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Upcoming event: design tool vendor roundtable

Design tool vendors are invited to participate in our first roundtable. This 2-hour event is open to companies who build digital product design apps and platforms, as well as bodies such as the CSS working group and Google, who are influencing the state of product design at a large scale.

Date: March 24th, 2020 from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM (Pacific Time)

Objectives

  • Get to know each other, put faces on names
  • Gauge appetite for design tokens standardization
  • Align on core principles driving standardization efforts
  • Gather use-cases the DTCG should prioritize (identify 5 to 10 user needs shared by vendors, extract the most common ones)
  • Seek help from vendors to edit and give feedback on parts of the specification
    • Next step: workshops with editors and vendors on focused areas such as color data types, format, syntax…
  • Hear diverse opinions from the vendor community
  • Vendors: you’ll hear where the rest of the industry is headed, and get an opportunity to ask questions to DTCG chairs and editors

Agenda

  • Introductions
  • DTCG presentation (Jina and Kaelig)
  • Vendor presentations
  • Roundtable discussion

Introductions

Each participant presents themselves using this format:

  • Name and pronouns
  • Current position & employer, and relevant past experience
  • What you’re most excited about when it comes to design tooling

DTCG presentation

Co-chairs Jina and Kaelig will set the context by sharing a short presentation:

  • Short history of design tokens, and why the DTCG?
  • Quick description of the DTCG’s processes
  • Current state of the format specification draft
  • Future of design tokens

Vendor presentations

Each vendor has 5 minutes to talk about the state of design tokens in their product, and will take questions from the rest of the roundtable (5 min). Free form, at your discretion (speech, presentation, demo… no pitches, please).

It’s okay to play a recording of your presentation if you’d prefer to pre-record it, or if you can’t make it to this meeting.

Examples of topics the community group and other vendors would be interested in:

  • What features in your product currently resemble design tokens (inspect/code panels, shared styles/libraries, import/export color palettes…)?
  • What’s the appetite (if any) from your customers for design tokens in your product?
  • Have you thought about design tokens being part of your product? Is it already on your roadmap? If so, what areas of your product would benefit the most from design tokens? Can you share concept designs with the rest of the group?

Roundtable discussion

Resolution proposals are voted upon by attendees. They are assumptions we believe to be true and will help the DTCG move forward with support from the vendors. If a proposed resolution isn’t adopted, it will result in further discussions to rephrase it or reassess its relevance.

Attendees are expected to prepare to share opinions and to ask questions or voice their disagreement when they have reservations on a topic.

  1. Proposed resolution: the digital design and development industry would benefit from a standardized technical approach to sharing stylistic properties across tools and codebases.
  2. Proposed resolution: a standardized approach to styling across design tools and codebases would make design/development collaboration cheaper, faster, more integrated for customers.
  3. Open question: what’s the smallest set of functionality that the original spec draft should cover to make it implementable and useful to your users? Think: base format & grammar, composite tokens, colors, typography…?
  4. Open question: do you see your tool’s primary use case as consuming design tokens, outputting design tokens, managing design tokens…?
  5. Open question: what, if anything, would be a non-starter or hard requirement for supporting a design token specification (legally, technically…)?
  6. Open question: should this specification aim to standardize some naming and nesting conventions, or entirely leave that to users and tools? For example: “colors”/”typography”/”spacing” top-level categories, names such as “primary brand”, “color-<range #>” for palettes, …
  7. Open question: to naming concepts such as data types, should the specification follow existing conventions such as the ones in CSS or stay away from it? For example: how would you feel if it used the familiar “line-height” vs the more typographically-accurate “leading”, or another name like “line spacing”?

A report from this roundtable will be posted here or on GitHub in the weeks following the event.

Current list of companies that have been contacted to attend, in no particular order: Google (Material Design), Framer, Marvel, ZeroHeight, Axure, Figma, Sketch, Adobe (XD), Interplay, Knapsack, Arcade, UXPin, and the representatives of tools such as Style Dictionary and Specify who are also editors on the DTCG.

One Response to Upcoming event: design tool vendor roundtable

  • Kaelig Deloumeau-Prigent

    In the spirit of transparency to the rest of the community group, I’d like to share an email I just sent to the attendees of the roundtable.

    Hi everyone, thank you again for attending the first roundtable! We hope it was
    as informative for you as it was for us. The accumulated experience and
    influence of the people on this call was quite mind bending! Together, we have
    an unprecedented opportunity to improve interoperability across development and
    design tooling at scale.

    Sadly, we didn’t have time to address all questions – and we’d love to hear back
    from you. You’ll find all the questions in the slide deck [1] or in the blog
    post [2].

    [1]:
    https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1FVvk9BpzduZHzCUn18lnnWHaFEaHzqeo5lEsI7-Jg2w/edit#slide=id.gc951b70e76_1_56
    [2]:
    https://www.w3.org/community/design-tokens/2021/03/09/upcoming-event-design-tool-vendor-roundtable/

    Please email me and Jina (, )
    with your thoughts on the topics that seem the most relevant to you, and we’ll
    share them with the editors.

    ## Let’s talk next steps

    ### By end of week

    – You’ll get access to the first Editor’s Draft of the Design Tokens
    specification, the team is excited to get your feedback (we’re looking for the
    best way to gather feedback, more on that in our next email)

    ### Over the next two weeks

    – We’re going to invite you (or developers at your respective companies) to join
    focus groups to help accelerate implementability and disambiguate the spec in
    various areas
    – You’ll get a transcript and video of the roundtable, and you’ll have a week to
    let us know if you want us to redact anything before we make it accessible to
    the broader public
    – We’ll also post a recap of the roundtable on the DTCG’s blog

    Thank you, we’ll be in touch shortly.

    Kaelig

    Reply

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