Let’s put some design tools into the spotlight today. What is the best tool for a designer? I strongly believe that a tool (digital or physical) is as good as the person making use of it. Does that mean you can build an entire app on Microsoft Paint? Probably you could if you put in the time and effort into it. Does that mean you SHOULD build an entire app on Microsoft Paint? Umm…absolutely not!
Designers are commercial artists, not fine artists. If you want to paint a masterpiece that you hope will eventually be sold, you can take all the time in the world to paint that one masterpiece and hope it’ll sell for millions in an art gallery or auction. Designers however, have a different set of goals and constraints – technological, business, brand related, and most of all creative. So to work effectively on a project you need the right set of tools that work the best for that task to save you time and money.
The Design Process
The design process for any project can vary vastly depending on the timeline and the nature of the product that you’re working on. Mainly UI/UX designers work on one of these products:
- Desktop Websites (It’s responsive – we’re living in 2019!)
- Mobile Apps
- Apps for wearable devices
- SAAS products (software as a service)
These are the most common projects that you’re likely to run into. Let’s talk a bit about each of them so we are all on the same page.
Here’s what a typical Product Design process looks like. This has been my personal process for the longest time. At the moment I lead the design for 2 South East Asian transportation solution apps and their web versions. On the side we are working on developing an internal tool for enhancing productivity and tracking our KPIs.
Let’s talk about the good stuff first! What makes SketchApp so amazing and something you would want to use for your project.
1. Learning Curve
Sketch’s learning curve is not steep like some other apps like photoshop or adobe illustrator. If you’ve worked with any of those apps (or coral draw) you’ll quickly find yourself standing on your feet. Basic functions and toolbars are similar to those in Illustrator. Other than some advanced features or prototyping you’ll pick up the tase pretty quickly.
2. Quick Layouts
Since sketch app is similar to Adobe Illustrator, drafting a layout is super quick. The tools are organized differently otherwise you’ll find your friendly rectangles, eclipse, lines right there on the left hand side corner. Sketch App comes with a powerful grid system that can be used to create pixel perfect layouts. Your components will neatly snap to the grid and not overly on sub-pixels however if you want, it lets you choose between “Unevenly distribute” or “place on sub-pixels”. You encounter this when you’re trying to equally space objects that can’t be placed on equal number of pixels apart.
3. Artboard Presents
Sketch App’s artboards already have the most popular devices as preset – just a click away.
- 16 Apple Device Presets
- 11 Android Device Presets
- 4 Responsive Web Presets
- All major paper sizes (A3, A4…)
4. Exporting files
If you’ve been working with photoshop to design the UI or UX of your products then you’ll absolutely love this. Most if not all your elements would be in raster format making it such a pain in the ass to export @2x, @4x, @8x and so on. Sketch App lets you export files in SVG (full vector), PNG, JPG and even PDF format. If you wish not to export the entire page of your app or website, you can choose individual components or group of components to be exported in any of these versatile formats. The program automatically picks the name of that group (from your layers panel) or the art board while exporting for easier organization of assets.
5. Cloud Sharing
Speaking of sharing and exporting – let’s not forget the built in cloud storage that you get with your SketchApp license. You can export any number of projects along with their prototypes to the cloud and share with stakeholders and clients to play around with and get the exact look and feel of the website or app.
You can quickly update the cloud version for any changes you make on the offline version of those files.
6. Device Mirroring
Let’s talk prototyping for a second. You don’t want to show your new cool app designs to the client on a projector connected to your laptop screen during a presentation. With the free Sketch Mirror app you can easily mirror your designs onto the device of your devices and run those working hi fidelity prototypes on the phone. It’s a great way to actually visualize how the app would be experienced by the user and make appropriate improvements.
Download the iOS Sketch Mirror App. There is no official Sketch Mirror App compatible with android devices but there are some 3rd party apps that run well for this purpose.
Sketch autosaves your work every 5 minutes to make your life simpler and keep you out of trouble incase all hell breaks loose on your Mac while working on a project.
8. Community Support
Although it’s not public, it’s not impossible to imagine that sketch App has hundred thousands of users. A massive online community creating 3rd party plugins and templates to increase your proficiency even more. There seem to be a lot of communities supporting free and premium sketch templates. You can check out our 100+ sketch freebies on UeyeDesign.