea to write a preprocessor that would build the final CSS and JS from the namespace, like NPM.
Here are some screenshots from actual POC we ran in the workshop:
The following a example of pattern called “label” from a designsystem namespace “com-company1-ds1” . This is made with derivatives from 2 basic primitives i.e. “Shape” and “Text”.
The following a example of pattern called “button” from a designsystem namespace “com-company1-ds1” . This is made with derivatives from same 2 basic primitives i.e. “Shape” and “Text”.
The following a example of pattern called “editable-textbox” from a design-system namespace “com-company1-ds1” . This is made with derivatives from same 2 basic primitives i.e. “Shape” and “Text”.
The following a example of a template (not created a formal template class though ) of a login form from a design-system namespace “com-company1-ds1” . This is made with patterns from same namespace.
Hope you enjoyed this quick and dirty article written in 30 mins. If you get the concept from the article, my goals are met 🙂
Download the sample code to play around from here: https://github.com/OpenDesignSystem/ODS-CDN
View the part 2 of the workshop slides here that is related to this activity:
You can view the first part of the slides of this work shop here:
You can explore more here:
‘Semantic Design System : Redefining Design Systems for DesOps’ https://www.slideshare.net/MobileWish/semantic-design-system-redefining-design-systems-for-desops-v10-1sep-2018
Open Design System Ontology: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/photo-essay-semantic-design-system-part-3-open-ontology-samir-dash/?
(c) Samir Dash, 2018. All rights reserved. This content including the images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license
[This is the first part of the half-day workshop titled “Applying DesOps in Your Enterprise” I conducted at the “UX India Conference 2018” on 4th October, 2018, Bengaluru. This part focused on ‘Process’ aspect of DesOps, and tried to address the challenges of bringing the designers to the same page to that of diversified subject-matter experts (SMEs) during the ideation phase of an Design Thinking workshop, by collaborating on “Petal Process Diagram”(PPD) . PPD is a mind-mapping kind of activity with the focus to involve all the entities involved in and around a touch-point in a feedback-loop, and helps everyone in the room to be on the same page on the potential possibilities, feasibilities involving “props” and “process” components.
Continue to the next part of the workshop, in the next post.
Meanwhile, you can explore more here:
(c) Samir Dash, 2018. All rights reserved. This content including the images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license
Applying DesOps in Your Enterprise
3 hrs Workshop | Category: Design Practice & Process | Target Audience: Anyone who is interested in optimizing the processes used in the enterprise or building solutions that focuses on process re-engineering is the most suitable audience for the first part of the workshop. Any User-Experience pro, Design Thinker, Service designer, and product-management professional can be benefitted. The second part of the workshop is helpful for the designers and UI developers who use the design system or would like to build a scalable design system for their organization or team. Basic understanding of HTML and CSS is good enough for the 2nd part of the workshop.
The workshop will focus on two aspects of DesOps, namely the process and eco-system. The process aspect will be identifying touch points in the enterprise, and try to optimize that with some solution using technology. The ‘eco-system’ part of the workshop will focus on building a sample design system using Nuclear Design Model to make it scalable and extensible.
Three key takeaways:
- Basics of DesOps from process and eco-System Angle.
- Learn about how to identify touch-points in the process /workflow that can be optimized to bring automation or technological solutions.
- Learn about the basics of Nuclear Design Model and applying to build open, scalable and extensible design systems.
Date & Time: 10:AM – 1 PM on 4 October 2018
Venue: 4, 5 & 6 October 2018, ITC Gardenia, Bangalore
Event: UX India International Conference, 2018, A day full of inspiration and learning for user experience designers, UX leaders, visual designers, user researchers, front-end developers, program managers, startup founders and design students. Grab an opportunity to grow and network with UX Design industry experts. It brings engaging industry leaders to present a combination of inspirational talks and personal experiences.
Sample code of the CDN based Design Eco-System POC using CSS Variables:
Two Parts Articles:
[Workshop Deck] PART-1: Applying DesOps in Your Enterprise
[Workshop Deck] PART-1: Applying DesOps in Your Enterprise
DesignOps is an approach to design inspired by the culture of DevOps. In this session, we will be touching upon the practical approaches on how to prepare for the next wave in design that compliments DevOps in the concepts of the cultural shift, collaboration, and automation. We will also see how to bringing the full circle of design in the context of software development lifecycle.
