We ended 2019 by bringing Adobe XD file support to Abstract, furthering our mission to make design more open. Over the past few months, we’ve been reflecting on what it means to define the impact of design.
As long as I’ve been designing, I’ve heard people lament not having a “seat at the table” — I’ve even been one of those voices. In the last decade, design leaders began to get that coveted seat. However, it became clear to me years ago that a “seat at the table” wasn’t enough. Designers want to have a voice, to be heard and consulted about the problems to be solved, the brand value, and the overall product experience. In order to earn this privilege, we have to be able to quantify our impact, as other business functions do.
Design — and product design in particular — plays a key role in the process of delivering products. But that doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires thoughtful planning and skillful execution. These days, it seems like everyone is talking about collaboration — which is not a bad thing — but collaboration without cooperation, coordination, and clear communication is just a buzzword that makes us feel good. “Nice! We’re collaborating! 🙌” . Unfortunately, with more tools and more people, it becomes even more of a mess. Without a platform that centralizes people, processes, and documentation, we just have a lot of messy files in opaque folders. Growing design teams can’t afford “the mess.” And design leaders looking to scale their teams to tackle the work must have a way to measure the work.
Especially in bigger organizations, design is still mysterious: how it’s measured, how long certain things take, how it scales. We started Abstract because we fundamentally believe that a predictable, intentional, and measurable process has the potential for even greater impact.
In 2020, we’re focusing on making Abstract the design delivery platform that introduces visibility and measurable design impact at your organization.
And we’re starting the new decade with some exciting announcements.
Abstract acquires Flawless App to focus on SDK and developer resources
We’re excited to share that Abstract has acquired Flawless App. The Flawless team has built an impressive range of products, including macOS apps (Flawless App and Reduce). They’ve also launched and cultivated a range of active community channels and manage a large open-source repo called “Awesome Design Tools.”
The team will be working closely with Abstract’s engineering, product, and marketing orgs to help us continue building our SDK, related extensions, and support both the developer experience within Abstract and the developer community more broadly.
Kelly Watkins, Slack and GitHub marketing executive joins Abstract board
I am beyond thrilled to announce that Kelly Watkins, previously the VP of Global Marketing at Slack and head of marketing at GitHub (now an advisor), will be joining our board. Kelly brings immense experience with both the developer community as well as B2B software. Our marketing team has been working closely with Kelly to help shape our narrative to better communicate what Abstract is and further bridge the gaps between design and developers.
“In my experience, the companies that win don’t just offer an alternate toolset, but rather provide tooling that fundamentally improves how teams work,” says Kelly. “I believe strongly in Abstract’s vision, and am excited to help further their mission of helping product teams deliver better products.”
VAMP: Visibility, Accountability, Measurability, and Predictability
We’re living in an incredible time of software development. Ultimately, that’s what all of us — product designers and engineers, and a range of cross-functional stakeholders — are doing: building and shipping products. For too long, design has been a part of that process, but has rarely owned measurable outputs.
Historically, most design measurability doesn’t show up until it is built by an engineer. But product delivery and all of the KPIs around it are something we all own. As a designer, nothing makes me more excited than a future in which design is not only more visible across the organization (both on a team and individual level), but is measurable and predictable.
In 2020, we’re aligning our efforts with the goal of bringing Visibility, Accountability, Measurability, and Predictably (VAMP) to design. We’ll continue to focus on further opening the silos of design by bringing Abstract to Windows, and also work on a number of exciting features to support design leaders and people managers. As Abstract Design Advocate Scott Weliver writes, we’re helping you “automate the important, but craft the critical.”
We can’t wait to bring you along for the ride. Design requires us to be open and connected. And we think 2020 will be the year that catapults design as an industry in ways we have not seen before. We’re in the business of design.