One of the things I enjoy doing and lecturing in my classes is about how designers can positively help their organizations change. I think at times some new designers working at organizations think they can only help through their design skills (visual, interaction, prototyping, etc.) but there are a lot of other ways designers can help make an impact at their organizations other than just designing things. One of the things a designer can do is to help the team pick the right design tool which has several different impacts to the organization.

A previous student emailed me today and asked for advice on how they can get their company to stop using a very outdated design tool and to help them to start using Figma. They mentioned how their director wasn’t really open to that change and they asked for advice on how they can address that situation. To me changing their main design tool isn’t just about the design tool or an impact to their designers. To me it’s a change to how the company collaborates across different disciplines, positive benefits through the improved productivity of the team, the consolidation of design tools thanks to Figma’s awesome features which could help save the company money, and other ways this can help the organization. …

If you work on a product team you probably have heard of the saying that a prototype is worth a thousand meetings. I overall agree with this, meetings will still happen but there is definitely less back and forth between different stakeholders when there is a prototype to reference. I love prototyping and I wanted to write down some thoughts on the benefits other then less meetings taking place.

I originally started prototyping because I thought it was really cool. I was always inspired by all the awesome prototypes filled with interesting interactions and animations floating around online on sites like Dribbble. I realized some of these prototypes weren’t really feasible for production or great experiences for users but that’s a topic for another post. Based off the original inspiration I started to take my hi-fidelity mockups and I started creating prototypes using software such as the original Flinto and Pixate and currently I use Framer and Flinto for Mac. …

This post will be a simple tutorial that will go over some basic concepts on how to animate layers on a screen using Framer.

Framer is my main tool I use to prototype interactions and animations for my design work. Framer has a bit of a learning curve and I’ve seen people drop off from the complexities this tool comes with, but I will be writing a series of posts to help build the foundation to help people continue building with Framer.

Here is another fun post I did a while ago that goes over other concepts titled, Learn Framer with Kanye. …

This post will be part of a series of posts that will go over mistakes and lessons learned working as a designer. My goal is to keep them short and concise and hopefully provide value so other designers don’t make the same mistakes.

One of the mistakes I made starting out as a designer was designing the perfect final state and passing the mocks with redlines onto the developers. What I failed to realize in the past is that the final ‘perfect’ mockup is just one state of the current design. …

A few basics to get you up and running in Framer.

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Illustration by Christine J Moon

I have been using Framer as my main prototyping tool and it’s been amazing so far. The Framer team has definitely built something super awesome and useful for designers and product builders all around the world.

To get a deep understanding of Framer I recommend learning more about JavaScript and CoffeeScript because Framer uses CoffeeScript which is built on top of JavaScript. I included various resources at the end of this post.

For the purpose of this tutorial I wanted to provide a few examples to get people started prototyping animations right away on Framer.

Sometimes it can be hard to just read and learn about code but I think it’s best to just show people how easy it is to get up and running with Framer. …

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Over the past few years I have been a part of various product teams ranging from startups (teams of 2–5, 10–15, 20+) and large corporations (35+). Each team I have been a part of is different in terms of how work is distributed and how the team works with each other. Each team size comes with its own structure and dynamic that has its pros and cons. Through this experience I have curated some characteristics that I believe make a great product team. This isn’t an exhaustive list but the following are the ones that come to mind.

The following list is in no particular order.

I recently started learning Pixate and it became my main tool of choice for prototyping animations. I use it on a daily basis and it helps me to visually show my engineer the types of interactions and animations I am thinking about and as a resource for the engineering team to refer back to as they build it in code. Pixate is another valuable resource for user testing and showing stakeholders a prototype compared to static mocks. I decided to start writing up tutorials for people to learn how Pixate works. …

I enjoy coming up with app ideas and building apps. I wanted to share some of my tips for coming up with new app ideas. A lot of these ideas just sit in my Google Sheet but some of them get turned into actual products.

The following are my tips for thinking of app ideas ☺

Think of impossible sounding ideas

I really believe great products start off as ideas that seem impossible at first. Something I enjoy doing is writing down ideas that seem impossible with our current technology (hardware/software) and just start dreaming up impossible sounding ideas. …

About

Michael Lee

Senior Product Designer @ VMware, www.mikehlee.com

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