Topic: DesignOps – the Prepare Today for Future of Design!
Date & Time: 2:15PM – 2:45PM on 5 August 2018
Venue: Christ University – Bengaluru, India
Event: DevConf.in 2018 is the second free annual community conference sponsored by Red Hat for Developers, System admins, DevOps engineers, Testers, Documentation writers and other contributors to open source technologies. It is a platform for the local FOSS community participants to come together and engage in the knowledge sharing through technical talks, workshops, panel discussions, hackathons and such activities.
More info at: http://desops.io/2018/07/04/talk-at-devconf18-designops-prepare-today-for-future-of-design/
On the theoretical level, the interaction can be modelled based on various entities like tasks(i.e. activities users perform to reach their goals), dialogues (i.e. interaction between user with users and machines and vice versa ), rules or instructions (i.e collection of behavioural instructions ) and states (i.e. conditions present in the system ) etc. Broadly, the interactions in the team/organization involving communications and sharing among members or more specifically among the roles, though is part of the Process dimension, constitutes the components that are part of the core of Cultural dimension of DesOps.
Basically, this is all about getting answers to two questions that a typical Product Manager or a CEO of the startup has in mind :
- Do I have the right team?
- How do my team can be effective in communicating and collaborating at different spheres with different types of entities involved?
In the previous article, I was primarily referring to two levels of the interaction were human-to-machine and machine-to-human and how minimization of the touch-points where the translation of value happens. This is primarily about “consciously and proactively considering the exchanges between people and organizations in the enterprise, and supporting these interactions with automation and tools” (Guenther, Millan Intersection, 2013 ). Solving the challenge to minimize such touch-points are relatively easy, as it involves some aspect of technology and toolchains associated. However, the level which is about human-to-human interaction is the most complex to deal with as it does not have any technology involved in it. In the last article, we slightly touched upon the full-stack roles, that handled some aspects of it. This aspect is more about involving knowledge, skill and expertise attributes of humans involved, and some aspect of it is also involved with human-to-machine & machine-to-human levels, which are partially solved by the redesigning the process involving the technologies. However, the human-to-human interaction is more complex, because it involves the attributes of human emotions, attributes and bias and cognitive fixedness that are counter-productive for any organization heading for disruptive innovation.
Broadly these attributes are part of forming a right set of team, with the right mindset. This is broadly about what kind of team members you should be looking for and also about to implement a set of practices and rules which would help grow each team members towards the self-awareness about there cultural fitment as well as motivate and guide them to grow themselves to overcome their fixed mindsets if any.
Fixed mindsets are the roadblocks to innovation in any organization. The fixedness is part of the human attribute that acts as the vitamin for a pre-defined process oriented no-brainer’s job to bring effectiveness, but at the same time acts as cancer for innovation. Typically, the key types of fixedness that hinder having effective human-to-human interactions in DesOps organization are as follows:
Cognitive Bias: The Cognitive Bias is typically defined as a mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, or another cognitive process, often occurring as a result of holding onto one’s preferences and beliefs regardless of contrary information. The cognitive bias is a kind of fixed mindset that sometimes also manifest itself as a tendency for people to evaluate ambiguous information in a way beneficial to their interests apart from the aspect (popularly known as Confirmation Bias) that induces the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms his/her preconceptions. This leads to the premature closing down of options in a creative process, as the person affected by this only seeks out the evidence from the information he has that was pertinent to his argument, and remains blind eye purposefully to any other information.
HiPPO effect or Authority Bias: HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) is one of the popular terms in the organization-productivity domain. Basically, this is more about having authority biases and the team’s tendency to attribute greater accuracy to someone how holds a higher position in the organization. Beware of the HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) in the room as it means that the team has fallen foul of the law of the HiPPO — When a HiPPO is in play, the organization is most likely not relying on data to inform decision-making, rather the HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) tends to win out. In large corporate environments, it’s easy to experience it first hand. Usually, when a group of people are trying to make a difficult decision, for which there are lots of opinions, the person in the room who is further up the hierarchy (and therefore typically paid more) expresses what they think and tries to hijack the spirited discussions to steer towards forming an opinion among the team to follow what he thinks and labels it as the team’s decision.
