Peter Peter - Founder, UserActive

Working with UI Style Guides

When we finish designing an interface we often prepare a UI Style Guide for our clients. This helps the development team by providing a reference for all the styling they need during the build process. It also provides future proofing for any development work on the roadmap. In this article, I’m going to talk about working with UI Style Guides and how they can help you save time and maintain a high standard of quality for your software interface.

What is a UI Style Guide and why should you use one?

A UI Style Guide is a design document that contains a reference of all of the styles and many of the interface elements that you would use in your software. It’s the design blueprint for everything from colour schemes and fonts, to buttons, menus and hover states.

Generally, these style guides are used by designers and developers for reference when working on a product. Because everything is consolidated in one reference document, they’re also a really powerful tool for briefing new members on a project.

What does it consist of?

Let’s take a quick look at what a UI Style consists of. Here’s an example of the things we consider when making style guides at UserActive. The following are all things that we consider when creating a Style Guide:

  • Colour palettes with Hex codes
  • Gradients and the angle and codes used
  • Recommended usage on where to apply colour styles
  • Typography – We specify font size, weight and letter spacing 
  • Spacing between elements- If we need to specify certain resolutions or media queries for responsive layouts we can
  • Button styling- This icludes different types of buttons, sizes and states. Often this includes secondary buttons as well
  • Dropdowns and other interactive elements
  • Tables, lists and card designs
  • Tags, chips, navigation elements
  • Input fields

Sometimes these UI guides are light and simple and other times they can get fairly large and complex depending on the size of the software or design project.

What are the benefits?

There are many benefits of using UI Style Guides. For instance, they help keep your interface consistent because each time a designer or developer is working on something, they have a clear reference. This also helps speed up the resolution of design and development problems.

It makes future work easier and faster because you have the groundwork done for any new designs. Future design and development work can also be inferred.

It makes the development process faster because developers can quickly grab anything they need from hex codes to spacing to interaction treatments such as buttons, hover states, dropdowns and notifications.

Why should you use them?

We recommend using UI Style Guides for many reasons. As mentioned before, they promote consistency and help those working on your product. They also speed things up which ultimately saves time and money. As you can see, UI style guides are another one of those design tools that in their own way, help you to improve your product, get more users and grow!

Need a hand?

If you need help with UX or UI, please reach out to us at UserActive.io to book a no-obligation call to discuss your UI/UX challenges with a SaaS expert. We’ll offer advice on your current situation, provide a steer for your project and see if we’re a good fit to help. You can also book here.

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