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A design system to help unify Telstra Health

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The problem

Telstra Health have over 30 digital products in the healthcare sector. These products were developed on a variety of platforms by different teams, which inevitably led to inconsistencies in their look and feel. Without clear design guidelines, product teams were wasting time re-inventing the wheel ever time they created a new interface.

To solve this problem we worked closely with Telstra Health to develop a comprehensive design system which could be shared through the organisation. This design system helped their products to become a unified, cohesive suite delivering on a shared vision.

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The process

By speaking to each of the product teams it soon became clear that every product was at a different point in it's life cycle—some were brand new while others had been in development for many years. We quickly realised the design system we were creating needed to be flexible enough to cater for older technologies but also to be able to evolve and adapt for the future.

We also realised that since some teams didn't have a dedicated designer on board, the design system also had to be simple enough for non-designers to use as well.

We audited every one of the 33 products by printing out key screens and assessing the UI elements and user flows. Breaking each interface down in to pieces helped us recognise that many of the products performed similar tasks and presented identical data.

These similarities meant we could create a suite of common design components that could be used across multiple Telstra Health products.

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The output

We created a new colour palette, defined rules for typography and spacing and created a library of common icons and form elements. These were reviewed by medical practitioners to ensure they met industry standards. Each of these components was also designed to be scalable so that they could adapt to different screen sizes.

 Some of the fundamental components of the design system

Some of the fundamental components of the design system

The real test came when it was time to apply the design system to over 50 different interfaces across the product suite. Because of the reusable components in the design system, each screen took less than 15 minutes to design. This meant that what would previously have been an enormous undertaking was finished in no time at all.

 Insuring the design components are responsive and work within different screen sizes.

Insuring the design components are responsive and work within different screen sizes.

A design system is only valuable if it's embraced by the organisation, so it was important to get everyone at Telstra Health on board. To do this we ran in-person showcases at critical stages of the project with the product leaderships teams, and established a fortnightly design forum to discuss the design systems implementation.

We also created an internal website to share the design system with the organisation, explain the rational behind it and give easy access to all of its components and guidelines.

"I was skeptical at first but this is great! My dev team are also onboard. We love it." — David Bacon 'Lead designer'

 Spacing and grid guidelines

Spacing and grid guidelines

The result

The design system has now become the foundation for building product interfaces at Telstra Health. Telstra Health's design team are developing new components and making improvements to it every day, making it a living document that is constantly adapting to the needs of their customers.

By eliminating product inconsistencies, and encouraging collaboration, the design systems has allowed Telstra Health's teams to spend less time on design and more time on what's really important to their customers.


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