Part One | Redefining Value

This is the first of three articles discussing aspects of shared component libraries, whether in a design system context or otherwise. Specifically, we’ll look at how we define value, understanding cost, and how to build for the future. This article will focus on how we think about the value of…

An example component hierarchy


├ Primitives
├ Elements
├ Compositions

The main purpose of the hierarchy is to provide a focused scope of responsibility for individual components and meaningful relationships between them. This allows components to be composed in ways that provide a healthy balance of structure and flexibility. Without structure the components become…

guidelines for building shared components

Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash


This is a high-level description of API guidelines for shared components. It is intended to provide a general framework for creating resilient and adaptable components. These guidelines are derived from three main concepts:

  • Make the right choices easy
  • Make incorrect choices obvious
  • Provide helpful off-ramps

Make the Correct Choices Easy

Documentation is great, but if…

Photo by Henrik Eikefjord on Unsplash

Is Actually Humans

The problem with CSS conventions is that they rely on developers to manually maintain them with a high degree of accuracy to be effective. This problem is compounded as styles grow. Each developer needs to know more context in order to effectively style UI. That’s why “You should just write…

Coupling Containers to their Concerns


This document was created to clarify details about the composite component pattern and component responsibilities. It also includes examples and testing guidelines. The patterns described here are intended to be general guidelines, not requirements, and are intended to be used when reasonable. The purpose of establishing these patterns is to…

Alan B Smith

design systems @workday

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