IBM’s New Design Language
Written by Michael Felt
The first beta release of IBM Human Interface Guidelines was released in December 2013.
It provides the foundation for a new design language, beginning with typography,
iconography and color. The IBM Human Interface Guidelines (IBM HIG) will replace OneUI.
This first beta release,
IBM Design Language v0.5 (PDF), is now in public review, and we
encourage everyone to participate via the
“Introducing the IBM Design Language” blog before
v1 is launched in March, 2014.
The first beta release of IBM Human Interface Guidelines will be available
in December. It will provide the foundation for a new design language, beginning
with typography, iconography and color. The IBM Human Interface Guidelines
(IBM HIG) will replace OneUI. When released in December, there will be a period
of open comments, discussion and editing before v1 is launched March, 2014.
OneUI has been useful. Since it was first worked on in 2007 the world has
dramatically changed. The iPhone with no App Store and no copy/paste capability,
running iOS 1.0, was released that year. There was no Android; there was no
iPad… these would be invented after OneUI was conceived. NetBooks were
going to rule the world and web applications were still driven by the massive
installed base of Internet Explorer 6.
It’s time for new guidelines for the modern world.
Our product portfolio is diverse and it’s complex. It affects many
different types of users, from end-users to developers to administrators. They
each have unique needs and work across our capabilities in different contexts.
We have to drive innovation and do a better job of implementing common work
patterns, as opposed to putting all our emphasis on surface-level consistency;
there is a balance we need to begin striking.
We acquire companies who have made implementation choices that may be very
good, and we need to encourage continued innovation as a priority over short-term
technical consistency. We also are striving for new levels of user engagement and
interface excellence both in existing browser-based environments and in new ones,
like tablets and smart phones. Therefore, we have to move to new implementation
approaches. Dojo is no longer a requirement but must be considered alongside
other accepted approaches within IBM, like GWT or jQuery. As with our interface
guidelines, technology must serve the Design, not the other way around. Again,
we need to strike the right balance between consistency and innovation.
Excellence is the goal, not expediency.
The IBM HIG will focus on getting that right balance between innovation and
consistency, allowing us to continually reinvent our interactions, our UIs, and
our implementation approaches. We must drive faster in our quest for user-centric
innovation in our products and custom solutions — just as IBM itself
constantly reimagines and reinvents our role in the world.
Coming soon, the IBM HIG will propel us forward, while also improving how our
brand manifests inside our products and custom solutions.