Why Design Matters (Hint: It’s Not Just Looking Good)

When people think of design, they usually think of how something looks. Everyone likes a nice visual, naturally, but there’s also a perception that visuals are superficial - think form vs. function, style vs. substance. But focusing just on a shiny wrapper is missing the fundamentals about what design is. Done right, it’s not a give and take between form vs. function. It’s form, enabling function.

Think of walking into a clean, well-organized workspace, where you can easily find what you need and you have plenty of space. Now imagine walking into that same workspace, but this time it’s packed tight with random furniture and every flat surface is piled high with old documents, scattered notes that would probably be useful if you could get them all in one place, and junk mail that nobody bothered to throw out yet. If you’re like most people, you’d much rather work in the first version. It’s a more functional space that allows you to be more functional, and is set up to let you do what you need to do. And, it just feels better.

Good interface design is like the software equivalent of that first room, creating a useful space for you to get what you need. At its core, thoughtful design is about what you’re trying to accomplish, and how to get you there. It’s not so much about “does it looks nice,” but rather “does it work well.” The visuals are important too, of course, but less integral. The look and feel is the paint; the design is the actual house.

All of which is a long lead-in to say: we’ve remodeled our house, and we’re very excited about it.

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We unveiled our new design system, Roostify Atomic, at MBA Annual last week (check out Rajesh Bhat’s interview with HousingWire here). More than just a fresh coat of paint, Roostify Atomic represents a big leap forward for how we approach design and product development.

A design system requires developing a consistent framework for how each element of a platform will look, function, and interact with the other parts. A UI element like a button or a modal needs to work not just on the page you’re working on today, but on every other page it might appear on, now or in the future. Building a design system like Roostify Atomic is actually a fairly complex undertaking, and our design and development teams have devoted a significant amount of time and energy to making sure we got it right.

It was worth the effort! Besides the obvious benefit of a better user experience, Roostify Atomic will help us get value to our clients faster. With the integrated design system of components, patterns, and practices, our team is able to add new features and functions more rapidly and easily, resulting in a more nimble overall system. With Roostify Atomic, the framework for future innovation is already in place.

Drop us a note to see the new Roostify experience in action. We think you’ll love it as much as we do.