Senior Design Systems Designer • Manchester, UK 🐝

Show notes for episode 16 of the Diary of Design Thinking by Simon Hoang, co-hosted by Chuck Rice.

You might be wondering, why this video? Don't worry, it's relevant.

Kevin Coyle, currently working with Brad Frost and friends at Big Medium, is an incredible all-star professional in tech currently focusing on frontend. We met when we enlisted his help to migrate a mutual client onto a Terraform setup in AWS, and we both later became engrossed with Design Systems.

While we cover the professionally interesting work of building a Design System within the giant that is Pfizer, we also cover some lighter topics.

  • Do we lose any skills by having AI?
  • What comes after Blu-ray and HD-DVD?
  • Is Apple's Vision Pro going to take off?
  • What would today's junior engineers say, in 5 years time?

Plus, a great piece of insight from Kevin I stand by wholeheartedly:

"A design system should be designed to be used, not just as a collection of random components and docs."

Listen now on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

What we discussed

  • 0:00:00 — Introduction
  • 0:00:49 — Welcome Kevin Coyle
  • 0:02:29—How did you get into Design Systems? Where did it all start?
  • 0:06:39—What it's like working on Helix, Pfizer's Design System
  • 0:09:20—Overcoming resistance to adopting a system
  • 0:13:28—Origins and intentions behind DatePickers and Hero sections
  • 0:16:42—How to approach each new client
  • 0:19:17—Thorny experiences of open source development
  • 0:20:39—Where does an "open mindset" come from?
  • 0:23:00—"Design systems are simply a collection of decisions"
  • 0:24:34—How strict to be following your system guidelines?
  • 0:29:54—What's the future of Design Systems, and does AI affect it?
  • 0:37:51—How does AI affect the incoming workforce's skillsets?
  • 0:43:56—Gen Z don't know what a "folder" or "directory" is
  • 0:45:55—CD's, cassette tapes, and ownership of media
  • 0:52:16—Kevin's sci-fi novel
  • 0:52:59—AR, Apple Vision Pro, and the beauty of spatial design
  • 1:00:30—3-dimensional Design Systems, and abstracting physical actions
  • 1:02:24—ChatGPT coaching Kevin on writing his sci-fi novel
  • 1:06:25—Last words of wisdom from Kevin

Blurb: The Echo Point Paradox

Kevin's sci-fi novel is still being worked on, but here's a teaser:

In an analogue future, "The Echopoint Paradox" unravels the clandestine endeavours of Ada Chen, an ambitious physicist harbouring a secret. A device of her creation, Echopoint, promises a revolution: instantaneous communication through the immeasurable abyss of space.

Yet, Echopoint exacts a dreadful toll on its users. Haunting visions and disturbing psychological aftershocks plague those who dare to engage. Despite these dire consequences, the allure of transmitting messages across light years is an irresistible siren call.

But be forewarned: within the resonating void of Echopoint, the voice you hear might not belong solely to your intended recipient. In this realm of quantum whispers, you are never truly alone.


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