STYLE GUIDE

Sandvik

Up until 2015, Sandvik used standardized technical frameworks with basic look-and-feel customizations to streamline the development of new applications. But this approach lacked the capabilities to fully support web standards and Sandvik’s visual identity. During the development and implementation of a global intranet for the Sandvik Group, it identified the opportunity to establish a new reference architecture and at the same time develop a design system for a wider area of application.

Sandvik is a high-tech, global industrial group with close to 46,000 employees and a strong focus on improving customer productivity, profitability and safety. The company has sales in 130 countries under several different brands. Ever since Sandvik was founded more than 150 years ago, their business concept has been based on innovation, leading-edge technology and close collaboration with customers. To ensure continued success, its business strategy builds on growth, flexibility, global coverage, technology leadership and exceptional employees. 

Drivers for a web design system

As a global company Sandvik places great weight on its digital presence, and the number of digital services is rising steadily. Today, the company has thousands of digital applications based on many different technical solutions.

Both the quality of the interface and usability for the end user, as well as the visual experience of the Sandvik brand and its product areas, differ greatly between these applications.

This negatively affects productivity for the developers who maintain the applications as well as the users who interact with them. The increased demand for application mobility has also failed to be met.

Up until 2015, Sandvik used standardized technical frameworks with basic look-and-feel customizations to streamline the development of new applications. But this approach lacked the capabilities to fully support web standards and Sandvik’s visual identity. During the development and implementation of a global intranet for the Sandvik Group, it identified the opportunity to establish a new reference architecture and at the same time develop a design system for a wider area of application.

The design system aims not only to ensure brand identity but to lift the entire internal web landscape to new heights, both visually and technologically, and to ensure compliance with web standards, accessibility requirements and mobility at the same high level as the customer-facing web presence. 

Objectives of the new work approach

A global Sandvik web style guide is being created that controls and streamlines the digital user experience and allows the Sandvik brands to permeate all applications. It also aims to support designers and developers through greater productivity, more efficient maintenance and easier scalability.

The style guide, integrated in the organization, can provide guidance, support and high-quality pre-built components for driving the design and development of web applications, independent of the application platform and device they are consumed on.

The main goals of the guide are:

  • Create a unified starting point and a process for designing and developing user experiences and interfaces that ensure brand identity and quality.
  • Establish a new work approach with clear guidance for designers, architects and developers so they can accelerate the design and development processes.
  • Promote closer collaboration across applications and business silos.
  • Make it easier to reuse both design patterns and pre-built components.
  • Provide a central location for managing and further developing complete UI components with related documentation.

With a prescriptive style guide that enforces design decisions about visual identity while supporting the technical implementation, Sandvik gains the tools it previously lacked to increase brand reach and interface quality for all applications.

For a long time, we’ve lacked a common strategy and arena where communication and IT could meet in order to deliver a better user experience for our internal applications. I am convinced of the long-term business value in a design system as a central starting point.

Jörgen Andersson , Sandvik Group Web Manager

Sandvik’s new web style guide

Sandvik wanted to be able to use their internal web applications with a more long-term, scalable focus and to develop a model for gradually introducing their new work approach and technical framework to make this possible.

Their external website had long relied on an interface prototype and disparate web directives, so the company saw the potential to develop a wider design system and a style guide for all internal web applications using their new intranet as a starting point.

The new solution provides tailored processes for style-guide-driven development together with a component library that replaces previous solutions that did not meet the need for a uniform look or requirements concerning web standards, accessibility and mobility. All this, in combination with a quality-assured user experience, delivers a highly functional and efficient starting point for designing and developing applications.

The road ahead

Implementing new approaches and techniques can pose a challenge to global organizations. Sandvik’s web style guide represents a paradigm shift in work processes, and its implementation will be gradual.

The plan moving forward is to apply the principles of style-guide-driven development gradually and in parallel with future investments, with a view to change the applications’ user interfaces over time and revolutionize the way employees interact with the applications. A central organization is tasked with managing and developing the system design and style guide. 

With Sandvik’s web style guide, we’re finally able to create consistent user experiences across our internal applications and improve the productivity of our workforce, the availability of our applications and the standard for our brand identity internally.

Jörgen Andersson , Sandvik Group Web Manager