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Elevating Product Design Through External Expertise: The Value of Outsourcing Design System Services

Elevating Product Design Through External Expertise: The Value of Outsourcing Design System Services

 

 

Building digital products, especially for technology companies, is a competitive field. There are always ways to innovate, to optimise operations and to enhance user experience. At a certain point, companies can reach a plateau where they need to deepen their performance to keep building successful products, including in the field of product design. Over the years, many product companies face the same challenge: how can they maintain a competitive advantage in design and become more prolific? Leveraging an external product design company in the design system can be an opportunity for rapid change, improved performance and brand consistency across different digital channels. Read on how a relationship with an external partner in design that can bring many positive changes to product companies and help them to reach their full potential in this field. 

 

Introduction to design system services  

Often described as a library of reusable components, a design system is grounded in shared standards and can be combined in myriad ways to build applications. It’s more than a UI kit – it has coding guidelines and design rules. It’s a way to support design and development at scale, enabling brands to be consistent across all channels and products.  

External product design companies have their own skills, creating design systems as a service that is not just about aesthetics, but about putting in place a design strategy and a bigger framework for how to build products, based both on knowledge of how components can be reused and on understanding how a company’s brand and user experience goals can be translated into an organisation’s design language. 

 

Why outsource design system design and development?  

 

1. Access to specialized expertise 

By bringing in external design companies, you’ll bring in a wealth of experience and understanding of good practice in design – including usability specialists who can guide the creation of a design system focused on user-centredness. In most cases, externals will have access to, and know about, the best practice in your sector or industry.  

2. Efficiency and speed   

Building a design system can take years to build from scratch, which is an investment of time and money that product companies might not want to make. Outsourcing the development of a design system significantly cuts down the time it takes to get started because product companies don’t have to worry about the overhead that comes with creating and maintaining a design system in-house. External companies approach this like a project that has both a beginning and an end, with more incentives to deliver within deadlines. 

3. Objective perspective  

Having an external team take a fresh look helps a company identify real, unbiased design challenges and needs. The additional perspective can help with usability blind spots (think about how hard it is to do a design review of your own product without feeling like a critical asshole – now imagine a roomful of assholes!), as well as other issues such as consistency with the brand and its overall design principles. 

4. Scalability and Flexibility  

A design system should also evolve with the product and the market so that it remains relevant over time. An external design company can add on-going support and updates to the design system, without requiring a large permanent in-house team dedicated to the task.  

 

Services Offered by External Design Companies 

 

Creation of custom design system: Detailed design solutions that reflect identity and help achieve the brand’s user experience goals.  


Implementation support: Supporting documentation on how to apply the design system throughout existing and emerging projects.  


Documentation and training: Requirements for in-house teams to be trained and adequately documented on how to use the design system. 


Maintenance and evolution: Catch-up and evolutionary additions made to the design system based on follow-ups with the users of the product, ongoing technological advances and reactions from market competition and external forces. 

 

Conclusion  

For product companies, outsourcing design system design and development to an external product design company can serve as a catalyst for great change. It lifts the burden off the organisation, provides access to the most skilled designers and introduces an outside view that can add value to the product’s UX and brand coherence. As companies continue to compete in an increasingly dynamic digital marketplace, collaborating with an external design expert offers a clear path towards design excellence and product longevity. 

 

If you want to learn more about how we approach partnering with external companies in their design systems endeavours, feel free to get in touch.

 

 

 

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