Dell Design System 2.0
A unified design language to support Dell’s digital universe—ensuring design is accessible, inclusive, and useful.
Dell Technologies is the largest computer hardware company in the United States today. It was founded in Texas, in 1984. With a collaboration between the Austin, Eldorado (Brazil) sites and people from all around the world, a multidisciplinary team was formed in charge of creating version 2.0 of Dell's Design System to position Dell not only as a hardware company, but as a market leader in software as well.
During my time working at Dell, I was able to work in the teams responsible for developing the design system components, made in web-components, and its documentation.
The component creation team was responsible for doing research on best practices to create components, thinking about usability, responsiveness, accessibility and the needs of the product teams.
We were in charge of organizing the libraries in Figma, which included the design system foundation, light and dark themes and components. A handoff structure was also created to ensure that developers had all the information needed to develop those components with minimal communication friction.
To document the design system guidelines, we chose to use a front-end developed by the team, combined with a content management software (CMS). My biggest contribution to this stage was the creation with the developers of content standards that could be replicated page by page and created as templates in the CMS. The idea was to create modules that would guarantee consistency in documentation and easy creation and maintenance of new pages.
We created content modules that specified the components needed to build that documentation in the CMS, to avoid redundant components that could make maintenance difficult.
In the end, we managed to achieve a satisfactory result of a documentation that reflects the robustness of Dell Design System.
Creating a Design System for a company the size of Dell is, to say the least, a challenge. It takes a lot of organization to deal with a team of more than 50 people, divided into several fronts and developing their activities in parallel. In this context, it was important to entrust each team member with their responsibilities and overcommunicate. The design requirements are also a little peculiar, as they must meet the needs of projects of different nature and we did not always have access to the teams that working on those projects to interview. Therefore, it was necessary to prioritize offering a design system flexible enough to meet different needs and teach good design practices over restricting the rules to achieve consistency.