Living style guides are increasingly popular front-end development staples. Integrating a live style guide into your process streamlines workflow, promotes ongoing design cohesion and provides a simple way to visualize how style updates will impact elements site-wide. Above all, living style guides improve collaboration and team communication, resulting in better digital products.
The great thing about digital products is they’re never truly complete. We’re always iterating to add features, update resources and improve user experience. Through its life, a product may change hands, with multiple designers and product owners. Over time, this can lead to a mishmash of design elements, with older areas of the product overlooked as new areas receive a facelift. A living style guide helps ensure design cohesion by providing a design system and central repository for all design elements.
Working on a design element in a vacuum is a recipe for disaster. Without a living style guide, it can be difficult to visualize how changes to one element flow through to impact others. You may have to scan dozens of product pages to gauge how the updated element plays across all scenarios. Even then, without reviewing every single page, can you be sure something wasn’t overlooked? A living style guide allows you to see the interplay of all elements in a single document.
If you work in an agile environment, you may have experienced some of the roadblocks that come with working on stories with both frontend and backend needs. Front-end elements – and their designers – are often left in limbo until the backend can be fleshed out. With a living style guide, you’re able to work on front-end components independently. Those design elements can then be seamlessly integrated throughout the product as functionality takes shape.
To work effectively, team members and product owners need to know the resources available to them, and how individual contributions impact others. A living style guide serves as a reference library, allowing team members to review live production elements, contribute ideas and conduct experiments in real time. This makes it easier to talk through potential changes, update comps and get stakeholder input.
While using a living style guide can revolutionize your development workflow today, prototyping new mockups is usually not part of the picture. If your mockups fall out of sync with your style guide, it can create a whole new set of headaches. Try using MixFrame to keep everything consistent. Mixframe enables anyone to build mockups based on the elements in your style guide, giving a team the flexibility to keep design, code and prototypes completely in sync.
As the first prototyping system that evolves with your product, MixFrame makes your living style guide even more valuable. Rather than a disconnected resource library, MixFrame creates collaborative, responsive mock-ups through a simple drag-and-drop interface. Just add a small code snippet to your style guide and the MixFrame attribute to the elements you want to include. Build your pages or templates and share them via MixFrame. Anyone you share them with can then see and review your mockups, or even make changes.