Wednesday, February 8, 2017

UX Tools of the Trade

The tools we use to help define UI experiences is constantly changing. The fact is that Photoshop and Illustrator are no longer the preferred tools in an XD designers tool kit. We have transitioned to more flexible and robust applications that allow both low fidelity sketch like concepts to Pixel perfect high fidelity visual designs. Sketch does a really good job at providing both of these levels as well as the in between. In combination with Zeplin and Invision these three applications provide a pretty solid output for creating great experiences for both desktop and mobile applications. Zeplin has been a great tool to lessen the burden on our visual designers for creating redlines to our developers. It has some really neat features that would take weeks for to pull together in a style guide around spacing, colors, fonts etc. They are even experimenting with providing HTML and CSS outputs from the designs.

When creating wireframes I tend to use both interactions that provide some level of prototyping and annotations that help provide specifications not easily seen through an interaction. For the last couple of years I have been using Axure RP as my workhorse application. I could easily create and update flow diagrams, taxonomies, site maps. It provides amazing prototyping with annotations, show / hide, modal windows, and even complex interactions such as rotators. Axure also provides an easy way for me to share my designs with my clients through an online web viewer.

I have experimented with a few other tools such as Adobe XD, however I still think they have a ways to go with making this a single use tool that provides all the features that I need.

I do see a benefit for all designers to be working on the same tool to easily transition from wireframes to visual comps without too much of a complete rework. However, I would be interested to learn more about how your teams work together and the tools that you use?