The upcoming Jack Henry Design System
The initial version of the Jack Henry Design System focuses on building a foundation of standards and assets geared toward improving the overall experience for designers and developers as they continue to create products for the Jack Henry ecosystem.
Why is a design system important?
A design system prevents teams from getting caught in a cycle of re-working the same problems. Common design problems are solved for teams, empowering them to focus on solving more complex, higher-impact problems unique to their product.
Simply put, a design system allows teams to work better, faster. This creates a positive experience for our customers, is good for business, and is rewarding for us.
For our customers, a design system facilitates a cohesive Jack Henry experience which further strengthens the brand. As our customers move from one product to the next, they will be able to immediately recognize it as a Jack Henry product. Over time, they should develop a sense of familiarity, increasing their usability of our product suite by interacting with consistent usage patterns.
Using design system components also reduces time-to-market with faster design and development cycles due to design asset and code reuse at scale. Teams can stop pushing aside the things they never have time for because the highly repetitive work is already done, creating time for innovation.
Finally, utilizing a design system will keep us competitive with other well-known software brands as systematic and component-based ways of building apps become the new normal.
What will the system include?
The design system is made up of several elements:
- Guidelines: A comprehensive set of best practices and usage guidelines explain how and why a component should be used.
- Design kit: A series of design libraries provide visual representations of each component to empower designers to rapidly create high-fidelity layouts and prototypes.
- Icons: The design system includes a custom icon set that includes common concepts as well as ones unique to Jack Henry’s products.
- Component library: Developers can directly interact with demos of each component in a sandboxed environment, import them directly into their project, as well as have access to detailed technical documentation.
- Design tokens: Design decisions are stored as reusable tokens that can be easily referenced throughout an entire application to create consistent user interfaces.
How will users engage with the system?
The initial design system will include a base set of design tokens, components, and visual assets that cover a wide range of use cases yet provide foundational elements for teams to build more complex, product-specific components. This allows the system to seamlessly scale as new components and patterns emerge within the Jack Henry ecosystem.
With the system, we desire to create a layer of trust across the organization. Our goal is to provide accurate and relevant guidelines and assets, but we don’t want to hold you back when there is a perceived lack of functionality that you need to build your products. Teams should feel empowered to extend the system to meet their specific product goals. We also encourage you to share this and other feedback with the design system team so we can evaluate if it might be an appropriate fit within the broader design system.
How will the system grow and evolve?
Advocacy—both internal and external—is critical in helping the system grow and mature. It gives stakeholders a voice, builds community, and fosters a sense of shared ownership. Our goal is to create a system that people want to use. In order to do that, we need to bring everyone on this journey together.
In order to support our advocacy model, we are working toward creating a Design Center of Excellence where users propose and discuss ideas about which direction the design system will take. This group of users will allow us to learn how the system is being used in order to iterate and support its adoption. These conversations will help fuel our roadmap and prioritize features so we can effectively meet the needs of our teams.
What support will be offered to users?
People learn differently. As such, we want to provide a variety of ways to support our users. Support channels for inside Jack Henry will include the following:
- In-person onboarding and office hours: Users will have an opportunity to meet with a person who knows the design system like the back of their hand. These subject-matter experts can help you get started, or answer questions that are better suited for real-time, in-person conversation.
- Slack and Microsoft Teams: Our primary chat platforms will be used for quick, transitionary questions and as a way to direct users to evergreen resources.
- GitHub: Our project repos will be used to track issues, bugs, feature requests, and documentation updates.
- Stackoverflow: Users will be able to answer “how-to” questions through a FAQ.
Users outside of the organization will be able to receive support via the following:
- GitHub: The repos will also provide a public community where requests can be submitted, tracked against PRs, and monitored.
- Stackoverflow: Users will be able to ask questions to the design system team—and a broader community of users—that can be tagged, consolidated, and addressed.
When will the system be available?
The design system is a complex resource that is being built as a foundation for a variety of applications. As such, it’s going to take some time for it to mature. We are continuing to research, build, and test components, as well as work through adoption considerations.
As we near the completion of our initial release, we will open up more aspects of the design system for internal users to test. This will afford us opportunities to receive valuable feedback.
After our initial launch, we will continue to collect feedback from users, make refinements, and work toward identifying additional components that have heavy usage across Jack Henry applications. Eventually we will get to a place where we can confidently support the base needs of the majority of our teams and can begin our initial adoption process.