- GitLab Direction
- Product Stage Vision - Create
- Group Direction - Ecosystem
- Category Direction - Frontend & UX Foundations
The following page may contain information related to upcoming products, features and functionality. It is important to note that the information presented is for informational purposes only, so please do not rely on the information for purchasing or planning purposes. Just like with all projects, the items mentioned on the page are subject to change or delay, and the development, release, and timing of any products, features or functionality remain at the sole discretion of GitLab Inc.
This direction is constantly evolving, and everyone can contribute:
- Please comment, thumbs-up (or down!), and contribute to the linked issues and
epics on this category page. Sharing your feedback directly on GitLab.com is
the best way to contribute to our vision.
- Please share feedback directly via email,
Twitter or on a video call. If you’re a GitLab
UI or Pajamas user and have direct knowledge of your needs, we’d especially
love to hear from you.
The Frontend & UX Foundations team is responsible for leading the direction of the experience design, visual style, and technical tooling of the GitLab product. This category encompasses two broad areas of focus:
- Tooling-focused enhancements
- User-focused enhancements
Tooling-focused enhancements include:
- Improving webpack and optimizing frontend assets for better performance.
- Improving the debugging experience, linters, and documentation with an emphasis on performance.
- Shepherding migrations away from deprecated technologies.
- Reducing technical debt.
- Addressing Progressive Web Application needs.
User-focused enhancements include:
- Building a cohesive and consistent user experience, visually and functionally. This allows users to seemlessly transition throughout different stages of the DevOps lifecycle.
- Providing comprehensive usage guidelines, reusable components, content standards, and usability documentation in order to increase speed-to-market.
- Building in accessibility to ensure that all users can contribute, consume, and interact with all areas of the application.
- Reducing user experience and design debt.
Both of these areas lead to a greater user and contributor experience while increasing operational efficiency. We aim to create functional growth that scales for the long term. Our goal with the foundations team is to treat the underlying foundation of GitLab as a first-class internal product which supports product designers, engineers, and product managers to more efficiently perform their roles.
As the GitLab product expands to include offerings for the entire DevOps lifecycle, it is critical to provide support for building a cohesive product that has the ability to replace disparate DevOps toolchains.
To serve these needs, we will work with the Groups and Categories
across GitLab to contribute to our design system, Pajamas, while also continuing to define guidelines and best practices that will inform how these teams are designing and building products. Additionally, this team will act as a centralized resource, helping to triage large scale technical and experience problems as the need arises.
Foundations is focused on supporting internal users and product teams, with a focus on four cross-functional counterparts: Product Designers, Technical Writers, Engineers, and Product Managers.
We also aim to improve the community contributor experience by streamlining the process of writing consistent code that conforms to set practices.
What’s in progress, next, and later
- Creating a comprehensive action plan for integrating components into the GitLab product. We started with 8 components that had the most impact on improving our performance. Working with Frontend, we identified all instances of those components and are currently migrating them to use Pajamas over the course of FY21.
- Auditing and updating button color, meaning, hierarchy, placement, and accessibility A large variety of button variants make it more difficult for users to determine which actions are available in a given context, while also hindering accessibility and creating unclear hierarchy. With this effort, we will reduce visual clutter, avoid color combinations that impact users with color blindness, and let category, order, and placement define hierarchy. After validating the solution, we will ensure that documentation is clear and Engineering has clear guidance on when and how to use buttons across the application. To do this, we will audit and update the top 40 visited pages in order to provide concrete examples that will help other teams contribute.
- Building comprehensive accessibility standards into our workflows. As GitLab continues to grow in unique monthly active users, so does our users who would benefit from increased accessibility testing and enhancements. In order to support this work, we are creating accessibility audit guides and best practices documentation.
- Deprecating Font Awesome icons in favor of our own SVG library.
- Continue building comprehensive accessibility standards into our workflows through education. Education is one of the most important and impactful areas we can focus on in order to improve accessibility. Increased knowledge of accessibility standards, guidelines, and other requirements give designers and engineers a broadened perspective, as well as the ability to implement more effective accessibility solutions.
- Work with stage groups to help improve navigation. Because navigation spans across all stage groups, Foundations has a unique opportunity to help teams bridge conflicting issues.
- Continue integrating Pajamas components into the product. Over the course of FY21, we worked to integrate 8 Vue components into the product. There are a number of HAML components left to complete this work. Other impactful components to fully integrate include: Forms, Checkboxes, Radios, Search, and Filters.
