Varya Stepanova — a design systems architect
I am Varya Stepanova, a design systems architect with an extensive experience in management, design, and technical side. In the 15+ years of technical career, my major focus was component-focused UI design and development, creating helpful tooling for the subject and spreading the practices across large or regular organizations. I have two Master degrees — in physics and computer science (Aalto University, IDBM program focused on service design and business), years of engineering experience and several leading roles behind.
Nowadays my focus is on bringing design systems to the next level of success which includes cooperative work in the company development community and bridging the gap for designers, developers, and business specialists.
My work as a design system architect includes running the processes related to the design and development in large or regular organizations. It means inventing and shaping the processes through user interviews and data analysis, tuning the management tools and running new ones, working on company culture and increasing people's involvement, providing the technical infrastructure and guiding in design and development. In this way, I make a lot of research and discoveries in technical, design and managing aspects. On this page, I present the public artifacts of my design-systems activity.
What is a design system?
Experience-proven explanation on what is (or should be) a design system from design, development and business perspective. If we want to shape the product so that it is useful, first we must understand it on all its levels.
Visual illustration and explanation of what happens to a pattern on its way from identifying to actual implementation and how different the path might be depending on the situation. The Pattern Journey interactive tool helps to make more people in the organization involved into co-creation of design and development value under the Design Systems umbrella.
Aligning UX designers and UI developers work with design systems
The aim of this thesis was to study the role of design systems (as an approach and as an artefact) for the UI creation. This research specifically focuses on the alignment between UX interface designers and UI software developers and the impact of design systems on that process.
My experience offers to launch and maintain design systems projects, run training sessions and workshops, cherish in-house design and development culture in the organizations and so on.
Design systems 101
Introductary non-technical workshop for all the specialists (designers, developers, managers) to get common understanding on the concept of design systems and figure out the first steps towards your own.
Hands-on with Design Systems
Full-day workshop about building design system and pattern library (React) in multidisciplinary team. This workshop was given twice - as a part of DSConf Helsinki, and the second time on its own.
For private running, I shape workshop editions tailored to the needs of a specific company. The same applies to the conferences. You can contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
Talks, articles and posts
Besides, I frequently speak at tech and design conferences and meetups. The topics I cover are related to my own experience. You can find here the list of my articles and talks.
Design system: from bookkeeping to championing
A practical guide to building your design system infrastructure
Design systems bridge the gap between designers and developers, communicate shared practices to all the company levels and significantly decrease production costs. We all have heard this but how to achieve that in practice? React ecosystem and community already provide a lot of efficient open source tools which can be used for building your design system infrastructure. With them, you can have the most automated development process, high-level interactive documentation for the libraries in your system and support contribution practices within your organisation.
Maintaining design systems with proper user research
Article in Elisa's Medium Publication about the design thinking methods to help when choosing the next steps for the design system development and growth.
Building design systems that leverage your designers, developers and products
If we compare design systems of several companies, it is visible that this concept has different meanings to different people. So, how to decide which path to follow and what aspects of design systems should be in focus at your organisation? In this talk given at WEBdeLDN meetup in London I told a story of managing a design system in a large company, making decision on its further focus and approaches behind the implementing which include design thinking methods, community management, and technical tips.
Design Systems — review of vocabulary and terms
Design systems standardise and simplify the process of interface design and development, they bring new approaches and form their own ecosystem. However, there is no solid understanding of the concepts and terms forming the design systems. To solve the term inconsistency and provide structured professional language, this article focuses on the vocabulary used in the design systems domain by observing a range of materials on the topic, from both academic and popular sources.