Why top start-ups are focusing on game design, not just gamification.

collage of superhuman

Gamification has recently risen in popularity in products, businesses, and even personal brands. It serves as a bridge to bring fun and actionable concepts into products and marketing. Think of the reward program in the Starbucks App, or maybe the points you get for completing tasks in Todoist.

Both of…

How disruptive young companies use iterative design to expand market share.

New market entrants are rarely ever “New”. In most cases, they have been around for years, iterating internally and focusing on filling a small niche within an industry. These new entrants cause a ruckus when they start solving the problem once solved by an incumbent. …

The allure of high switching costs.

image of webflow interface

As our attention spans continue to grow shorter, so does our tolerance for average products. Consumers are presented with an endless number of alternatives, making user retention even harder to secure. Some products gain retention by accident, while other products design for retention. We’ll look at the latter.

When designing…

How Substack focuses on experience, and Twitter focuses on engagement.

Incentives are quietly driving every decision we make. They control our actions with technology and the social algorithms that power our choices. Incentives are everywhere.

Ever wonder what platforms and products do to motivate you to take certain actions and keep you hooked? Here’s a hint, it’s the incentives.

Understanding Incentives


A year of COVID, growth, inspiration, and hard work

Topography; a theme for 2020 — navigating through uncharted, unfamiliar areas

2020 was a year to remember, but also one to forget. From COVID disrupting all kinds of plans, forcing many of us to reinvent our daily lives at home, 2020 was a year of transformation.

Going into 2020, I had never heard of “product design”. Never heard of Sketch, Figma…

Studying onboarding strategies from the biggest consumer apps.

Image containing the title and logos from featured companies

The onboarding sequence has defaulted to become the go-to spot for Dribbble designers to flex their UI muscles. And usually, that happens with an utter disregard for the effects that the five-ish screens that sit pre-launch can have on a product.

Onboarding isn’t something that should be left in the…

Managing your habits is stressful, trying to start a new one is even harder. Tangerine makes this easy, helping you manage your habits stress free.

A gif showing completing a habit with confetti.

As I said, Tangerine is a habit app. But what makes it different?

Its simplicity.

Tangerine takes pride in being simple above all else. Their app is designed to do two main things:

  1. Manage your habits
  2. Recap your day

By focusing on…

The disruptive email client has been making waves across tech, but does the design live up to the hype?

So unless you’ve been living under a rock the past month, you’ve most definitely heard of Hey. They don’t need much of an intro, but the team at Basecamp has put a lot of time and effort into their visionary new email client. …

Design is all about finding balance, and we could all learn from Zenly on how to do that.

“The Zenly Experience” with a phone mockup

So first, what is Zenly? Essentially, it’s a better way to keep track of your friends & family. You can view location, send messages, and a ton of other cool things. The team at Zenly went above & beyond with their added features, so let’s take a look.

A giant header image with a phone mockup and title text

View the live site here!

Wedge is a SaaS startup in the HR Tech space and recently just completed its latest investment round. With that said, Wedge is focused on two things, growth and customer retention.

While that is where the company is focusing its effort, their previous digital experience…

Josh Nelson

Design at Almanac, chasing continuity. Find me on Twitter — @jnelly2

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