- Integrating UI, markdown, and documentation markdown type scales into the product. Currently within the application, HTML headings are defined based on visual appearance. This can make it difficult for browsers, plug-ins, and assistive technologies to provide correct in-page navigation. To fix this, our three typescales need to be fully integrated into the product and each page needs to be audited to ensure that current HTML headings are being used. This will also improve the application visually through the use of consistent vertical rhythm, line-heights, and margins.
- Improving dark mode. Our alpha release of dark mode was a first step towards creating a fully accessible and tested dark mode that functions equally as well as our light mode. In order to progress dark mode out of it's alpha stage, we need to integrate a testing strategy into our product development workflow to ensure that both dark and light modes are tested during development. We also need define guidelines for color to ensure components meet accessibility standards.
- Increase the ability of Pajamas to be adopted in other systems. By abstracting out variables and attributes (like color, spacing, typography, etc.) into what is called "design tokens," we can make it more efficient for everything in the GitLab ecosystem to use a single source of truth for baseline styles. For example, this would mean that everything from the marketing website to the product, and email to docs could use the same exact orange hex value in the same exact way.
- Increase icon fidelity. We make substantial use of icons, and should explore how icon weight (heavy or light stroke) impacts everything from legibility to efficacy of conveying metaphors.
What we've accomplished
* [Creating, building, and styling foundation components](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-services/design.gitlab.com/-/boards/1261225?&label_name=OKR). We identified 36 foundational components that are central to building and maintaining features at GitLab. In order to streamline the process of implementing components, we’ve defined four stages of a component lifecycle: Create, Build, Style, and Integrate. This first effort was to complete the first three stages (create, build, and style) of the 36 foundational components. This allowed designers and engineers to have a robust system to draw from when designing and building GitLab products.
* [Moving our Pajamas UI Kit from Sketch to Figma](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-design/-/boards/1511008?&label_name=Figma). The move to Figma allowed for greater collaboration, as well as community contributions. Previously, Sketch was only available on Mac platforms and there was no real-time collaboration features. Figma allowed us to provide a UI Kit that is available across platforms, while being available for community contributors to utilize for free. It also promoted collaboration through its use of real-time editing capabilities and version history. We are now able to streamline developer handoff by simply linking to the design file, reducing the need for additional plugins such as Sketch Measure.
* [Updating our color palette](https://gitlab.com/groups/gitlab-org/-/epics/2964) to address color contrast for accessibility, and to normalize the palette across hues so that we can better systematize variable use throughout the UI.
* [Auditing and updating our existing VPAT.](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-services/design.gitlab.com/-/merge_requests/2155) With the release of VPAT 2.4 508, we set out to update our template with the new criteria and ensure that our results from the previous round of testing were accurate. The VPAT is important for many organizations to audit GitLab's maturity in terms of accessibility, as well as provide a baseline for improvements that the team can work to address.
What we’re not doing
Building and integrating all components across GitLab. The scope of this category is to provide guidance and governance for our design system and related tooling, and is staffed with dedicated UX designers to support that. However, creating those components and implementing them throughtout the application is a massive lift that requires participation from every Group and Category. While FE/UX Foundations has some Frontend Engineering capacity, it can’t be responsible for creating and implementing everything.
Today, we consider our FE/UX Foundations to be Viable. Below is how we think we’ll grow that maturity level over time:
- Viable: A centralized system exists for product teams to contribute cohesive and consistent assets that aid in building the GitLab product. Documentation is in place to help offer guidance. Some reusable components exist and adhere to usage guidelines. Accessibility standards are followed in some cases. (Where we are today)
- Complete: A centralized system exists for product teams to contribute cohesive and consistent assets that aid in building the GitLab product. Documentation is in place to help offer guidance and these docs are consistently disseminated, enabling product teams to make autonomous decisions about component usage. Almost all reusable components exist, adhere to usage guidelines, and are referenced as the single source of truth. Some components are fully integrated into the GitLab product. Accessibility standards are followed in most cases.
- Lovable: A centralized system exists for product teams to contribute cohesive and consistent assets that aid in building the GitLab product. Documentation is in place to help offer guidance and these docs are consistently disseminated, enabling product teams to make autonomous decisions about component usage. Almost all reusable components exist, adhere to usage guidelines, and are referenced as the single source of truth. Almost all components are fully integrated into the GitLab product. Accessibility standards are followed in almost all cases.