Design and user interface changes
Follow these guidelines when contributing or reviewing design and user interface (UI) changes. Refer to our code review guide for broader advice and best practices for code review in general.
The basis for most of these guidelines is Pajamas, GitLab design system. We encourage you to contribute to Pajamas with additions and improvements.
Merge request reviews
As a merge request (MR) author, you must:
- Include Before and After screenshots (or videos) of your changes in the description, as explained in our MR workflow. These screenshots/videos are very helpful for all reviewers and can speed up the review process, especially if the changes are small.
- Attach the ~UX label to any merge request that has any user facing changes. This will trigger our Reviewer Roulette to suggest a UX reviewer.
If you are a team member: We recommend assigning the Product Designer suggested by the Reviewer Roulette as reviewer. This helps us spread work evenly, improve communication, and make our UI more consistent. If you have a reason to choose a different reviewer, add a comment to mention you assigned it to a Product Designer of your choice.
If you are a community contributor: We favor choosing the Product Designer that is a domain expert in the area you are contributing, to regardless of the Reviewer Roulette.
Check these aspects both when designing and reviewing UI changes.
- Follow Pajamas as the primary guidelines for UI text and documentation style guide as the secondary.
- Use clear and consistent terminology.
- Check grammar and spelling.
- Consider help content and follow its guidelines.
- Request review from the appropriate Technical Writer, indicating any specific files or lines they should review, and how to preview or understand the location/context of the text from the user's perspective.
- Consider similar patterns used in the product and justify in the issue when diverging from them.
- Use appropriate components and data visualizations.
Check visual design properties using your browser's elements inspector (Chrome, Firefox).
- Use recommended colors and typography.
- Follow layout guidelines.
- Use existing icons and illustrations or propose new ones according to iconography and illustration guidelines.
- Optionally consider dark mode. 1
Check states using your browser's styles inspector to toggle CSS pseudo-classes
:hover and others (Chrome,
- Account for all applicable states (error, rest, loading, focus, hover, selected, disabled).
- Account for states dependent on data size (empty, some data, and lots of data).
- Account for states dependent on user role, user preferences, and subscription.
- Consider animations and transitions, and follow their guidelines.
Check responsive behavior using your browser's responsive mode (Chrome, Firefox).
- Account for resizing, collapsing, moving, or wrapping of elements across all breakpoints (even if larger viewports are prioritized).
- Provide the same information and actions in all breakpoints.
Check accessibility using your browser's accessibility inspector (Chrome, Firefox).
- Conform to level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, according to our statement of compliance.
- Follow accessibility best practices and checklist.
When the design is ready, before starting its implementation:
- Share design specifications in the related issue, preferably through a Figma link link or GitLab Designs feature. See when you should use each tool.
- Document user flow and states (for example, using Mermaid flowcharts in Markdown).
- Document animations and transitions.
- Document responsive behaviors.
- Document non-evident behaviors (for example, field is auto-focused).
- Document accessibility behaviors (for example, using accessibility annotations in Figma).
- Contribute new icons or illustrations to the GitLab SVGs project.
At any moment, but usually during or after the design's implementation:
- Contribute issues to Pajamas for additions or enhancements to the design system.
- Create issues with the
~UX debtlabel for intentional deviations from the agreed-upon UX requirements due to time or feasibility challenges, linking back to the corresponding issues or merge requests.
- Create issues for feature additions or enhancements outside the agreed-upon UX requirements to avoid scope creep.
You're not required to design for dark mode while the feature is in alpha. The UX Foundations team plans to improve the dark mode in the future. Until we integrate Pajamas components into the product and the underlying design strategy is in place to support dark mode, we cannot guarantee that we won't introduce bugs and debt to this mode. At your discretion, evaluate the need to create dark mode patches.