Ki Series / 13th Dec 2022

Design at Ki and the importance of systematic design

There's a focus on the importance of design systems at Ki Insurance, where scalability, consistency, and faster iterations are key - George Xanthos explains more.

George Xanthos

Senior Product Designer

Ki, Design systems and why they’re important

Ki is one of the UK’s fastest growing insurance businesses. As our business and teams scale, we need to make sure the way we design software is scalable too. We’re working hard to establish our own design system so we can drive scalability, consistency, and be able to manage our designs better, while also driving faster iterations. 

A design system is a living, breathing product in itself, enabling product teams to manage design principles at scale. A design system should be centrally managed and easily accessible, setting standards for things like code components, component and pattern libraries, interaction principles, style guides, brand colours, typography, tone of voice, iconography and UX writing guides (to name a few). 

A design system grows in tandem with your product. As you learn more about your users, and uncover new requirements, a systematic approach ensures consistency and scalability. 

A few examples of impressive design systems are: 


Product design at Ki, and my role as a product designer

At Ki, our diverse team combines insurance industry expertise, experience design, technology and algorithmic science. 

Our goal is to be the pioneering insur-tech business revolutionising the Lloyd’s insurance market. As a design team, we do this by ensuring our product is intuitive for our partner Brokers. 

As the Senior Product Designer at Ki, I am responsible for optimising the user experience of our product, ensuring what we build is loved by our users and is commercially viable. 


The 4 main benefits of a proper design system

1.     Scalability

As your product grows and scales, new features get added along the way, sometimes by different teams and designers. If you don’t have a design system in place for everyone to work from, designers might tackle tasks individually and inconsistently. 

With a systematic approach, a single source of truth means consistency across even the biggest of teams. You can also work faster knowing problems have already been solved and tested before. 


2.     Consistency

Consistency helps build brand recognition across multiple touch points and creates a better experience for our customers. 


3.     Manage design and code debt

If you design and build with short term goals, reusability is ignored, which can create conflicting patterns and duplicate components. It’s inefficient and affects speed dramatically. 

When using a design system, we take into consideration all those best practices, and by applying the atomic design principles we have the flexibility to: 

  • Modify and create variants. 
  • Account for edge cases or different states. 
  • Make sure usability and accessibility requirements are being met. 


4.     Faster iterations and releases

Iterative design at Ki lets us harness the benefits of the lean approach by putting out products quickly, failing fast, learning and building an improved version. Design Systems facilitate this whole approach by speeding up each stage of the design process. 

Iterating on a feature/page using Figma – by dragging components onto the artboard – cuts down a considerable amount of time for design. We can also quickly mock up high fidelity prototypes to test during user interviews or online sessions. 


The mission of the design team

“To make our Products more intuitive, learnable and coherent by creating attractive, unified, and consistent experiences.” 

We support our product management team throughout discovery and delivery by using UX heuristics, design thinking frameworks and Design Sprints to move fast, prototype, validate and iterate.  


Our core principles of product design

  • Familiar and reliable - use best practices and recognisable patterns, don’t reinvent the wheel. 
  • Purposeful – design for user tasks and for jobs to be done. 
  • Intuitive and efficient - create experiences that allow our users to achieve their goals quickly 
  • Clear and constrained – don’t overwhelm users with unwanted noise. Be intentional with design decisions at all times. 


Join our growing, ambitious team

Feel free to reach out and chat via DM if you are interested in design systems, UX and product design in general. We have several design roles in our growing User Experience Team at Ki and we would love to hear from you. Let’s start talking! 

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