3 key takeaways from Adobe MAX 2022

Life at Zeplin

Goodbye Los Angeles, but hello to new learnings

We just wrapped up another great year at the Adobe MAX Creativity Conference, and it did not disappoint! Our crew headed out to Los Angeles where we spent three days meeting folks at our booth, learning about different workflows, hearing about the current challenges many different teams are facing, and providing demos of Zeplin and showing our latest releases. One thing we never forget at Zeplin is to have fun in everything we do, and there were lots of laughs and memories shared together.
Some of the key themes this year included leveraging data to improve workflows and collaboration, and where the future of creativity is headed for designers, developers, and product teams, but one of the major highlights for us was a session hosted by our CEO and co-founder, Pelin Kenez. She shared her thoughts on the current tech slowdown and what that means for cross-team collaboration when designing and building beautiful products. Just in case you missed it, here are our top three key takeaways from Adobe MAX 2022.

Efficiency is more important than ever

Of course we know efficiency has always been important. It's the reason companies succeed; because they create great products. But you’re probably asking, why is it so important right now? Well, that’s because of the looming tech slowdown. Efficient companies have clarity on what they are building, they are connected, and ultimately, they are the ones that will succeed through difficult times.
Products are the most important components of any business. They have a direct impact on users and numbers. Likewise, designers, product managers, and developers directly impact the products. Great products happen when teams successfully collaborate. Here’s the problem though  — designers and developers aren’t spending time on the right tasks. If you want to improve efficiency, especially right now, something about this needs to change.
On average, designers spend too much time explaining the same things over again, guiding stakeholders through their designs, and raising issues that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. On the other hand, developers are asking designers to work on missing states or edge cases and unnecessarily re-building a component just because they couldn’t find it in the documentation. This is extremely frustrating and slows down both product development and the entire design process.
Good news though — Zeplin takes away some of that guesswork by providing one source of truth for the designer and developer to collaborate and work more efficiently. Zeplin is a place that offers a clear separation between the design canvas and the locked designs that the rest of the team can reference. These locked designs are organized in Zeplin so that non-designers can easily understand intent and developers can clearly see what needs to be built, by automatically extending the design system to the development team.

At the end of the day, we all want clarity

If designers are handing off live versions of their designs directly through their design tool,  the first question developers will ask is: “Is this ready for me to build?” Designers tend to share multiple screens with developers, but imagine showing this canvas to someone who is not familiar with the file or the tool. They will get totally lost. 😵‍💫
Many issues with clarity can be solved by having a better process for design documentation. This is where designers and developers can reflect on changes, and different versions and keep each other connected. Designers need to make sure that the documentation, hosted either in the design tool or a separate place, refers to the component in the design and the component in the codebase. This determines whether a developer will be able to reuse an existing component or build a component from scratch, ultimately affecting the amount of time it will take to deliver the project.
We’ve got a few tips that can help with this. With the use of Sections, Tags, and Screen Variants you can group projects and screens together, easily locate and filter the content you want to see, and reduce clutter for developers. Flows and Annotations are also a great feature for developers; it’s an alternative way to view projects to show the user journey and so that developers have all the information they need in one place.
With a few of these small but mighty resources, you might start to see a foggy day suddenly turn sunny — ahhh clarity!

Leglin’s next stop is Hollywood 🌟

Remember how I said we never forget to have fun here at Zeplin? If you read our Hackathon blog, you’ll know all about our beloved game, Leg Zeplin, and our feature character, Leglin, a zeppelin with legs!
We were so excited to bring Leglin with us to Adobe MAX this year. We had no idea so many people would be looking for an introduction to Leglin, and he enjoyed the fame too! All of Leglin’s friends know how to fly, and the goal of the game is to help Leglin fly like his friends. We thought hitting over 2,000 points was a success, but by the end of the conference 5,000 became a more realistic goal. It brought out a bit of friendly competition!
All jokes aside, we had a blast introducing Leglin to so many folks, and we hope you enjoyed the game as much as we do.

What comes next?

To wrap up, efficiency and clarity are the keys to building great products and are more important than ever during the looming tech slowdown. The good news is that a lot of the issues surrounding efficiency and clarity can be improved with the help of a Design Delivery tool like Zeplin.
Although Design Delivery poses its own set of challenges and requires its own set of solutions, we want to help teams improve alignment and productivity and ship higher-quality products that deliver on the promise of design.
We’ve always been a user-first company, we’ll take all of the pain points and feedback we got and continue to make the Zeplin product better for our users and continue to make Design Delivery an easier and seamless experience for all teams.
I must say, we had a fantastic week in Los Angeles and we can’t wait to see more of you there next year.
Missed us at Adobe MAX? Schedule time with our crew — we’d love to chat.