At the start of 2020 we began writing and publishing an internal design system newsletter. We write about what’s shipped in our library, updates to components, as well as any challenges we’re facing.
Almost immediately we noticed a change in how other teams viewed our team. The newsletter provided a way to show the value of a design system.
Role: UX/UI | Content Strategy | UX Writing | Publishing
Duration: 6 weeks
The work that the design system team does is vital to the health of the design system, yet most of it goes unnoticed by anyone else in the organization. This lack of visibility makes it difficult to know what the design system team is doing and why we’re doing it. We need a better way to tackle these communication and transparency problems.
We want better buy-in for the design system. We also want to encourage folks to use the design system when they need it. A newsletter will make our work more transparent and show the value of our design system.
We created a short 5 question survey to determine the type of content users wanted.
The survey was sent to 42 people— a mix of designers, engineers, product managers and senior leaders.
To keep it fun, we added a poll for respondents to vote on the potential name of design newsletter.
Naming the newsletter could help the it to be more recognizable and we wanted something more interesting than " design system newsletter".
Responses ran the gamut from high-level pattern updates, to roadmapping, and even design system related articles and resources.
Analyzing the data from my user survey we were able to prioritize a list of the essential content that users would want to read in the newsletter.
This list help to inform our content strategy.
I collaborated with the rest of the design system team to come up with a set of best practices for the newsletter. These would serve as guiding principles for format & content.
I worked with the branding team to develop voice & tone guidelines for the newsletter with a goal to demystify the design system while educating our users.
We began the prototype process by creating a google doc outlining important items, smaller updates and other types interesting news to include. We gave the entire design system team access to the doc where they could could read and provide comments. We did this a few times until we settled on a format/design we liked. The last phase of the prototype was written into a test email and sent to an internal audience.
We kept the final design of the newsletter as simple as possible so as not to distract readers from the message.
We organized the layout for quick reading, prioritizing important content from top to bottom with plenty of white space to give content breathing room.
Our newsletter features varying types of content — we incorporated emojis as a playful way to define sections. We also added a simple survey at the end of the newsletter to gauge readers' opinions and get feedback on any improvements.