What is “The Question?”

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been participating in a design systems conversation led by Ben Callahan that is as enjoyable as it is unique.

Each week, he sends out a timely design systems-related question to a number of design systems practitioners. You have 48 hours to reply with an answer to the question, and everyone who does gets an invite to a virtual 1-hour meeting to discuss everyone’s answers.

Last week’s question was about which approach made more sense for a design systems team that had 6 months to show progress:

  • An “Inside Out” approach that focuses on foundational pieces like design principles, colors, type, etc. first, or
  • And “Outside In” approach that focuses on the larger experiences like sign up flow, checkout, etc, and patterns first, then work your way down to the more foundational pieces.

We all jumped into the whiteboard and started capturing our thoughts:

A whiteboard covered with stickies and the following axis: inside out / outside in and advantages / risks

The majority of people voted “Inside Out” (start with foundations), but there were a lot of good conversation and sound rationale from both sides. (I’m an “Outside In” guy.)

If you care about design systems and want to dig deeper, you might enjoy participating.

Sign up to be a part of The Question.

Jesse Gardner

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