.02 Language

Alkami Design Language

One part philosophy, one part framework. These statements form the foundation for everything we do, and inform the hundreds of decisions that go into designing and building on the Alkami Platform. This is the "why".

Philosophies
Frameworks

Be Human

Digital experiences should be designed around human needs; not technology stacks. Infuse delight by giving users what they need always.

Be Conversational

Communicate with users in everyday language, and de-abstract the technology powering the platform. Maintain a voice in 2nd person (you and your, not I and my), and provide clear and simple instructions.

Infuse Delight

Tap into as many senses as possible through sound, haptics, and visual elements to delight the user while also informing them. Provide visual feedback through transitions and animations. And take advantage of gestures and interactions common to native mobile apps.

Design For Comfort

Don’t make the user work to discover features or accomplish tasks. Help them understand where they came from, what they can do within the current view, and where they can go next (no dead ends, please). Keep navigation and calls to action in the thumb zone. Limit visual stops to 3 or less to make it easy for users to mind map.

Make It Accessible

By default, design should provide enough color contrast that low-vision users can see content. But also avoid toxic design patterns that prevent built-in accessibility gestures and keyboard commands from doing their job. Utilize gestures and conventions native to each device.

Design With Data

Now more than ever, we humans turn to our digital devices for just about everything. Collect the right data, and use it to inform designs.

Challenge Assumptions

If the answer to “Why?” is “That’s how we’ve always done it,” then rethink the solution. Don’t assume the user will (or won’t) be able to figure it out – test it and see. Always inform decisions with data.

Clarify The Problem

Recognizing the actual need is the primary condition for design. Verify with users that the problem is actually a problem. Work to understand why a problem exists – there may be an underlying issue to address first.

Inform The Solution

Always inform solutions with data, not predispositions, trends, or subjective opinions.

Think Ahead

Design solutions should work at scale while also enabling flexibility for configuration and personalization. Repeatability & predictability.

Design For Scale

Find common patterns and conventions, and use the appropriate solution every time. Design with reusable patterns, templates, and flows to help users quickly mind map a journey, so prior experience within the app helps them know what to do next.

Enable Personalization

Understand where the user is coming from (in life and in-app) to provide predictive experiences and improve the experience. Being situationally aware ensures the appropriate tone and messaging. Design solutions that allow for FI-level configuration and user-level personalization.

Guide The User

When the design doesn't leave the user guessing where they are, what they can do, and where they can go next – that’s user friendly design.

Color As Affordance

White-label themable products present design challenges. Balance brand reinforcement while ensuring users see possible actions. Tastefully using brand colors helps users immediately see possible actions and build intuitive mental models.

Guideposts

Build user trust and reduce friction by helping them understand where they are in the app.

"Just-In-Time" Design

For a clean and modern experience, give the user what they need when they need it rather than presenting all features/functions at once.

Keep It Simple

Less is better. The less UI in a view, the less cognitive demand from users. Keep things clean and simple. Users will thank you for it.

Let It Breathe

One way to design clean and simple experiences is to tastefully limit the amount of UI within view. White space between visual groupings lets experiences breathe.

Content Over Style

Users expect clean and simple experiences. Place emphasis on content to avoid over-designing the experience.

Think Outside The Box

Visually grouping content should be achieved with white space and contrast, not boxes within boxes.

Optimized Experience

Design the experience to best compliment the users environment, mood, fears, needs, and challenges. Meet the user where they are in life.

Be Deviceful

iOS and Android platforms have many similar conventions, but also many unique solutions to common UI challenges. Respect the conventions of each platform and provide a familiar experience to help the user understand constructs, affordances, and possibilities within the app.

Keep It Readable, Searchable, Scannable

In our fast-paced world, we’re constantly filtering out messages. As designers, we should facilitate quick and effortless consumption in an experience.

Understand The Context

Where did the user come from, and where will they want to go afterwards? Is this a happy, stressful, frustrating, or neutral situation for the user?

Design Is Never Done

Digital experiences are never truly complete; and can be refined over time to meet changes in platforms, technology, and user needs.

Give Honest Feedback

Feedback is a gift. Every user has a different set of beliefs, experiences, biases, and preferences that can bring new context and value to design.

Iterate ^3

Designers can always get smarter and improve a solution over time – there’s no such thing as a perfect design. Your first idea is rarely the best idea, so it’s best to get out many ideas early and refine over time.

Nothing Is Precious

It’s easy to get attached to a design, but remember: things change. As you get smarter and discover new needs and limitations, things will evolve.

Color

Our goal is to create a color system that not only helps users subconsciously understand and map experiences, but also reinforce our customers' brand in a scalable way.

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Elevation

The system of presenting relevant content to the user, and hiding unnecessary content off screen through the use of surfaces and vertical space.

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Emphasis

As users move throughout a digital experience, varying levels of attention are given subconsciously. Levels of emphasis are ways designers can ensure the right level of attention is given in any scenario.

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Motion

Movement within a digital experience that simulates real life with the intent to inform, orient, and delight the user.

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Spacing & Sizing

The intentional and scalable system of maintaining distance between visual elements, and the size assignments of each element.

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Type Scale

Typography plays a special role in user-experience design. It can help provide affordance for interaction, set up guideposts, and, most commonly, display information. The more complex a product is the more refined its typography system needs to be.

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