What are design systems and how can they help you elevate your digital products?
A design system is a living library of reusable visual styles, principles, rules, and components that are applied consistently across your digital tools.
A well-thought-out design system can bring numerous benefits for digital teams working in pharma and healthcare, both around efficiency and cost-saving and in terms of improving user experiences for patients or HCPs.
Design Systems allow you to create solutions that are scalable and can be seamlessly rolled out across multiple digital platforms or products.
They’ll help your team connect every part of your product or service, across all markets where you have a presence, allowing you to grow and maintain a global ecosystem of digital products with brand consistency. For healthcare and pharmaceutical organisations with many brands and products, this can be a game changer.
Here are 10 benefits that a design system will bring to your organisation.
Building a website, portal or app utilising a design system is significantly faster than building it from scratch. The typical website build timeline of 2 - 4 months is reduced to as little as 2 - 4 weeks when a design system is in place.
How? The components you need are already designed, developed and signed off. All that your design, tech and brand teams will need to do is pull the site together in the configuration required.
When your design system is first created, each component will be signed off when created in terms of it’s layout and visual appearance. For example, the font size, style and placement of a disclaimer in relation to the rest of the on-page elements.
At Graphite, we’re pharma sector specialists, meaning all our designs are created with regulatory compliance in mind from the outset. During the approval phase, we’ll work closely with regulatory teams to walk them through the design system, educating and gaining buy-in and understanding of the value.
By reducing the time and money needed for the design, development and sign-off of individual components, you can direct your efforts towards the aspect of your digital product that drives real value for customers — your content!
By focusing on creating quality content that meets HCP needs, you’ll strengthen customer relationships and stand out from the crowd.
As well as expediting launch timelines of a particular website, design systems allow you to rapidly and easily scale your designs across different products and territories in line with your growth needs, reusing styles, components, patterns and assets that have already been approved.
Working with a top global pharma organisation in 2022, we were able to migrate 110 inconsistent and outdated websites to a new design system in just 6 months.
One of the key benefits of utilising a design system is the consistency it can bring to your overall digital ecosystem. This inconsistency is one of the biggest challenges that our clients face, and often the catalyst that causes them to seek out a solution.
Using a design system ensures that different departments, countries, partners and stakeholders are aligned with a shared understanding of your brand’s visual identity. It creates a digital “ecosystem” of products that fit together as a set with a consistent feel and structure, making life easier for all your end-users — patients, HCPs and internal teams who support them.
Design systems are created by experienced UX and UI designers who know how to craft visually impactful digital products and intuitive, frictionless interaction.
This enhanced user experience will help patients or HCPs locate information, complete tasks and discover new features or content easily, whilst also making your digital product enjoyable to use.
When building a new website, app or portal, the most costly aspect by far will be the development. A design system drastically reduces the development cost for each individual website or app, as the components have already been created.
Rather than starting from scratch, your development or tech team can create your site using a ‘building block’ approach to pick the specific elements you need for each page or piece of content.
When creating your design system, comprehensive documentation will be supplied alongside the visual elements. This documentation clearly explains the ‘rules’ around how each component should be used.
These detailed guidelines can be shared with in-house design teams and support agencies, empowering those working across different brands or local markets to be able to create their own digital products at speed, without sacrificing on quality.
A design system brings consistency across your digital experiences, whilst still allowing for personalisation and expression of the individual identity of different brands or products.
You can customise fonts, colours, logos and other features to be unique to each brand, whilst your customers still benefit from the visual cues and intuitive functionality that they are already familiar with through using other websites or platforms within your organisation's wider digital ecosystem.
In pharma and healthcare, dealing with often critical digital interactions, it’s essential that products and services are designed to be fully accessible for any users with additional needs.
When using a design system, accessibility is a high-priority design consideration from the outset. This gives you peace of mind that any individual sites and platforms that utilise it will offer an inclusive experience for all your end-users, regardless of their individual needs.
At Graphite, we are well-versed in the world of design systems and have been working to create, grow and upkeep design systems for our healthcare and pharmaceutical clients for many years.
If you want to learn more about how a design system can help you, get in touch.