Deliveroo Design was lucky enough to sponsor and attend the first Framer Loupe conference in Amsterdam this autumn. Framer, the much loved prototyping software, has built a huge community of passionate designers and engineers. They were out in force from around the world to take part in the event.
The 2 day conference was held in the stunning Eye Museum, a Dutch and foreign movie museum on Amsterdam’s waterfront. A stellar line up of speakers from Facebook, Lyft, Kickstarter and Airbnb spanned the first day. Day 2 was dedicated to workshops with the new Framer X which I’d yet to get my hands on.
All told, the event was a lesson in how to run a great conference. The team and I left having met some incredibly talented designers from near and far. Thanks to the workshops, I began to wrap my head around React and couldn’t wait to get back into the office to begin prototyping some new ideas with Framer X.
If you follow Framer, there’s no doubt you would have caught the highlights on Twitter. For those who didn’t make it to the event, here are my 5 takeaways from Framer Loupe 18.
1. Making models of things — Danny White
Danny kicked the conference off with a deep dive into how technology has shaped humanity over time. From the advent of the Gutenberg printing press to New York City planning, Danny illustrated how our impact as creators can be a force for good and bad.
As designers we create models of things, often expecting them to work in the chaos of reality, without any real testing. Danny’s talk was a reminder that as creators, it’s our responsibility to understand the human landscape and be deliberate about our contributions to it.
“Embedding ourselves with the environment of our users, shouldn’t be something we stress test or do last minute..”
I face ethical decisions plenty at Deliveroo. Understanding the long term impact of my designs is something that can get lost in the day to day push to ship.
2. Act it out: Fidelity and intention — Linda Dong
Linda began bluntly, admitting that creating designs which stand up in reality is just plain hard. Her experience at Lyft teach us that lo-fi and in-context may often yield better results than hi-fi, slick prototypes. A modest example was the Lyft design team using a selfie stick and a homemade cardboard car to test view distances on different devices.
Linda ended by instilling the virtues of sharing your ugly hacks, your templates and your tools, like ColorBox which helps designers pick and test accessible UI colours. This got me thinking what tools we use that others could benefit from at Deliveroo. Check out our post on a tool we use daily to help speed up our workflows.
Hopper — Automating the design donkey work
How do you make sure that a rapidly growing team of product designers are all working from the same files and folders…
3. Know the rules before you break them — Claudio Guglieri
Claudio pared the theme of prototyping down to a human level, starting with an exercise to see how fast the audience could read. (For me, it all starts to fall apart at the 400 words per minute mark)
Claudio forced us to dissect how we, as humans operate on a motor, cognitive and visual level. We know not to place menus too far from your thumb span, but why? Understanding our day to day human abilities and constraints allows us to design smarter. He stressed that only once you know the rules can you begin to break them.
4. Framer X and data workshop — George Kedenburg + Karla Cole
George and Karla began with an important reminder that prototyping is a spectrum (paper sketch — — — →hi-fi prototype ) and that it’s important to know when to use what. We were also reassured that as designers, React is hard, so fake it til’ you make it.
The practical side focused on parsing JSON data using React components to pull live content into a prototype. By the end of the day we had put together a working firebase powered chat app.
This was the Ah-ha! moment for me as a die hard Framer Studio fan. I found myself tinkering with the JSON iterator component on the flight back to London and have since used it in a prototype we’re taking to test in Hong Kong later this year.
5. The product design community is something special
Framer’s Koen Bok closed the event with a heartwarming and humble reminder of the journey Framer is on and stressed the importance of designers sharing knowledge.
The passion felt from the attendees at Loupe set it apart from any other conference I’d ever attended. It’s clear there is a unique and special community being created here and I’m super proud to be a part of it.
Here’s to next year!
The team and I left Amsterdam with bags of inspiration and insights into the power of prototyping. We all got a chance to play with the new Framer X and begin to wrap our heads around some new principles. Hot tip — it’s not as scary as it seems. Just get started and ask the community for help when you get stuck.
The good news is that we’re not alone, the community we met at Loupe was overwhelmingly passionate and we’ll no doubt be honing our skills together.