Accelerate Studio has a broad knowledge in the field of design, development and research. Mission of the start-up? Optimize products based on that know-how and so on create meaningful digital experiences for start-ups and scale-ups. That concept is catching on, because the ambitious starter has now built up a nice customer portfolio, including online learning platform Datacamp from Leuven, Contractify and Dripl, which are happy to share their experience with the start-up here.
Accelerate Studio, based in Brussels, today employs three designers who together provide in-depth customer expertise user experience design (UX), user interface design (UI) in design systems can offer. Or, put more simply: digital products that don’t necessarily have to be websites. Although the start-up is less than a year old, it already has great customers. Just like Dripl, the sustainable start-up that has already managed to avoid more than 1 million disposable packaging with packaging-free vending machines.
“In any case, I follow the fast-growing start-ups, which we kind of like ours sweet spot see”, says Lennert Vloeberghs, founder of Accelerate Studio. “At one point I met Colin Deblonde, CEO and co-founder of Dripl, via LinkedIn outbound sales message sent.”
“Their devices or so refill points have an interface with a touch screen with which you select and tap a drink. We did have a few ideas to make it more user-friendly. This allowed us to offer users an even faster and more enjoyable tapping experience.”
“That user-friendliness was a tricky point in a way,” Colin Deblonde agrees. “Although I have a design background myself, I quickly realized that we lacked the expertise to create a top-notch create user experience. Take the moment when the user makes a choice and has to wait a while: then a nice animation can fill that time, but we needed external specialists to realize that kind of pleasant experience.”
Dripl is now scaling up and is already reaching a few thousand end users. “These improvements were really necessary. Lennert’s LinkedIn message was perfectly timed. He also knew exactly what we were doing and immediately understood our needs.”
“We have that in the first meetings refill points under scrutiny”, Lennert Vloeberghs adds. “We tested the devices ourselves to find out how the machine worked, and through that interaction we noticed the pain points that negatively affected the user experience. That was quite a technical process, because it redesign of the interface obviously influenced the operation of the devices. So everything had to stay right.”
“For that reason, we stayed in close contact with Dripl at every point in the project. That turned out to be very valuable, because it allowed us to identify the needs, target group, pain points … of the current one refill point could map. So we went much further than just redesigning the interface and actively thought about new features.”
We put small, interactive hints in the interface to challenge users to discover new flavors or to reduce the choice stress by giving recommendations
“We also provided improvements based on our expertise. For example, we noticed that a major stumbling point with the current interface was the choice overload. So we put small, interactive hints in the interface to challenge users to discover new flavors or to reduce the choice stress by giving recommendations. In terms of styling, we went for a design that reflected the playful, innovative and impactful character of Dripl.”
To the redesign of the refill pointsinterface is still being worked on today. “For example, we conduct user tests to see if this is the desired one user journey belongs to the end user, and we carefully analyze the data resulting from the use”, explains Lennert Vloeberghs. “By the way, we did testing in every phase of the project: for example, we tested the new design of the Dripl interface with different people and asked questions about it.”
“Does the design match the Dripl DNA? Does it provide a pleasant experience? And so forth. Because we are in the same building today and have entered into a long-term collaboration, it sometimes seems as if we are Dripl’s in-house designers,” laughs Vloeberghs. “But to be clear: we have that lasting connection with every customer.”
We want to work with ambitious, innovative companies, which ideally also have an impact
The founder of Accelerate Studio has just mentioned that he mainly monitors start-ups with growth ambitions. So is this the only type of customer that his digital UX/UI design agency focuses on? “We don’t immediately target corporates,” he replies. “Especially because they usually do not have the innovative mindset that we are looking for. We want to work with ambitious, innovative companies, which ideally also have an impact. Dripl fits that picture perfectly.”
National and international
“It’s not like we do not working with corporates: for example, we designed a digital product for an innovative start-up within the Colruyt group, where suppliers and buyers of sustainable energy could find each other. However, that fast, ambitious and innovative is always a must, and that scalable. That way we can really work together in a sustainable way.”
“It is therefore our ambition to grow into one digital experience studio. With full focus on all domains of design expertise – user experience design (UX), user interface design (UI), design systems, … – so that we can leave development to other partners and in the long term people automatically think: for quality design, I have to go to Accelerate Studio. For the time being nationally, but eventually also internationally. However, I cannot tell you much more about that yet”, Vloeberghs laughs.
Starter with a nice customer portfolio
“How have we, as a newly started company, already built up such a great customer portfolio? I’ll tell you something you might like to hear: we closely follow the entrepreneurial news on the Bloovi website, and if we see that a start-up or scale-up has raised capital, we seize our opportunity (laughs).”
“Then I send a personalized message in which I immediately indicate some points for improvement, followed by a template with what we can possibly do. And that approach is working. Contractify, on the other hand, was one referral via Dripl – referrals from satisfied customers always work.”
The word ‘impactful’ has already been used twice, and that is clearly no coincidence. “A start-up like Dripl, which manages to get rid of more than 1 million disposable packaging, and we contribute to this thanks to an improved interface: that is the very best feeling,” says Lennert Vloeberghs. “Especially when you hear their ambitions: by 2023 they want to have three million avoided packaging and by 2030 even one billion.”
“I find it very valuable that we contribute to this in a fairly direct way with Accelerate. Because avoiding the source of packaging is what it is refill point or device itself. So the better that gets, the more we will convince companies to move away from classic cans and bottles, and the faster Dripl can achieve its goals. The broad user experience – from taste selection to having a digital section – is really the key: people should use the devices primarily because they are so user-friendly, not because they have to do it specifically to live more sustainably.”