Branding navigation, hamburger menus, design systems, inspiring change and more.

In this episode we will answer listener questions about if main navigation should just get you around or project a brand image, if there such a thing as “necessary evils” in design, my take on having Design Systems in a large enterprise, how to inspire change in small organizations, and how travel inspires my creativity and approach.

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One of my favorite things to do are these shows where I am able to answer listener questions. I normally go through and create these shows in a vacuum so I love the moments when this is more of a conversation than a way one lecture. This show is built from questions people just sent me and some people who responded to my call for questions over social media,

Disclaimer!* – so sorry if pronounce someone’s name incorrectly. I did it in the past, I always feel horrible when I find out I did but please know I’m now doing it on purpose.

Question 1

Should the main navigation of a site just get you around or should it project the brand image and philosophy?
From Michael Bowes

I think every interaction can build a brand – navigation, animation, imagery, and more. 

A few other important things think about 

But there is something else that I think navigation can tell you – if you company is broken or now. If the nav mirrors the org chart of the company you are in trouble.

Question 2

Is there such a thing as “necessary evils” in design? I have been seeing that the Hamburger Menu is much maligned in design lately – but Apple, Google and many other still use it. I wonder why.
From Daniel Gill

Hamburger menus are interesting. I personally think they are a lazy solution and often a dumping ground for out of control navigation. Apple  killed them out of their design standards and X Code library a few years ago. 

I would say there are no necessary evils. You need to pay attention to operating system design standards and patterns. You can break anything you want but break it consistently.

Question 3

What is your take on having Design Systems in a large enterprise setup?
Advantage: Having reusable UI components aids consistency, usability, and familiarity. This in turn helps designers improve efficiency and focus on larger problems to solve.
Disadvantage: Designers sacrifice user context for efficiency and consistency. They are forced to pickup UI components from the available library. They start weaving the screens from the library set and stop solving users problems.
From Arun Murugesan

Something I have been focus on a lot over the past few years building the Citi DDL and then helping to launch InVision DSM. Completely agree on the advantages. I think if those are the disadvantages you see then you make want to rethink the way you have built and are using your design system. You have balance consistency without losing creativity. 

I build system with atoms (colors, fonts button), molecules (simple combinations),  and organisms (key reusable parts) but stop there. 

I have found building templates and pages are the problem because

I find the balance with

Question 4

How to inspire change in small organizations, especially when you are new to the company?
From Stephanie Lopez Hayna

Working to change small organizations can be really hard. Start by finding something small you can start working on. Find some success with that and then start to build on it. Don’t try to change everything at once. It is going to take time and you are going to have to build on small advance on another to get where you want to go.

Question 5

How does travel inspire your creativity and approach to work?
From māk·mor on Twitter

Travel is one of my greatest inspirations. Meet new people. See new perspectives. Because we all share the creative condition and want to create ideas. But it is what influences those ideas from a cultural and historical perspective that I find so fascinating. It only works if you are open to those new experiences even if they are something new and uncomfortable.

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