• 39th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference - March 18 - 22,2024 at the Anaheim Marriott

    The Premier AT Conference

38th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Taking the Design(er) Out of the Design System

Date & Time
Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - 1:20 PM PST  
Platinum 7-8  
While the title was chosen to spark interest and engage a good debate amongst designers and accessibility engineers, design and designers should never be excluded from the creation of a design system. More so the purpose of a design system should be reprioritized with a primary focus on the people who directly engage with the products built with design systems and secondary focus on teams who use design systems to build products. The goal being a highly useable and accessible system which has been facilitated by visual design, not lead by it. Reprioritizing the purpose of a design system: Firstly, to benefit people and secondly, teams that build products. Multidisciplinary collaboration: Adopt a collaboration first approach. Subgroups for each component consist of design, accessibility, engineering, and test to collaborate at all stages of the component creation process. Research and Testing: Include people and make them the primary focus in testing and research. Incorporate Usability, A/B Testing and people journey exploration through personas. Consistency across components: Explore the bigger picture. Contextual testing of components grouped together instead of in silo. Going beyond WCAG: Be groundbreaking instead of minimum accessibility. Challenging historically accepted common patterns: Test patterns and see which work best as not all common patterns are as accessible as they could be. Instead of “X did this” and “X did that” why not “Our design system puts people first”  
  • Higher Education
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Healthcare & Rehabilitation
  • Research & Development
  • Marketing
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
Reprioritizing the purpose of a design system, to focus on the people at the forefront. Consider people of all abilities by going beyond WCAG and be groundbreaking in terms of accessibility, in order to build a better design system for everyone.  
Primary Topic
Digital Accessibility  
Secondary Topics
  • Design
  • Development
  • Research
Session Type
General Track  


  • Michael Hanton
  • Gareth Crossan
  • Michael Keane

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