Make Time for Design: Integrating Design Ops Creates Big Value for Small Teams
In higher education IT, there are more developers than dedicated designers on a team. Oftentimes, there are no designers allocated to the ongoing work of a digital product. Designers and design work feels siloed and mysterious. In an environment that values continuous improvement and shipping work, how do we advocate and make time for design, UX, and accessibility without causing bottlenecks or frustration? This talk explores how investing in design ops and design systems can bring together design and engineering and creates a culture of confidence, collaboration and creativity with our small teams.
The U-M Library Design System team formed in 2017 with two members. We created the design system to reduce duplication effort and amplify our impact on the UIs we were building. But using a design system alone is not enough. In 2020, we began focusing on the bigger picture, investing in various design operations for our tech division. This “invisible” work has created a collaborative, design-led mindset in our product teams as we work together building accessible, usable digital applications. Everyone can do design with the right tools and systems.