We live in a world that exists on devices that are ever changing and evolving. These devices have multiple screen sizes, orientations and densities. Finding the right tools to execute your tasks is a challenge. As designers, we know it is a pain just to export a single icon for various densities, resize the icon, clean up the half pixel mess and repeat the drill 10 times and try not to cry. I have listed down the design tools we use at CloudMagic which simplify the repetitive work and gives us more time for the creative aspect of design.
Pencil and Paper
Generating lot of ideas, at the early stages of product creation and while introducing new features, is important for a product to be successful. When I start sketching my mind slows down, which is the perfect mindset for generating ideas. It also helps in getting accurate feedback on the flow rather than getting a narrow feedback like;
“That icon does not fit well”
“We can use a better font”
By having a low fidelity mockup we can get expected feedback like “How will a user navigate to compose from here”. Using pencil and paper helps you to get constructive feedback.
As visual designers we have more tools available now, than ever before, to design beautiful interfaces and interactions. For many years, Photoshop was the only go-to tool for designing interfaces. But, Photoshop wasn’t meant as an UI design tool at all. It’s a photo editor with those extra options for UI design. Sketch is perfect as it has almost every single feature to design interfaces. Moreover, it is vector based – in todays world we have to design for multiple devices, working on a raster based software does not make sense anymore. A simple example of this would be dealing with the dead pixels in Photoshop for icons. It is a pain to scale from one size to another. Switching to Sketch was an exciting journey – here’s how we switched.
Many of you have probably faced the situation of creating red line specs to move the design, which you made, to engineering team. I know that we all hate to do this but we do it every time. When we moved to sketch I heard people rave about Zeplin and man it’s all true. All the hard work we were doing was just a tap away. Install the plugin and click Cmd + E to automatically add your design to Zeplin and invite your engineers to the project. That’s it!
I used to work with After Effects which is not interaction friendly and was not really sure if the animation that I drafted was actually feasible for development. I needed something more easy, smooth and interactive. I started trying my hands on Invision which is a great product. But it did not solve my problem of animations. I started using Principle. This software is a mix of Flash and After Effects. It has timelines and custom animations focusing on touch screen apps which help you test your ideas. The output will be a fully functional prototype which you can view on your device or send it to your co-workers.
We use google drive to store our Design files, Assets and Wireframes as it syncs the files, across our team’s computers. It has made our work more accessible and collaborative, than ever before.
We use trello to manage our tasks as it is another clean and nice tool that we use to assign tasks to each other. We set up boards for each project. Add columns like, To do, Doing and Done. We keep updating the board after each tasks. This also helps us monitor what each one of us are working on and how packed our schedules are.
Using these tools helps us design smoothly and keep exploring more features. Which ones have you tried? I’m really curious to explore other tools, if it helps us work more smoothly and efficiently.
Thank you for reading.