HiPPO effect is the biggest roadblock in interaction aspect of DesOps. If you remember in previous articles of this series I had mentioned how one of the key philosophies of DesOps is to advocate and put a data-driven decision making into practice. HiPPO Effect actually is cancerous to DesOps culture. All the efforts to implement the right process and toolchains as a part of having an effective DesOps in the organization can fail, even only this cancer is still there as a part of the work culture.
Authority Bias is in similar lines with the HiPPO effect, but this may not necessarily about the person who is higher in the organizational hierarchy or paid more, rather it is about the person, who is “seen as experts” or even as an authority in the organization or even in the team. We have an inbuilt tendency to believe those who we perceive as “experts” and usually have a deep-seated duty to authority, and tend to comply when requested by an authority figure.
For example, in typical design or UX team meetings, it is the most difficult situations for young members who are just fresh out of colleges and had to present certain aspects of their solution that are in opposite directions to what the leader of the design team thinks or beliefs. In many cases, these ideas are brushed aside by the authoritarian leader or manager sighting even some frivolous reasons e.g. “it has to improve”, “immature and not practical”, “you need to understand our design process first”, “can’t use that to discuss with stakeholders as it is half-baked design” and so on. And in such cases, most of the “faithful” designers to the leader, echo the leader’s decision and even some start advocacy to explain the logical reasons behind the leader’s reasons. Some may be “yes-men” to the leader consciously, however, some do so as they perceive the leader as the “authority” or “expert” and this allows the authority bias to be successful in killing new ideas and fresh thinkings. In many cases, the member does not realize that they have already fallen prey to such bias.
One of the most famous psychology experiments of all time, known as the Milgram experiment, provides a terrifying example of that a very high proportion of people would fully obey the instructions. Read about this 1961 experiment here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment ) and here is a video of that experiment:
The Bandwagon Effect is typically a psychological phenomenon in which people do something primarily because other people are doing it, regardless of their own beliefs, which they may ignore or override.
The Herd Mentality The Heard mentality and mob mentality, also lesser known as gang mentality, describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviours on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. Basically, when the Bandwagon effect is blended with the catalysts of emotions, it takes shape of the herd mentality. This is the most negative extreme of the Bandwagon effect.
Also, the Cognitive Bias is more induced by the Herd Mentality as the persons involved turn blind eye to the factual information which can be used for making data-driven decisions. Rather, the persons depend on the emotional ripples for taking decisions and develops a strong Cognitive Bias, thereby contributing to form the Vicious Circle in the team.
(Download the PDF of above at http://desops.io/2018/05/13/infographic-the-vicious-circle-in-teams/ )
The Vicious Circle, refer to complex chains of events that reinforce themselves through a feedback loop, and it is interesting as feedback loop acts as the essential spine for any DesOps organization. The fixedness attributes in persons involved in the team essentially turn the feedback loop into the Vicious Circle that gradually cuts-off the supply of oxygen to the innovation in the organization.
In many cases, HiPPO effect or Authority Bias makes the team meetings ineffective and counter-productive. The members either fall prey to these bias, or they try to avoid conflict in the team and keep themselves safe in the organization by remaining silent (mostly by seeing the large mob of the zombies of these bias in the team. In such situation when some spirited members typically lower in the organizational ladder counter the argument of the upper ladder persons or the leader, the conflict arises, which is in most of the case becomes counter-productive for the team and the organization and becomes suicidal for the those at the lower ladders. Else, the typically the long silence follows in the team meetings when the leader explains his/her idea or viewpoint to a problem (in a tone of judgment in many cases). In both the cases, when it becomes a regular trend that when a leader of the team’s or the ideas or viewpoints from the those who are placed on the upper ladder are praised or unanimously advocated without a few valid questions and some set of team members regularly remain silence, this is a very symptom of the cancer. In another scenario, if the young minds in the team who used to have questions earlier when they had newly joined the team, have no more show any interest in questioning or ask the obvious questions where most probably they do not really need an answer or seems to know the outcome of the questions they asked, that is another alarm for the cancer.
