Everyone is getting a design system. Do you need one too?

What are design systems?

Design systems can be thought of as documentation for designers and developers. They describe how interfaces should look and feel, and often guide developers on how to best develop them.

The best way to get a handle on design systems is to look at what’s already been done. Design systems have been cropping up everywhere lately, so there are plenty of examples to refer to. Many of the examples are still not well-established, as most teams are still trying to understand how to put them to best use.

Design Systems and Pattern Libraries…

You’ll comes across a lot of buzzwords, and this UXcellence article helps…


Threaten to fire your users if they accidentally click the wrong thing


I’ve struggled with writing for a long time. I’ve had lots of starts and stops. It’s “time-consuming,” I’m not very good at it, and often, like a chore, I put it off because I have more important things to do. Unlike chores, I don’t eventually have to write. I can put it off forever.

But I want to write. I want to become a better writer. Good writing makes a designer stand apart, as it gives others a glimpse of how a designer thinks. Designers get paid for the way they think.

Lots of amazing, influential designers write on Medium…


Taking a break from writing code.

I wanted to quickly talk about the idea of always doing “research.” This came up as a topic on TheDesignSuperpower episode #9, but I wanted to expand on this.

For me at least, there’s two kinds of research: user research and competitor research. Both do slightly different things, but both kinds of research inform your products about the final goal, and both remind you of what you’re building and why you’re building it in the first place.

As a sole designer and developer, it’ll get easy to get absorbed into my own bubble and…


Logo development is something I’ve never really done professionally. It’s fun to think about, but I’ve always worked with excellent visual designers and illustrators who know what they’re doing.

I thought it would be a fun challenge to do this myself. Of course, coming up with a solid, polished logo is probably going to take more time out of the process of marketing, building, and developing the app itself, so I can’t dedicate too much time to it.

Here is my line of thinking. Not a pro, just someone who doesn’t have money to hire a real designer.

What’s in a Logo?

A logo…


Voice and tone is an important part of content strategy, especially for an app dedicated to writing. I have to be careful to set the stage for the voice and tone, since a lot of it will be driving the content and appearance of the page. Voice, tone, and visual design also sets an important first impression of the app. Is the goal to make users comfortable? Excited? Trustful of your site?

Having a guide will be especially important for someone like me who’s not a professional writer, because I can refer back to the guide to make sure the…


It’s not much, and it’s kind of janky—everything is kind of janky, but I decided to throw up a temporary splash page. So there’s that!

Now all four of you following this dev blog, go forth to novelmonkey.com and boost my Google Analytics to the teens!

Purpose of a Splash Page

Initially it seemed quite silly for me to put something like this up. After all, the app itself is barely ready for launch yet, what would I do with a splash site? Well, for one, at least it looks like the app is in business.

A 404 page or a blank page just doesn’t…


Ok, I’m the kind of person that wants to sit down, think about things, and make sure I design and build it right. It has to be just right, pixel perfect, and the code has to be clean, legible, and functional.

I feel like I could write a longer, more thought-out and thought-provoking topic on this, but I really should get back to work. So here are my initial thoughts.

Who am I kidding?

There’s four weeks left to design, build, test, and market the crap out of this tool. it’s like saying I have a week to design, a week to build, another…


This is what I wrote from another post:

The Grind

I kind of understand why they call it the grind now. You’re just doing a lot of work — you’re doing ALL the work, you barely feel like you know what you’re doing, there’s so much to do, you have no idea how anything will fare, or if you’re doing anything write. It’s a lot of work, with a lot of self-doubt, for something that will most likely fail. But it’s exciting, I’ll give you that.

As the sole person building out this product, I can say I’ve almost never done any…

Jan Zheng

is a UX designer & prototype developer. Helps startups, and builds projects like the http://phage.directory and http://novelmonkey.com

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