Patterns Day 2019 - Amy Hupe

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For the third talk of the day, Amy Hupe continued the theme of thinking critically about the work we do. She came at it from the angle of content designer so there was a lot about how words can be used to define things well and how hard it is to get any agreement. However, what I found particularly interesting however was the stress that content design is not just about words but about content of all kinds from examples of components through to placing buttons to GitHub in appropriate place to get the users of the design system to contribute back to it.

Here are my notes:

  • works at GDS as senior content designer
  • Used to be editorial on Which?
  • “Good content design helps people get what they need even if it doesn’t use written word”
  • Evidence based
  • Includes the documentation of the design system
  • “Sorting, naming, explaining and justifying” of components in design system
  • “Building failure into our design systems from the beginning” of components and patterns are provided without details on how to use correctly. Example people a chair with two legs in right place and two at the top
  • “As an industry we don’t have consistent language” some people use components, some patterns, others atom
  • In 5 minutes can come up with 100+ names for one single thing
  • GDS use “styles, components and patterns”
  • “Components are like objects so we use nouns” stick to html names were possible
  • “Patterns are ways of doing things so we use verbs”
  • Have an issue where search engines direct used to design system pages for “how to find address” etc for actual information
  • Track the search terms to work out of using the right names
  • “You will never get consensus”
  • Always refer to design system team in third person because open source contributors
  • Being consistent helps to drive those values
  • Component page structure identical for all
  • “We don’t force people to use our design system so we have to make it useful”
  • Explains error content (I think this is so useful, it’s the most looked over thing on any project imho)
  • If needs more research, labelled in docs as experimental
  • Has a button to discuss on github
  • The documentation is used to remind people that not everyone has or can use a telephone when asking for a telephone number