If the team does not have a diverse-voice or the team members mostly ask questions which do not really going to impact those who asked those, and fall in the graph in questioning opinion of the leader in a productive way or some members in the team remaining silent who used to be more creative in the past (and for a long time their opinions were brushed aside and never mattered ) then the team or the organization has already become a totalitarian state and is in a serious condition that requires the fix of the culture.
This is important to remember here, that the foundation of DesOps is based on interaction and collaboration that is productive and supports innovation from grass-roots. In the trueDesOps organization, the ideas flow from bottom to top, like the seed of ideas germinate and grow as plant and gradually through continuous nourishment from the surrounding culture which turns it into a big tree with the fruits of innovation. All the process improvements, toolchain support and the technologies act as the catalyst to support such a culture. Going DesOps is about adapting to change, being flexible, adopt disruptive innovation in a measurable and informed approach. For such eco-system to be successful, it is essential to ensure the work-culture is supportive and provides motivation to the actual people who are part of it.
So where is the way out? One of the fundamental tasks of DesOps, as a Service Designapproach, is to prepare the work culture of the product team for more positive interaction in context to hum-to-human communication and collaboration so as to prepare them for the process changes that might follow up along with the aid of automation and new technologies supporting radically new toolchains. And in such cases, to avoid the team falls prey to fixed mindsets, mostly three steps can be taken:
- Choosing the right people with more open personal traits at the time of hiring. During the hiring process, there are many popular psychological tools and methodologies can be employed to avoid personal traits with higher index in the person, which is less willingness to take the risk, or avoid the person too much structured-perosn who is more prone towards process-oriented obedience. The new age innovation in organizations needs the product team with the people with more open and inquisitive mindset — those who have lot of questions in them with passion than the structured minds who always define the box as the red line for him as well as his team members, to play within.
- Always keep an eye on symptoms of Vicious circle getting formed within the team or organization. Mostly it starts with the persons who are at the top of the ladders. And the most commonly it starts with HiPPO effect. Evaluate internally if there is any change in the behaviour of the team during meetings — try to find answers to question like “Has the spirit of some members have changed?”, “Is there fewer questions in meetings and especially fewer questions to the people at a higher hierarchy? “, “Has the agreements to the top leaders’ views have increased without much discussions over last few meetings?” “Has some set of members are regularly putting up silence since a period whenever the leader of the team or people on the higher ladder is throwing the ideas?” “Has there been an increase in rejection of ideas from the grassroots ?” — These will help in forming the timely suspicion to avoid the Vicious Circle. Note, that these may seem like addon work, but this timely diagnosis is worth it, as it helps to ensure that the organization is not got cancer at its’s brain and heart.
- Another key aspect is to bust fixed mindset is to enable un-learning. The systematic un-learning is a key to fixedness that is more functional or structural in nature. Unlearning helps in fostering a sense of willingness that helps in opening up minds. Especially this is effective as well as critical to have the managers and the members of the top hierarchy, to develop a sense of willingness to unlearn and learn something new. Unlearning helps to put team members out of their comfort zones so that they are more willing to pursue the unfamiliar and fosters curiosity.
We will be exploring these in details in forthcoming articles of the series. Be in touch, and do not forget to share this post.
(c) 2018, Samir Dash. All rights reserved.
[Originally published on May 14, 2018 at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/desops-next-wave-design-part-12-teams-vicious-circle-avoiding-dash/]
Download the PDF version here: https://www.slideshare.net/MobileWish/infographic-the-vicious-circle-in-teams-desops
Read related article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/desops-next-wave-design-part-12-teams-vicious-circle-avoiding-dash/
©2018,”Infographic: The Vicious Circle in Teams” by Samir Dash.
