One ‘design system’ doesn’t fit all

  1. We create a huge library that has all the components for all possible products, services and context
  2. We break apart the library so people only access the pieces that are relevant for what they’re working on.

Context is critical

In my two years with the Government of Canada, I’ve worked across three different groups designing technical solutions for different users.

  1. Public Works and Procurement Canada (as part of a fellowship with Code for Canada, working on “re-imagining Government travel”)
  2. Transport Canada (working on the Enterprise Architecture team supporting multiple development teams and internal applications)
  3. Canada Revenue Agency (focusing on our public-facing web presence, )

Now, we don’t want to go overboard..

This is not to say that every team should just go do its own thing. Not at all! But ideally we are learning from each other and applying what’s useful to our own context, and discarding what’s not.

So.. what then?

There are some great resources in the private sector that are working on resolving these issues now for themselves, looking at a “system of systems” or “global-local” model.



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Andrea F Hill

Andrea F Hill


Sr UX Specialist with Canada Revenue Agency, former web dev and product person. 🔎 Lifelong learner. Unapologetic introvert. Plant-powered marathoner. Cat mom.