UI style guide approval process.

over 8 years ago from , Senior Designer

Does anyone know of any resources regarding a good approval process for a UI style guide?


  • Kurt MadsenKurt Madsen, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

    Without an example of what you mean by an approval process, I don't think you'll get much direct feedback here. That said, here's a list of questions that may help narrow things down a bit.

    1. Is this being created for internal or external use?
      • for use at your company?
      • for a client to use?
    2. Who do you need approval from?
      • the design team (for the logic, consistency, and viability of your design choices and interactions)?
      • the front-end team (for the feasibility of coding up said designs)?
      • the client (for approval of direction) project or product management, end users (to make sure things make sense), ?
    3. What do you need to have approved?
      • the visual design, the interactions, the patterns that unify them both;
      • the feasibility of coding the designs,
      • the direction you're going with the design,
      • the decision to (re)design and standardize the UI itself?
    4. When or at what stages in the process do you feel you need approval?
      • For example: After an initial design pass, you may want to show clients/stakeholders some style tiles before you get too far down the road on a single design idea.
    5. How much exposure will the finished product have?
      • Will it be publicly available (like SalesForce's)?
      • Or will it be for internal use only?
      • Or will you need to create it so that it can accommodate both?
    6. Who will maintain and update the style guide?
      • You?
      • Other parties? (will they need to give their approval, too?)
    7. How will it be maintained?
      • What is the governance procedures for adopting new patterns and adapting the style for new uses?
    8. What is the scope for applying of the style guide?
      • Existing products?
      • New products only?
      • Both?
    9. How will it be rolled out internally? How will it be presented externally?
      • All at once?
      • Gradually over time as you refine the style guide?
    21 points
    • Daniel GoldenDaniel Golden, over 8 years ago

      Wow, what a response. You went above and beyond, my friend. Kudos (and an upvote).

      0 points
      • Kurt MadsenKurt Madsen, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

        Haha, thanks. It's what I'm working on at the moment, so it's been at the forefront of my mind for the last several weeks/months.

        Another thing to consider is how much executive-level buy-in exists, and how much ground-level investment will you need to cultivate.

        Because, even if what you build is beautiful and will accommodate every unanticipated need, your work will go nowhere if the people that are supposed to be using it don't feel invested in it.

        So, don't fly solo. Involve the whole design team and let them have sway in what is built. Involve the programmers and listen to their viewpoints. Involve the executives and the product managers and sell them on the efficiency and cost savings a style guide brings.

        • Ebay's Design Playbook might provide some inspiration, if you or your extended team needs it.
        • Google has been doing some really good stuff lately, too, but even they need to sell their ideas

        "Coming up with a single design language for all of Google’s products is an ambitious undertaking. Getting everyone else to follow its intricate rules borders on audacious, and one of Google’s challenges in months to come will be articulating its sweeping vision to designers outside the company." from Wired

        And above all be patient. A style guide is a system and as such, creating a good one will take time. Both time to design and build and break, and time to sell and proliferate. Remember, design is as much about politics and salesmanship as it is about the work itself.

        2 points
  • Owen McFadzenOwen McFadzen, over 8 years ago

    Great conversation. Has anyone come across a framework for making a framework. I am building a Sass framework at the moment and I don't want to spend so much time on how everything is put together at the end and focus on the individual elements.

    1 point
  • Andrew ZimmermanAndrew Zimmerman, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

    I believe that topic is best served by your company's internal processes.

    Sometimes, you may be able to just create a style guide and get it approved by whoever owns the brand. Other times, your company will see such a thing as a strategic asset and then farm it out to their ad agency. _^

    It really just depends.

    0 points