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License
In 1967 Ronald Barthe published Elements of Semiology, which stands as a temporal marker of post-structuralism, where he gave rise to the idea of “Meta Language”, which in fact “beyond language” or “Second-order language” which is used to describe, explain or interpret a “First order language”. Each order of language implicitly relies on a metalanguage by which it is explained. And it is obvious that the translations between the first order and the second order never loss-less and the true meaning of the first order language is lost or deteriorates when it is represented in “Second-order language”. Design process involving multiple intersections of information communication and sharing through translation of the value (e.g. vision, idea), loses its original meaning while being translated through different tools into various forms of expressions. Also, the different roles (e.g. Product stakeholder or product manager, information architect, interaction designer, visual designer, prototyper and developer etc. ) contribute to the infinite regression of “meaning” of the value.
That’s why one of the key factors that working with developers in terms of the realization of the design has always been a big pain and non-stop iterations, and this turning in favour of the term Full-stack Designer that shares the same spirits as that of the term Full-stack Developer.
(Download PDF from http://desops.io/2018/05/10/infographic-the-full-stack-roles-in-desops/ )
Typically the phrase “full-stack” (or full-stack developer) refers to someone who is someone comfortable and could single-handedly tackle every layer of software development. Typically DevOps engineers and full-stack developers share the same philosophical traits — they strive for greater agility and flexibility and hint at a trend towards greater generalization in the skillset of technical professionals. In case of the full-stack designer, he grows into a cross-disciplinary professional who can handle across Interaction Design, Visual Design as well as UI Development or prototyping. This helps to reduce the gaps between the outputs from these different and the effort that goes into the translation of concept flowing from one stage to another, where there are many roles assigned to more than one persons are involved (And remember that one of the key principles of DesOps is to remove waste by applying practices like Lean models).
So if we see that one of the major focus of DesOps in this aspect involving the work-culture is to reduce the gaps between the roles and wastage thereby. The translation from one role and discipline to another makes the meaning second-hand interpretation and such process is never loss-less. Something or the other gets lost in translation, as we progress towards the realization of the value or the product.
So by implementing Lean methodologies and by striving towards having minimally sized team members with as diversified expertized to help to minimize the intersections or touch points among disciplines and roles where the translation happens. In short less need to translate the value, the less information gets lost and less is the waste in terms of value, effort, cost and time.
Going “full-stack” is one approach to avoid the waste that happens in the process that Barthe has termed as indefinite regression or Aporia . This is mostly from the roles perspective. The other approach is through process or work practices redesign to reduce the number of intersections where the translation happens. In the context of DesOps, this is significant, as it involves the interactions at various levels between the primary two entities i.e. human (i.e.people or user ) and machine, namely — from human-to-human, human-to-machine, machine-to-human and machine-to-machine.
So one of the key factors involved while implementing the DesOps in the organization is to look for process re-design to “minimize the touch points of interaction” through the principle that advocates to minimize the gaps between the roles.
Sometime back, I was evaluating some of the design systems and tools available to study the pain-points while transitioning the design concept from one tool to another and moving from one role to the other. I got in touch with many of my friends who were designers by profession in different enterprises and were at different levels of comforts with existing design and wireframing toolsets, starting from Adobe Suite to the Sketch based eco-systems. Based on the discussions, the interesting thing that I found was many of the tools being used at different organizations, are selected based on the pricing and what the team is comfortable working with, rather than with a focus to have a seamless workflow. In many cases, the cost played a bigger role and due to licence cost, some had switched from most popular design tools to the cheaper replacements. However, the biggest struggle that was there was never solved i.e. the iterations in the design process remained challenging despite the change in tools. Every change in design aspect that was iterated was facing the overshoot of the effort, time and cost. The transitions of value from one set of tool to the other e.g. the quick wireframe created in Powerpoint during the stakeholder workshops were being translated into Photoshop was actually about relooking at the layout due to the constraint that popped up while working with the specific widgets in a specific resolution that never went well the wireframe concept. In one organization, the team replaced the Powerpoint with Sketch and tried to use that to complete the process, which turned into a nightmare as the sessions ended with the people struggling with the tool.
In search of a tool that can minimize the translations of values, I was toying with an idea of Ditto, a simplified version of the tool that can look familiar to the different roles involved in the process and at the same time it will align with a process that is about having the same source files at any of the stages of the process and can align with any design system with easy configuration mechanism.
