Style guides – Is there a need for them?
Why we still need style guides
I am a web designer with an interest in front-end development, so I have used Style guides on both sides of the coin.
What I found was that if the designer created and maintained the style guide then it is less then useless to the developers and visa versa if the styleguide is maintained by the developer.
Style guides tend to become obsolete very quickly, and cumbersome to maintain. This inevitably adds to the tension that already exists between designer and developer.
This does not have to be the case. Even though I do not like using style guides as a rule I understand the relevance they have to both clients and to a consistent project. So I set out to find a solution.
What I found is the concept of a living style guide. Based on Atomic design principles i found several of these styleguide generators online. some are of more use than others. but all seem to be based on the KSS system.
I found that many of these are made for developers to carry out the designers ideas in a consistent way, A useful idea until you consider the changes in requirements that inevitably arise whilst a project is being built. And these style guides do not lend well to the designer’s workflow.
But having said that I did find one that works well and could be used by designers and developers alike. called simply the ‘living style guide’ at livingstyleguide.org.
This shows not only the code but also displays what effect that code has in the browser. showing immediately where design aspects do not translate to code properly and tells the developer what he needs to do to create the effect across the project.
i have found that I like using these style guides and that they are easy to document without overburdening your stylesheets with comments, ( apart of the other style guides that I really did not like. )
I am interested in your experiences with style guides, and how you found them to build and maintain, so contact me or follow me on twitter or facebook and leave a message to tell me your stories.