A Live Developer Journal

Mini design system and book note screen designs

After a week or so of going down a rabbit hole of design systems, I have learned a lot.

I have spent the last couple of days making my own mini design system. It contains the basic building blocks of a consistent design, like typography, colors, button states, elevation, icons and rounded corners.

This styleguide is small enough that you can click and drag it around, which is useful for color-dropping and duplicating buttons and backgrounds.

I then designed a couple of mobile screens for the re-design of this website. When I published this site, I purposefully published it as a raw HTML site, then made it slightly better so that I could focus on publishing content, which is the whole point of this site.

small design system and mobile screens for displaying book notes

What I love about this approach, is that I can spend as much time as I want making the design look really nice, instead of worrying about rushing to make it live. It's also been really helpful seeing patterns emerge in the content that I am producing day-to-day. Most of my posts are pretty long and conversational. While this is great, there is a ton of bitesize chunks of advice and strategies that will be more useful to readers (and myself) if they were extracted and polish as standalone snippets that are more accessible.

Talking about accessibility, as I build out this site, my aim is to make it as standards compliant as possible in terms of structure and accessibility. I'll be documenting this entire approach because I do a lot of things differently, and have some nuances in knowledge that have come about from many rabbit hole research and experiment sessions. These are the kind of things that could be really useful for other people to be exposed to, and for me to get feedback and thoughts.

This project is going to take a fair amount of time to design and build out, but it's a total joy project so that's okay. The difficult thing is managing time between this, work and all the other technical stuff I'm trying to learn (Pharo, Kotlin, TDD, Object-oriented, design patterns etc).

I'm actually taking a week off this week. I feel pretty bad about it because it's due to PTSD-related issues. Have burned out a little and really struggling to keep positive about my programming abilities. Or more specifically, I'm really struggling to build programs that adhere to principles and practices that have taken experienced members of my team years to learn. While I don't have perfectionist issues with this blog anymore, they are crippling me programming-wise.

This week my aim is to chill the heck out. I can't keep doing 16 hour days with bare minimum breaks. 8 hours of that time is hobby stuff. I absolutely love all things programming, and as an extreme minimalist, it's pretty much my default thing to do. Though I've definitely been going overboard and am paying for it right now. As soon as I stop work my mood crashes to the point of being suicidal and it's extremely difficult to manage PTSD triggers. I absolutely cannot stand being emotionally fragile and unable to sort it out, so need to prioritise self care to minimize the risk of this getting worse (and hopefully to make it better).

Anywho, design systems are fun!