Events and workshops

Design System Day 2023 sessions

Design System Day 2023 logo

Day 1 sessions

The impact of research operations when conducting user research at scale

Rachel Male

Rachel covered the user research context in the Scottish Government’s Social Security Directorate, and how she created a research operations unit that refined processes and added critical value when the team suddenly scaled. She focused on the lessons she learnt during the process and shared some tips on how to create impact.

The impact of research operations when conducting user research at scale (video)

Reflections on creating the Scottish Government Digital Design System

Jennifer I’Anson and Samantha Ernstzen

The Scottish Government’s Head of Design, Samantha Ernstzen, and Design System Product Owner, Jennifer I’Anson, reflected candidly on creating the Scottish Government Digital Design System. They discussed the challenges of launching during the COVID-19 pandemic, how the design system was being used, and the future plans for the product.

Reflections on creating the Scottish Government Digital Design System (video)

What we’ve been up to, where we’re headed

Calvin Lau, Ciandelle Hughes and Steve Messer

In this show and tell the audience heard about the work the GOV.UK Design System team have been up to over the last 12 months. They heard about the work we have done with amazing contributors and where we were planning to head next.

What we’ve been up to, where we’re headed (video)

How design systems manage contributions

Deborah Dada, Caroline Jarrett, Frankie Roberto, Vicky Teinaki and Ellis Capon

We heard how designers and developers across the private and public sector prioritise contributions and work with their communities to make the process effective and rewarding for contributors and design system curators.

How design systems manage contributions (video)

Trauma-informed research and design

Katrina Birch, Janice Hannaway, Kate Every and Helen Baron

Whether you consider yourself well informed about trauma-informed approaches to research and design or were curious and wanted to learn more, this was an opportunity to engage with a multidisciplinary panel and colleagues across the public and private sector who are working towards more compassionate and aware design.

Trauma-informed research and design (video)

You can access the resources mentioned during the panel discussion in this document.

Design systems don’t solve problems, people do

Tash Willcocks

Design Lead at TPXImpact, Tash discussed the intricate relationship between people and design systems. She explored how individuals shape design systems just as profoundly as these systems influence them. From user feedback, ownership, to the organisation’s context, she delved into the dynamic interplay that defines modern design practices.

Design systems don’t solve problems, people do (video)

Day 2 sessions

We’re feeling ’appy

Oliver Binns, Chris Choy and Helena Trippe
10am to 11:30am

We’ll talk about the design system we created for GDS’s first mobile app: GOV.UK ID Check. We’ll cover our work to adapt the GOV.UK Design System for web into a native mobile world, taking guidance from Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines, Google’s Material Design Guidelines and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

The contributor perspective on design systems

Frankie Roberto
10am to 11:30am

The process of contributing to a design system, especially when your main job is designing a service, can be daunting and time-consuming. With input from a number of past contributors, this talk looks at a number of successful contributions, and offers a perspective on how contribution models might continue to scale and evolve.

Trauma-informed design – passing trend, or new aspect of accessibility?

Katharine Beer and Steph Batliner
10am to 11:30am

Is trauma-informed design a passing trend or a new facet of accessibility? In this session, we aim for participants to deepen their understanding of trauma and its complexities. While we believe that this approach can enhance design practices and results, we welcome diverse perspectives and encourage open discussion. We also welcome anyone who prefers to stay quiet and listen during sessions.

How brand design systems offer the power of confidence

Abigail and Chloe Baldwin
10am to 11:30am

Amid challenges, 2 young twin designers from humble backgrounds share a relatable tale of creative business beginnings. Design systems alleviate the burden of risk, functioning as a guide, and empowering the creative practice. This talk provided practical guidance to fledgling designers and business owners to forge their branding systems.

How GOV.UK Pay is making recurring payments easy for the public sector

Sacha Zarb
10am to 11:30am

The talk looked at how GOV.UK Pay brought functionality to the platform, which allows services to quickly and easily add recurring payments. We talked about the design challenges, how services are using this and how we’ve designed this for the future.

From pixels to paradigm shifts – tailoring a dedicated design system to catalyse innovation in the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance

Simone di Fresco
10am to 11:30am

Unlock the power of dedicated design systems with our case study on the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance. Discover how user insights and innovative tools are supporting the accounting operations of hundreds of thousands of users in the major Italian public administrations, fostering a culture of meaningful change.

The challenges of scaling up a truly user-centred service

Laura Smith
10am to 11:30am

Using 2 case studies from public healthcare, we considered the challenges of maintaining a focus on users when scaling beyond minimum viable product (MVP) into growth and diversification.

A service designer’s approach to human-centered life transitions

Sylvie Abookire
10am to 11:30am

How might we design our design practice for optimal success and wellbeing? The methods we use every day as designers can help us creatively navigate our own professional journeys. Through reflective, hands-on activities, participants learned how they can apply human-centered design to navigate personal decisions surrounding life and work.