(Figure : The common pain-points in typical Design-process )
(Figure : Typical Design process based on various touch-points where translation happens )
Ditto is a conceptual vision of a design tool that uses UI pattern Library (which is configurable ) and understands the relationships among the components of the design system configured to create and maintain its own objects that can be rendered on a super simple easy-to-follow and familiar looking interface with drag and drop kind interactions enabling the users of different role to focus on their goal rather than figuring out how to use the tool. Conceptually Ditto was capable of taking any type of inputs and exporting different types of outputs on demand e.g. the wireframes, visual comps and ready to deploy UI coded with HTML/ CSS/JS.
(Figure : The conceptual solution, Ditto is based on a “Single-Source” based process )
(Figure : The conceptual solution, Ditto is based on a “Seamless Workflow” based process )
Watch a video demo that elaborates the concept in context to these use-cases —
The benefit of such a tool would be to reduce the critical – dependency on any particular role in the team in order to carry out with the project. For example, assuming a startup is only having a visionary guy with a developer, he can go into the tool to drag-drop few shapes and objects in a traditional Powerpoint / Keynote kind of interface which he is familiar with and export that as a barebone interactive code/prototype that can be tested. He can continuously test and get feedback, based on which he can tweak the same source and iterate. His developer friend can use the same source to export the code in a click to use in the production. And interestingly if he makes any change, that would be updated back to the same source. Later if a visual designer’s help is taken to customize the look and feel, it would allow updating the same source that’s running in the production where the necessary changes to the code will be managed by Ditto in the background. And despite the fact that the visual designer modified the source, (which affects the internal code) he is doing that in a Photoshop kind of environment familiar to him.
If we look at this “Single Source Based Design Eco-System“, any role can enter and come out with a production-ready code, be it a product owner or CEO of the startup, or an interaction designer, visual designer or a UI developer.
The benefits of such a tool are many:
- Seamless work-flow for Design – Developer collaboration
- Saving on license cost as no longer it is required to use multiple design tools
- Single source makes it maintainable.
- The omini-change process ensures that any changes happening at any stage of design stage will automatically take effect on other stage deliverables. (i.e. assuming at if UI html code is tweaked, it will also reflect in wireframe and visual design stages without any extra manual work!)
- Zero learning-curve
- Single user – Single Tool: makes it easy for any of the roles can login and generate implementation ready UI output.
- Significantly reduces Cosmetic / UI compliance issues
- Significantly reduces the time to implementation of the design concepts
- Boon for Agile projects where the changes are common.
Some of the components of the conceptual design tool Ditto, you might have noticed are already available in some of the design tools. For example, similar in Sketch, you can create a custom pattern library theme and use drag and drop to add them while you are designing. But, its more about customizing themes based on existing ones and exporting shapes specific CSS at the end, which is at a very lower level of maturity from a design system standpoint. Similarly, exporting existing design to HTML feature from Adobe’s Creative Cloud Extract in some sense does not take account into how certain design systems of high maturity can be fit into it so that the output can have functional interactions as a part of business flow for the UI.
But certainly, Bootstrap Studio is much closer to the concept of Ditto. It can be improved around the areas configurations and there is a need to move away from the traditional Application type UI and interaction layer so that it can align to one of the core attributes i.e. to make each user role feel familiar with the interface or rather making it easy to follow. The UI widget based WordPress-page builder tools like Elementor are closer in this regard. While talking about Eco-Systems the tools and technologies, I will write about what are the tool-chains that we can combine for different levels of DesOps implementation looking at the maturity levels of Design Systems in play in the organizations.
Well, the thoughts presented above is a practical example of conceptualizing a value communication using improvements in processes and using technology to applying regression to the touch points where the translation happens, and thereby reducing waste and avoiding loss of meaning of value throughout the design process. We will explore the aspect of communication aspect of human-to-human, that is an important part of DesOps culture. Stay tuned.
(c)2018 , Samir Dash. All rights reserved.
(This article is originally published at on May 12, 2018 at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/desops-next-wave-design-part-11-translating-value-different-dash/ )
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©2018,”The Ten Commandments of DesOps” by Samir Dash.
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