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October 15, 2018
141: Confront Conference with Zach Grosser

This unique episode of Design Life was recorded in Copenhagen after a fantastic weekend at Confront, a conference about dev and design. We are joined by a special guest, our friend and Design Life Community member Zach Grosser. For those who couldn’t be there, we share our key takeaways from the conference and chat about design systems, empathy and the relationship between dev and design.

key takeaways

Design systems were a hot topic at Confront. Big companies have published their design systems for the world to use. If design systems are too prescriptive, designers and developers talk more about the system than the problem they are working to solve. You might think you don’t use a design system, however if you design projects regularly, you probably do.

Document your design system with a clear intention in mind. If your goal is to make your life easier as a designer, then that is what the design system will achieve. Consider refocusing your goal so instead of making your own life easier, you consider ways that your design system will help make life easier for your user.

Confront conference brought together two distinct audiences, designers and developers. United in a common goal of solving problems, developers and designers became one audience. Although some of the presentations at Confront were very development focused, and some were very design focus, neither talk alienated either group of attendees.

In his presentation, Paul Hamilton spoke about the difference between users and humans. There is no difference. This was a good reminder that designers solve problems that real people experience, not just problems that are attributed to perfectly constructed personas. The infrastructure we make doesn’t just affect culture, it is culture. We have a responsibility as designers and developers to create products that make our world better, not worse.

Our users are from all over the world and come to use our products in many different contexts. Good design is not just about localising your product to another language, it is also about adapting it to make it a good fit for the way other cultures do things. Jenny Shen’s presentation entitled ‘Build Bridges Not Walls’ discussed this topic and we consider it a must see for all designers and developers who have the chance.

show timestamps

01.00 – Our favourite thing we did this weekend

04.15 – Confront

06.14 – Zach’s key takeaways

08.04 – Using AR and VR to develop empathy

08.51 – Femke’s key takeaway

12.28 – Our favourite talks

22.14 – Our action points following Confront

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