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Achieving great results is about the details. A few refinements and subtle changes in the way you do things, and you go from slow, difficult work and a just-okay end product to fast and easy with awesome results. The trick is to know the refinements and subtleties. That's what we reveal here.

Catalyst UX has worked with dozens of companies making portfolios of apps mobile and responsive. We DO know the tricks.

Use these Secrets in the order they're presented. Your conversion process will go much, much better. Your apps will work responsively on all screen sizes and resolutions faster and cheaper with less stress on your organization. Let's get started!

STEP 1. SURVEY YOUR EXISTING APPLICATIONS.

You don't know where your existing applications stand until you know the landscape. So put a couple of broader-thinking team members (or maybe yourself) on a project to survey all your current applications. The goal: to identify patterns of views, functionality and controls common to all or most of your apps. Also, survey the technologies your apps are built on.

STEP 2. ASSESS YOUR TEAMS.

Who's good at what? The three parts of UX software development (design, development and research) are never evenly spread across teams.

Make a list of your people. Put them into skill-set groups and rate them on a 1-10 scale. Then ask, "Does each team have UX research and design to go with UX development?"

Key Insight: Almost nobody can justify putting dedicated UX research, UX design and UX development resources on all their teams. Most must share common UX design and research people across several engineering teams.

STEP 3. BUILD A UX STRATEGY THAT WORKS.

Answer this question and you’re almost done with strategy: "Can you exploit the crisis?" If you can—and since you must go mobile and responsive—make this the cornerstone of your strategy. If not, then apply a single set of principles across all your technologies. It’ll help. If not that, then the strategy is to have each team figure it out for themselves. Not ideal, but at least you have a decision.

Key Insight: The easiest way to build four houses that look the same is to have teams build them all with wood. It works way better than saying, “brick, stone or stucco. Whatever works for you.” It’s hard to get commitment to a big technology change, especially one involving decisions across devices. But it’s worth the time and trouble.

Guiding Design Principles help everyone look at the problem the same way. If you’re moving your apps to mobile and responsive, your design principles need to reflect this strategy.

STEP 4. DO ONE FIRST.

You’ll do better by focusing on one app and getting a just-right design for it. Create and present the example of this one great app to get people on your team excited. Sharing it across the organization gains support for the inevitable tough decisions and hard work that follow.

STEP 5. THIS (MAY) MEAN YOU. GOING MOBILE AND RESPONSIVE NOW!

Going Mobile and Responsive Now! requires leadership. Serious leadership, the kind that starts with a strong commitment from someone high up in the organization, who knows everyone and has credibility. You need to put your shoulder behind this one. The things the leader does make all the difference: adjudicating disputes between teams, breaking log-jams with other groups, building consensus, listening to complaints, personal counseling, getting extra resources where needed, etc. How important is this? It’s everything. Without serious leadership commitment from a charismatic leader, it just won’t happen.

STEP 6. CREATE A UX DESIGN GUIDE.

A must: Create a UX Design Guide 1.0. This document defines your UX design system. It’s easiest to build it on your first completed app (see Step 4). A lot of formats work. The key is to do it.

STEP 7. YOU’RE NOT ALONE.

Include stakeholders and users. If you don’t have them, set up Advisory Groups. They’ll give input via Participatory Design Sessions. Show users what you’re planning to do, engage them in your process.

STEP 8. METHODOLOGY.

You’ll need a well-defined but lean methodology that development teams can use to deliver apps using the new design system.

STEP 9. HARVEST THE RESULTS OF YOUR BEST TEAM’S BEST WORK.

Once you’ve got an app done, exploit it. Create a UI Code Library. Giving development teams a code library accelerates development, enables greater UI functionality and reduces the UI development skill level you need.

Key Insight: Reusable code is how you get consistency.

STEP 10. GOVERNANCE POLICY AND PLAN.

It’s key to determine how you want to govern adoption of the new way of doing things, whether it’s a technology or set of guidelines or both. Is your UX design system only intended for guidance or does it require a formal review (à la Apple)?

STEP 11. COMMIT TO UPDATING.

Refresh your UX Design System and Code Library at least every six months. It’s a living body of work; people will change what’s in it and how they use it. You need to keep up with current practice, and even get ahead, to keep it relevant.

Key Insight: Adoption falls off for design systems that don’t get updated. But teams that know there will be refinements can “contribute” to the project and tend to support it.

Unlock the Secrets of Creating Mobile and Responsive UX Design Systems

Catalyst UX is world-leading in designing and building unified UX design systems for multiple applications across mobile and desktop. We’ve done it dozens of times, especially for health care, financial and IoT software.

We invite you to exploit our learning and wisdom to your benefit. Here are a couple of ways of doing that, all with no cost or obligation.

Seeing Is Believing. FREE! Take 30 minutes with us via web meeting. We’ll show you six examples of UX design systems. You’ll get ideas and approaches you can apply immediately.


Quick Sketch. If you’ve got multiple applications you want to move to mobile and responsive this year, we’ll show you what they could look like—FREE. See a design system applied to your software. We’ll do a first-draft concept of what they would look like as a design system. Limited quantity!

It all starts with a conversation. Click below to arrange a discussion about your UX design system.

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