I helped create and populate a user experience component library for site owners and developers to properly build sites on one of an enterprise client's business intelligence platforms. The library has been immensely helpful for the design team, ensuring that we design consistently and efficiently.
In the past, individual sites developed on this BI platform had been designed on the whims of the site owner or developer. As such, they lacked any sort of consistency from both an interaction and visual perspective. In addition to being more difficult for users to adjust to new interaction patterns, it meant that site owners were spending more time and money coming up with new patterns, even if other sites had utilized something similar.
Our team was tasked with creating a library of user experience design patterns so that designers and site owners could have a common series of components to use.
Another designer, who has been working with the client team for a couple of years, established a pattern of including both a design specification document and a UX guidance document for each component.
The design specification document described exactly how developers should build the components and how they fit in with other content on the page. For the most part, this meant defining colors, sizes, spacing, and behavior in different situations. For example, in the document for Tables, we included multiple pages for different implementations of tables, such as subtables, hierarchies, and table filtering methods. The specification documents make sure that developers implement components the same way each time and that they align with the branding used across the platform.
The UX guidance documents were written documents that explained to site owners and developers exactly when and why to use the components, and how they should be applied in different situations. For example, the Pivot guidance document describes when each of four pivot (tab) controls should be used. These guidance documents are invaluable for ensuring that components aren't misused or poorly implemented.
The UX library's development is ongoing, but currently stands at over 30 patterns and components.
One of the primary benefits seen so far is the increase in consistency across the platform as more sites are converted to use the components in the library. In addition, the library has made it far easier for the designers on our team (myself included) to build new report and dashboard pages, leaving us more time to focus on higher-level design challenges.