How To Automate Design Handoffs and Set Up a Design System with Figmagic
Avoid the potential horrors and pitfalls of designer-developer handoffs with modern tooling—Generate code, tokens, graphics and documentation from Figma
Dale Sande, Design Technologist at Alaska Airlines, makes a brilliant introduction to his talk on design systems and web components, when he shows Apple and Disney’s web sites from 1996, and says:
Teams were put together for these very small things to build. The technology wasn’t big, so you didn’t need a big team. So what I find ironic is—we all know it, you can look at this and go “oh God that’s 1996, web sites don’t look like that anymore”. But I’d argue that in a lot of places teams treat teams like you’re building web sites in 1996. Right? You have really small teams. You have disjointed design people. You may have a design person on your team. But are they actually really treated like a team person? You are trying to cover all your bases with a small team to deliver this insanely complex—which I don’t call web pages anymore… They’re fricking applications.
Yes, it’s certainly true that expectations on what experiences on the web—or just using web technologies overall—are substantially higher (and different!) today than they were in 1996. It’s almost never as simple as a few images and a column or two of text. Lots of it is about things like asynchronous data fetching and complex state management, across all kinds of screens and devices. And as brands and businesses want to reuse code and design across more and more services, getting them to co-exist is getting harder.
But. I started coding HTML and CSS back in 1997, myself. The basics of how things work on the web have actually been remarkably stable over those 23 years. Many of the very first things I learned at the ripe age of 11 stay true even today. Professionally, I see teams having many of the same struggles in 2020 that I suppose were fought in Apple’s web team when I first began putting hands to keyboard in ’97.