Free Report on Design Systems and DesignOps in the Enterprise

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Between December 2021 and January 2022, UXPin and Whitespace interviewed Design Systems Managers from nearly twenty enterprise-level organizations. We compiled this research in a free ten thousand-word report titled Design Systems and DesignOps in the Enterprise.

Download the report for free. Head onto Design Systems and DesignOps in the Enterprise.

This outline provides an introduction to the report and what you can expect to learn from our research. We learned that in an ideal world, organizations want a common set of tools, documentation, and governance–but currently fail to achieve these results effectively.

The Purpose of This Report

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Our team at UXPin wanted to understand how organizations use design systems and what role DesignOps plays in facilitating and streamlining this usage.

Through this report, we wanted to understand organizational challenges with design systems and identify tools and solutions to solve these issues. 

Research sources

UXPin partnered with Whitespace to interview 19 enterprise organizations from seven countries, including the United States, Switzerland, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, and Australia.

These companies serve several industries, including technology, health care, transportation, retail, and government.

Topics covered

We covered six key topics when interviewing each organization:

  1. Design system journey to date
  2. Design system maturity
  3. Governance and processes
  4. Designer/developer cooperation and challenges
  5. Roadmap and milestones
  6. Comparisons to the existing market research

Quick view

Here’s where most companies stand regarding design systems:

  • A single source of truth is the primary goal, but silos and poor documentation stifle progress toward this ideal outcome.
  • Design system governance lacks support, and team members waste resources trying to demonstrate ROI for their work.
  • Design system adoption is a challenge for many organizations.
  • Design system maturity varies widely across organizations and industries, often hinging on support from leadership and stakeholders.

Download the report for free at Design Systems and DesignOps in the Enterprise.

A Brief Overview of Each Chapter

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Design Team

The Design Team Chapter discusses the organizational structure, cross-functional collaboration, and its influence on design system adoption.

Even in cases with leadership support, design system adoption is slow and challenging due to silos and poor communication channels. The report outlines several solutions, including:

  • Transparent communication between teams
  • Establishing a single source of truth
  • Setting measurable goals with KPIs to track progress
  • Assigning accountability across teams toward a common goal

Design Process

The Design Process Chapter looks at working standards, the handoff process, and team aspirations. We learned that designers like to create new things, while developers prefer to reuse as much as possible.

Many design system workflows and components are outdated. Updating component libraries, adding elements, and making changes overall are some of the companies’ biggest areas of concern.

Another challenge is the design handoff. Most organizations voiced concerns about their current design process but didn’t have a clear path to making it more effective. Even with a solid design system, the transition from design to development is challenging. Teams adopt tools to simplify this handoff process, often introducing fragmented communication and inefficiencies.


We explore how the tools used during design and development impact a design system’s adoption and success. 

Many organizations recognize they need intuitive tools that provide a single source of truth–but switching tools is a heavy lift requiring time and resources to change people’s mindsets.

Design System Documentation

One of the most daunting tasks of managing a design system is keeping every part of it up to date. Documentation is a valuable resource helping designers and developers model their efforts to deliver consistent user interfaces.

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Organizations have learned that successfully designing and delivering products is nearly impossible without adequate documentation. But, the bandwidth required to maintain design system documentation is challenging, particularly for small teams with fewer resources.

The right tools can help facilitate design system maturity while providing structure for documentation. Learn more about the tools from the report: Design Systems and DesignOps in the Enterprise.

Design System Adoption

Design system adoption requires continuous evangelism and outreach to ensure that stakeholders understand its value and how it can improve efficiency.

Effective adoption requires top-down support combined with change management from HR and DesignOps teams. An adoption strategy must be measurable so organizations can monitor progress and identify successful initiatives.

A Vision of the Ideal Model

We put together a vision for the ideal design system model using insights from our research. While the ideal design system framework differed between organizations, one distinct commonality was “to create more effective workflows for better product development.”

Organizations implement design systems to achieve several goals:

  • Create design and development work at scale with greater efficiency and the ability to replicate elements and components
  • Reduce strain on design resources
  • Create a unified design language
  • Create visual consistency across products, channels, and departments
  • Serve as an onboarding tool with clear standards, processes, and documentation

How to Use This Report

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This research demonstrates that organizations share similar struggles with product development and design systems. Through sharing our findings, we hope companies can model solutions based on how others have solved (or plan to solve) similar challenges. We also hope it will feed the discourse around design system maturity and the future of product design.

Download the report for free. Head onto Design Systems and DesignOps in the Enterprise.

by UXPin on 15th February, 2023

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