Issue 16 – April 2019
The power of prototypes in the creative process, the place of UX, effective interviews, and motion in design systems.

Hi! Design is a series of decisions. When it comes to making those decisions, a frequently asked question is: How can we make faster and better decisions? There is no simple answer to this question, but what certainly is true is that if you want to make better and more informed decisions you need a fair amount of information and practical experience. Research, user testing, and quantitative data sure can be the basis of better decisions, but what many designers and stakeholders still often not leverage to the full extent is how valuable prototyping is to make better decisions. Prototyping not only allows you to validate your assumptions and learn about the different options you have from experience but also lets you quickly produce many different alternatives. Consequently, you will not only be able to make more informed decisions but you will also have far better options to choose from. Taking the time to prototype where it is necessary – and at every stage of the design process – will therefore greatly improve the quality of the design and engineering decisions you make and save you a lot of headaches later.

If you enjoy this newsletter, please share it with people who you think would appreciate it, too. If you have feedback or want to share an interesting link, just write me an email. Thank you so much! 🤗

– Happy prototyping! Matthias


The Power of Prototypes in the Creative Process

Prototypes can be a catalyst for creative decisions and allow you to iteratively refine an idea into a final product. In this post about the power of prototyping in the design process, Jim Nielsen summarizes the main points from Ken Kocienda’s book “Creative Selection” regarding the role of prototyping in Apple’s evolutionary process of developing the original iPhone and other innovative products.

Building to learn: the role of prototyping in Design

“The faster you can bring an idea to life, the sooner you can make a deliberate and well-informed decision to either take it to market or put it to rest.” Christian Cantrell runs a team of prototypers inside the Adobe Design organization and shares many valuable lessons on prototyping effectively, why it is important to take the time to prototype and also the three primary ways prototypes help save time throughout the product development lifecycle: Design validation, research and user testing, and creating a living specification.

Learning to prototype is more important than learning to code

Prototyping is often misunderstood as simply connecting static mockups into an interactive click dummy. Yet, as Ben Holliday emphasizes in this article, prototyping is much more than that. It is a way of thinking about problem-solving and therefore is much more valuable as an applied skillset for designers than, for example, learning to code.

The Place of UX

There’s much discussion going on about the role UX and user research should play in organizations. In this post, Basecamp’s Ryan Singer takes a look at a few concepts that draw meaningful distinctions, for example, the one between modular vs integrated boundaries in the value chain: Some teams are small and intensely collaborative, some have more of a distant third-party style relationship. In both cases, prototypes can help facilitate the creation of better user experiences. PS: Also make sure to take a look at the comments section for more insightful information about Basecamp’s product design process.

Interviewing: more than a user research method

Interviewing is one of the most effective research techniques designers can rely on to uncover not only behaviors but also the motivations and frustrations of the people who have influence over a project. In this article for UX Collective, Arturo Ríos provides many resources and useful advice on how to prepare and conduct successful user interviews.

5 steps for including motion design in your system

Design systems are all the rage and motion design is a critical component in building a unique design system. Caleb Barclay shares five steps for including motion design in your system that can also be useful when prototyping animations.
And remember: The fastest way to check if an animation works is always – a prototype.


Marvel Enterprise 3

The Marvel team released a new platform for enterprise customers allowing them to better organize their work and build design systems and documentation. Marvel Enterprise also integrates with tools like Sketch, JIRA, Slack and many more.


Datapopulator is a super useful plugin for Adobe XD and Sketch that automagically populates your design mockups with JSON data from files, URLs, or APIs.

Evolt Design Suite

Evolt is a “design thinking suite” built to help you plan and design better user experiences. You can create user personas, storyboards, or a business model canvas based on existing templates. Experience mapping, brainstorming, and mood boards are soon to come.

Startup 3

Startup is a website builder to create website or prototype projects. It promises to fit all kinds of projects thanks to unlimited web elements and pre-designed modules, styles, options, and templates. It is based on Bootstrap 4 and designed with Figma.


Taskade is a beautiful organization and collaboration tool for getting things done. You can create task lists, notes, and also video chat.

Maizzle – Framework for Rapid Email Prototyping

Maizzle is an email framework that helps you quickly build emails with advanced, email-specific post-processing.

Sections UI Kit

Sections is a huge wireframing and prototyping kit for Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD, and Photoshop that consists of 330+ layouts in 17 categories, including light and dark UI components.