Our UI/UX Designer’s Favourite Design Tools
Our inhouse UI/Visual Designer has given us the lowdown on the top UI Design programmes he likes to use:
We always start with a brief from the client on outlining their requirements. Once we have this, the first step would be putting pen to paper and sketching out some initial freehand ideas. I like to browse Muzli, Dribble and Behance for some inspiration. Once I have an idea of the design, I would move on to Sketch - probably one of my favourite and most used tools!
Sketch is a popular digital design toolkit, that allows me to create a variety of deliverables such as wireframes, hi-fi mockups, various graphic assets in one go. It’s basically a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator, merging the most used features of the two applications into one handy programme. It’s intuitive interface and powerful plugins streamline the design process allowing me to focus on the most important aspects of any design solution. One of my favourite plugins is Craft which allows me to upload and sync artboards to Invision in one go, which I can then share and collaborate with a client.
Adobe Illustrator is a popular vector graphic design software, and I use this for when it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of a vector graphic artwork. For example, I use this programme when creating design for print, such as business cards, logos and roll banners. This piece of software is a household item for most digital designers and can easily be used as an interface design tool.
Lastly, Invison - our real time client collaboration tool. This software comes into play once the designs are created and mostly signed off by the client. Uploading prototypes and making use of the onscreen hotspots allows us to get feedback from the client quickly and efficiently, giving us the power to make changes there and then. The ability to create prototypes for different devices ensures that all aspects are covered and the website is going to look great whether on a mobile, tablet or desktop device. There is also a handy app that can be downloaded to check mobile and tablet designs which clients love.
After the initial wireframes which focus on functionalities, content prioritisation and layout have been completed, the designs are ready to be shared with the client via Invision using the Craft plugin I’ve previously mentioned. Invision allows us to create prototypes for UX testing with the client or a group of users. The prototypes have an onscreen hotspot functionality, pointing out sections of the designs for discussion, or simply giving further information. We use prototyping to test the UX design concept and to fine-tune functionalities, content and site architecture to provide a smooth user experience meeting both user and business goals of any given project. I love the fact that the mockups can easily be updated from Sketch and the collaborative comments mode lets us work closely with the client for improvements and amendments. Once all designs are signed off they can be turned into hi-fi mockups ready for the development team to take over and get coding! Unlike wireframes, hi-fi mockups provide visual details such as colours, typography and imagery. They are realistic representations of what the final product will look like.
So there you have it - my most frequently used Digital Design programmes! Let us know what you think of these - do you have any recommendations that I could add to my list?