First week of using Google Gallery + Sketch
Firstly, I’m one of those odd designers without an iPhone in my pocket. In fact, I’ve only own 1 iPhone, the original one. Since then, I’ve gone through many different Android phones and currently I’m a happy owner of Pixel 2. So naturally I was very excited about Google IO8 keynote. And yet I was in for a treat when Google announced what they had in store for Design.
Material theming is great. And I wouldn’t have bought a design system template if I had known they would release this. But I wanted to talk more about Gallery.
I’ve been using it for a week now and I have to say, Gallery is a fantastic effort from the Google design team to streamline not only Material design guidelines but also the design process for everyone. With the Material’s Sketch plugin, you can upload the Artboards directly to Gallery and anyone with a Google account (who doesn’t?) can access the project to view, comment, inspect, download assets (from other Google products like Drive and Suite) and documents as Viewers and edit as Editors.
Furthermore, there are version control for different iterations so it’s super handy to show clients and stakeholders different approaches in your design process and for your teammates to get updates seamlessly.
I also find the inspect functionality much more accurate than Invision’s counterpart. The way Invision view spacing in relation with borders can be off when handed off to developers, this doesn’t happen with Gallery, which obviously will create more precise prototypes and end products.
Another great feature is the ability to put frames for (an extensive list of) different devices around your designs so you can easily view how they look before bringing it to the next phase. Or if you want to show others what is your intention with a particular screen. Invision also has this but the constraint lays on one particular project, not individual screens.
I also love the UI treatment for comments, isolated while going through them with the actual comments on the right-hand side.
And of course, there’s an app for both iOS and Android for on the fly view and collaborating.
On the other hand, there are a couple things that I would love to see in the future. For example, the ability to have a CSS generator for easy implementation.
It also would be ideal to have better sharing settings to people without a Google account because I found it a bit cumbersome trying to invite people to view the project or sending projects for some outsiders for viewing purposes only. And even if when Google sent an email notifying me that someone is asking for permission, their email address wouldn’t show up in Gallery for approval.
Will Gallery replace Invision for me? Probably not. It’s free and even though it’s great, it’s not a prototyping tool. Not now anyways.
Lastly, the question is, Apple has been great with their designs, but what else are they going to do to compete with Google in the design space? Because to me, Google is not just making designs, they are changing the way we design, too. And this is not to say Apple should start making products exactly like Gallery or Material theming but design space may be evolving faster than ever now with innovation like this and I’m very excited to be witnessing it.
I’m a Vietnamese UX designer based in Sydney, Australia. More about me at https://www.shayho.com