Design pattern histories

Vicky Teinaki
11:45am to 12:30pm

Design systems are made to scale work, ensure consistency, and reduce duplication of effort. However, you have to be wary of how you utilise them. If you pick and choose elements from several design systems indiscriminately, that can cause problems of its own.

Vicky discussed how you should aim to understand the context that a pattern or element was created, and the pitfalls of not doing so.

Leading the system

Daniel Fontaneda
1:45pm to 2:45pm

Warning This session was cancelled.

In this talk I will explain what are the key pillars that are helping me and my team to lead the design system in a complex environment, working with multiple products at the same time and being a small team and dealing with many different stakeholders.

Imposter syndrome in government and why it’s not always a bad thing

Ciandelle Hughes
1:45pm to 2:45pm

Imposter syndrome is something that is often talked about but rarely understood well. This session was designed to talk about the basics of imposter syndrome, including the way in which it can manifest itself.

We explored some of the ways imposter syndrome can impact your personal and professional lives. This will be both on a short and longer term basis. We will ask ourselves 2 key questions:

  • Can I overcome imposter syndrome?
  • If I can’t, can I learn to live with it?

Web components – a year in the field

Ashley Watson-Nolan
1:45pm to 2:45pm

Over the last year, Ashley has been delving into the world of Web Components, exploring the promise of native component development to help build a global design system. In this talk, he shared his learnings, revealing why he’s so excited by their potential to shape the future of web development.

From code to content-first – scaling content production at PayPal

Kate Thomas
1:45pm to 2:45pm

Warning This session was cancelled.

After 20+ years of managing experiences in code, a new design system + headless CMS changed everything about Kate Thomas, at the forefront of this transformation, will share the highs, lows, and deep dive into how they reduced publishing time from weeks to hours while increasing global reach.

How a design API empowers product teams to ensure brand consistency at scale

Louis Chenais
1:45pm to 2:45pm

How to manage design decisions at scale? How to adopt a shared design language across team and ensure brand consistency across any product and platform? This presentation introduced how a design API can help designers collect, store, and distribute their design tokens at scale.

Responsive design, design systems and ‘hyperobjects’

Ethan Marcotte and Steve Messer
1:45pm to 2:45pm

A fireside talk with Ethan Marcotte, a web designer, speaker and author who’s best known for creating responsive web design. Over his career, Ethan has helped people create beautiful, accessible web experiences and design systems, and Steve picked Ethan’s brain on what makes design system work different.

Doing good discovery

Debra Churchill
3pm to 4:30pm

Employment Ontario services have a mix of old and current user platforms. 8 months of discovery and user research was completed to delve into the problem statement. This session presented the findings from the research but also looked to tackle the problem of user research with vulnerable and marginalised populations.

Workshop: Using task lists in your services

Frankie Roberto
3pm to 4:30pm

This session took a detailed look at the new task list component, and showed you how to implement the wider task list pattern within your service through a live demo.

It included how to:

  • use the new task list component
  • split up a complex application into smaller tasks
  • give the user control over when tasks are marked as completed
  • allow users to review all their tasks before submitting

The iPhone state – simplicity through complexity

Gordon Guthrie
3pm to 4:30pm

Warning This session was cancelled.

iPhones work but no one individual knows how. They are technically, legally and linguistically sophisticated but just work globally. The modern digital state must embrace simplicity through management of complexity - taking systems view of state capability from manifesto and think tank, through parliamentary oversight to design, delivery and in-service.

Workshop: How participatory research can help us co-design more ethically

Jane Martin and Betty Mwema
3pm to 4:30pm

Warning This session was cancelled.

In this session, we will be looking at how the field of participation has lived a long time and how it has much to offer to co-design, ethics, equity and justice.

We’ll look at how we can develop co-design practice with an ethics-based approach that’s safe and informed.

Designing for underserved audiences

Valentine Makhouleen
3pm to 4:30pm

What do gender-affirming care providers, childhood mental health experts, reindeer herders and life science researchers have in common? Aside from being underserved, they are leading the charge in changing the world. Their budgets are small, requirements large and needs endless. How do we design meaningful tools for those changing the world?

From chaos to clarity – unlocking the potential of design systems

Hassan Nawaz
3pm to 4:30pm

Experience the evolution from chaos to clarity within design systems. See their potential unlocked, creating a united future for experiences that yield impact.

As we embark on this immersive session, prepare to gain actionable insights that empower you to harness the untapped potential of design systems. Together, let’s unlock a united future where the synergy of creativity and clarity gives rise to impactful experiences that resonate and endure.

Fostering collaboration in design systems

James Carleton
3pm to 4:30pm

Design systems work best when they are collaborative and flexible instead of a strict set of fixed rules. James shared his experience in building a community that encourages collaboration and contribution to their design system.

Further information

If you would like to read the slide decks for any of the sessions delivered on day 2, please email the GOV.UK Design System team

Need help?

If you’ve got a question about the GOV.UK Design System, contact the team.