Well built and deeply documented, a design system’s library of design assets and component code are a foundation for independent squads to get things done. However, getting a team to depend on these tools isn’t guaranteed. Which tools do they use, or even need? Who enables access to the tools, if not the team that made them? Who and what does the system itself depend on? And, what do we do when – inevitably – there emerges more than one system to choose from? This talk maps the many connections and relationships we face when applying design systems at scale. It all starts with the fundamental connection: system to product. From there, it explodes into a myriad of relationships and exposes the decisions we face when operating amid this vast landscape of a system of systems.

Nathan co-founded EightShapes in 2006 and is passionate about interaction design, information architecture, and front-end development. He specializes in design systems consulting for teams large and small, regularly writing about and speaking at events worldwide. Nathan conceived of EightShapes Unify (for UX documentation) and EightShapes Blocks (for HTML/CSS prototyping), toolkits downloaded by over 50,000 designers worldwide.

Nathan Curtis – System of Systems

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