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Key takeaways from the Digital Campus Design and Infrastructure announcement

Here are the most important things for developers to take away from last week's announcement.

Scott Anthony Murray

Mar 05, 2019

At the beginning of February, Karen Fuson, IU’s Chief Marketing Officer, asked Brian Hawkins to take the lead on forming a Digital Campus Design & Infrastructure group.

This new group will look for ways to combine the UX Office, IU Communications’ web and UX teams, and UITS’s Content Systems team into a single unit in an effort to create more accessible, consistent, and effective experiences across all our digital products.

You can read Brian’s full announcement on the Web Community of Practice Slack channel or the Enterprise Systems Slack channel.

Toward a unified design system #

One of this group’s major initiatives will be a unified design system that combines Rivet and the IU Web Style Guide. This new unified system will be used to design both web applications and marketing websites that serve the university’s various audiences.

In an effort to help make clear what this unified design system initiative means for people building software at IU, here are some key takeaways from Brian’s announcement for developers:

You don’t have to stop what you’re doing #

The move to a unified design system won’t happen tomorrow, next week, or next month. You can continue to use Rivet in both current projects and new projects, and we’ll continue to support Rivet for the foreseeable future.

As we move through the process of assembling the new design system, we’ll be sure to provide roadmaps, communicate often with the developer community, and lay out multiple ways to give feedback.

We won’t stop what we’re doing #

The Rivet team is continuing to work through the 2019 roadmap and we aim to make good on all the commitments we’ve made in it.

A gradual and smooth transition is important #

A major priority for the unified design system team is providing clear and simple migration paths for folks using Rivet.

We intend to build the new design system in a way that makes it as straightforward as possible to update your application when the time comes. We also plan on making the new design system backwards-compatible with Rivet for those who need a little more runway.

Developers and marketers will be equals #

A big motivator for Rivet’s development was the recognition that web applications have unique needs when it comes to design, and new IU-branded assets were needed to better accommodate software in ways the existing marketing-focused assets weren’t able to.

While the new unified design system must work for both software and websites, application developers will have an equal seat at the table with marketers. Decisions about what goes into the design system will consider the needs of people building applications at IU, whether it’s a new component, a suite of templates, or a set of branding guidelines to be followed by everyone.

The design system team is also working toward a modular approach that would allow a developer to pull down only what they need for their application, rather than having to take the entire package with all the marketing and media bits.

Developer feedback is critical #

In addition to the Development Partners program laid out in Brian’s message, we’ll also be reaching out to application development groups for more direct feedback on the design system as it comes together.

How to ask questions #

If you have questions about this announcement and what it would mean for your team, you can reach out on the Rivet Slack channel or send a message to the Rivet mailing list.

You can also reach out privately at