Developing a design system for an e-commerce website

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
New Media Design and Production
This thesis consists of a theoretical framework on design systems including a benchmark analysis and a production project to develop a design system for an e-commerce website. The objective of the research is to explore whether a design system is a tool that is not only useful to be used by large teams but also for small teams. The research is based on the analysis of the positive and negative effects that a design system may have if employed by small teams vis-à-vis larger teams. The thesis is written from a UI/UX designer’s perspective and focuses on the following three aspects of design system: design studies, design practice, and design exploration. The design studies dive into the fundamental elements of design system, its history and the common practices of how it operates. In order to explore design practices, a benchmark analysis is conducted on two existing design systems developed by larger e-commerce companies. It demonstrates the process and results of larger teams that have integrated a design system into their product development process. For design exploration, the author worked on a production project to develop a design system for an e-commerce website that fits the requirements of a small team. Finally, this thesis provides a set of recommendations for designers on how to develop a design system tailored to be used in small teams. It highlights that while design systems are commonly being employed by large organizations, the development of design system management tools, enables smaller teams to employ design systems that are manageable in order to accelerate productivity.
Leinonen, Teemu
Thesis advisor
Kalme, Anna
design system, electronic commerce, user interface, user experience, visual design language, component library