SofaConf was a remote conference by ClearLeft. At Angi Studio we all “went”. In other words, we sat on our own sofas and watched the videos. Here’s my three key-take-aways.

How’s the remote conference experience?

The first day was very exciting: we all watched the videos together (remotely) and commented on them in real time. The days after that, not so much.

Frankly, it feels more like a Youtube playlist than a conference 🤷‍♂️

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

My three main take-aways:

  • Research can be the tool to bring designers closer to management. Doing research on your own organization is a great way of showing the impact of research. Your research-department will be noticed by the whole organization (also the C-suite). By informing marketing, you can give important stakeholders some exposure. …

You plan to do remote user-testing or interviews, and you wonder which tooling to use… Here’s my view!

Enter the contestants!


Lookback is a tool specifically for remote usability-testing. You can use it for live testing (an interviewer is present during the test) or self testing (people go through a list of tasks in their own time). Lookback records the screen, face and audio of the participants while they do the test, which you can watch back later. Observers can see a live-stream and chat with you as interviewer — your participants won’t see how many observers there are. It’s possible to write notes in Lookback and have timestamps linked to the video. …

At the end of last year we did a survey into Design Systems. It’s been a while, but I finally got around to publishing the last part of that research: the agency perspective. Hope you’ll learn something new ;)

We separated the results from agency- and freelance participants from the in-house teams because of the differences in perspective. We kept those results out of our web-report, but you could’ve already found them in our PDF-version.

The stats below are based on 104 survey-participants in The Netherlands, all working freelance or in design-agencies. So let’s go!

Which Design System are we talking about?

As this chapter is about freelancers or people working for agencies, it’s pertinent to know which Design System we are talking about: a Design System for a client, or one the participants are working on for their own company. …

Setting up a Design System can be a bumpy ride. Here is a list of tips and statistics to help you get through.

We at Angi Studio held a survey where we asked our participants everything about their Design Systems. Apparently setting up a Design System is not always easy. We asked how was setting up your Design System and the answers included: “a bumpy ride”, “a long process”, “chaotic”, “an adventure”.

We saw that the struggles people experience are mostly the same (see page 39 in our report for the details). But we also saw there is light at the end of the tunnel!

The goal of this article: giving you a boost so you can survive your first year of having a Design System.

In this article I list some practical ways to enhance Design Systems. A word of advice, though: do not fall into the trap of hoarding stuff!

Most Design Systems are approached from a visual UI perspective: a UI-kit for designers and coded components for developers. Added to that are design principles, documentation, typography and color-tokens. Some Design Systems include tone of voice, animation or a brand-guide as well.

But designers do other things too. Things like (user-)research, facilitating workshops, wire framing, and UML-diagramming (apparently 😱).

So let’s add it all to the Design System, right?

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Most Design Systems consist of a UI-kit, Component-library and some documentation on tone-of-voice, animation or a brand guide. But is there more to #DesignSystemLife?

Word of caution: do not add stuff for the sake of adding stuff

A bigger Design System does not mean better results. Larger systems are in fact more difficult to use and get outdated quicker. They are also intimidating to new users and people are less likely to use them. …

Design Systems are great tools to help designers and developers re-use components and create consistent experiences. But just reusing stuff and having consistency doesn’t mean having a great experience!

Most design systems focus on in-page interactions: visual elements, motion, accessibility, tone-of-voice, etcetera. They keep your websites neat and consistent in wording, style and components. But that doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have a good product.

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Good elements being used to create bad things. Source:

Good visuals, bad experience

Imagine two sites created with the same design system, but having completely different experiences for the people visiting them. The one site feels familiar and friendly, the other cold and distant. One site answers the questions you have right when you need that information, the other just boasts about all the cool stuff the company ever did — leaving you to hunt around multiple pages finding simple answers. …

You explore several visual styles and now you’re left with a selection of UI-mockups… Which one is best? How do you make sure you’re not relying on ‘opinions’? We solved this question with a structured test-approach. 👨‍🚀

One of our clients is giving a major overhaul to their flagship product. Design, interaction, code: everything will be modernized to fit with the 21st century. We’re incredibly happy to help our innovative client along this journey.

The flagship product we’re talking about is the biggest knowledge bank used by the majority of courts, judges and lawyers in The Netherlands. The existing version had a decent UI, but no good fit with the brand. …

Getting valuable insights from your qualitative research is harder than it sounds. If you thought interviews and user tests are easier than ‘hard numerical science’, you’re wrong!

This is not an interview guide. I’m assuming you already did the hard work: you set your research goals, confirmed them with your stakeholders, wrote the interview plan, recruited the right participants and did the interviews / user tests. This is about what happens after.

You’re staring at your notes wondering how the @€£$# are you going to extract meaningful conclusions out of this mess. It’s easy to fall into research traps during your analysis: confirmation bias (seeing what you expected to see), remembering only the first and last participant or forgetting the context of remarks. …

Or, “LOL: Please click the ‘clap’ button” 👏

Medium is a great way to write and read articles. But it’s not without it’s own little quirks, like how you show your appreciation for a story 🏆

So, who is this clapper we keep hearing about?

No, the clap is not a venereal disease and the clapper is not a way to turn off the lights. In Medium-terms it’s the way to show you liked a story. It’s beneath every story:

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That’s him, the clapper!

It’s a cool emoji and using claps is a clever way to express appreciation. …

This is part of a series to draw inspiration from the silver screen, as a way to ‘peak into the future’ of artificial intelligence (check part 1 and part 2). In other words: AI movies as a way to prototype machine intelligence and its possible impact on human life.

In this article: unnecessary consciousness

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Netflix’s Next Gen!

Netflix’s Next Gen (no spoilers)

This particular gem is about a girl befriending a robot, which is a familiar theme in movies (Big Hero 6 and The Iron Giant, even the first Transformers movie and Bumblebee have the same premise). …


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