Varya Stepanova — a design systems architect
I am Varya Stepanova, a design systems architect with extensive experience in management, design, and the technical side. In my ~20 years of technical career, my focus has been on component-focused UI design and development, creating helpful tools for the subject, and spreading best practices across large organizations. I hold two Master's degrees - one in physics and one in computer science from Aalto University's IDBM program, which focuses on service design and business. I also have 15+ years of engineering experience and have held several leading roles.
Currently, my focus is on bringing design systems to the next level of success, which includes working cooperatively with a company's development community and bridging the gap between designers, developers, and business specialists.
As a design system architect , I am responsible for managing the processes related to design and development in organizations of all sizes. This involves conducting user interviews and analyzing data to shape and improve processes, implementing and managing tools, fostering a positive company culture, and providing technical infrastructure and guidance to design and development teams. Through this work, I have gained expertise in technical, design, and management aspects and am excited to share the results of my design systems activity on this page.
What is a design system?
Comprehensive explanation of what a design system is from the perspectives of design, development, and business. With this understanding, you will be better equipped to create useful and successful products. Whether you are new to design systems or have experience in the field, this page offers valuable insights and information.
Visual illustration of the journey that a pattern takes from identification to implementation, and how this process can vary depending on the situation. The Pattern Journey interactive tool is designed to help organizations involve more people in the co-creation of design and development value as part of their design systems efforts. Whether you are new to design systems or have experience in the field, this page offers valuable insights and information.
Aligning UX designers and UI developers work with design systems
This thesis explores the role of design systems as both an approach and an artifact in the creation of user interfaces (UI). The research focuses on the alignment between UX interface designers and UI software developers, and the impact of design systems on this process. The findings of this study have important implications for organizations looking to improve their UI creation process and foster collaboration between design and development teams.
Design System Gems
Curated collection of the most useful resources related to design systems. Whether you are a designer, developer, or product manager, you will find valuable articles, tutorials, and tools that cover all aspects of design systems, from creating a design system from scratch to maintaining and scaling it up to your organization's needs.
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 email@example.com 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
Watch the presentation on how a simple impact measuring tool turned into a comprehensive stakeholder management system for design teams. I share about the challenges and opportunities I faced along the way, and share insights and lessons learned from my journey. By the end of this presentation, you'll have a better understanding of the role of design systems in modern organizations and how to leverage them to drive success.
Building Your Design System Infrastructure — A Practical Guide
Design systems can help bridge the gap between designers and developers, communicate shared practices across an organization, and reduce production costs. But how do you actually implement a design system in practice? In this article I provide a practical guide to building your design system infrastructure using open source tools from the React ecosystem. With these tools, you can automate your development process, create high-level interactive documentation for the libraries in your system, and support collaboration within your organization.
Design Thinking for Maintaining a Successful Design System — The Importance of User Research
In this article for Elisa's Medium Publication, I explore the role of design thinking in maintaining a successful design system. By incorporating user research into the design process, we can better understand the needs and wants of our users and use this information to guide the development and growth of our design system. I provide tips and strategies for incorporating user research into the design process and discuss the benefits of this approach.
Building a Successful Design System — Tips and Strategies for Leveraging Your Designers, Developers, and Products
Design systems are a hot topic in the world of design and development, but the concept can mean different things to different people. In this talk, given at the WEBdeLDN meetup in London, I share my experience managing a design system at a large company and provide insight into the decision-making process, design thinking methods, community management, and technical tips that can help your organization build a successful design system.
Design Systems Vocabulary — A Review of Key Terms and Concepts
Design systems are a powerful tool for standardizing and simplifying the process of interface design and development. They bring new approaches and form their own ecosystem, but there is often confusion about the concepts and terms used in the field. In order to address this issue and provide a more structured and professional language, this article will review the vocabulary used in the design systems domain. We will draw from a range of materials, including academic and popular sources, to provide a comprehensive overview of the key terms and concepts.