Design Systems: Benefits and Challenges.

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Author: Marianne Kay
Date: June 2021
From: Information Today(Vol. 38, Issue 5)
Publisher: Information Today, Inc.
Document Type: Column
Length: 877 words
Lexile Measure: 1270L

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The University of Leeds in the U.K. is an ultra-large organization. With more than 39,000 students, 9,000plus staffers, and a web presence consisting of more than 1,500 websites that are visited by millions of people, our biggest challenges come precisely from this impressive scale. Every design component, every snippet of code, and every plugin that we create needs to be stable enough to be rolled out across hundreds of websites.

Historically, many university websites went through redesigns every 5-7 years, with most of the branding and code built from scratch each time a redesign project took place. User experience across the university web presence was fragmented. It was defined by the priorities and decisions of the faculties and departments that were managing their web presence. In an effort to standardize the vast university web presence, university-wide branding guidelines and templates were developed. This made different university websites more consistent in terms of look and feel, but there was still work to do.

In 2020, in order to establish a more effective process for managing design and code for the university websites, work on the University of Leeds' design system started. "Design system" is a relatively new concept. Some of the well-known examples are Google's Material Design (built in 2014), IBM's Carbon Design System (2015), and the GOV.UK Design System...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A667587887