4 Must-Have Prototyping Features for Designers Who Value Efficiency
Watch out for these in your tool, to keep your workspace and design processes neat and tidy
The market for prototyping tools is a competitive one. There are so many great products built to enable designers to deliver the best experience for users. For a UX designer just starting out, the choices are endless.
In order to pick the right tool for you, you’ll need to explore everything at your disposal — including the heavy weights in the arena like Sketch, Axure RP, Invision and the new contenders such as Figma, Adobe XD or Wondershare Mockitt. Unless you try them, you won’t find the hidden gems that attract you to a specific application.
For example, even if its relatively new, Mockitt solves quite a few pain points I’ve had with my usual tools. And it made me think — why don’t more people know about this? They absolutely must!
So, I’ve prepared a (non-exhaustive) checklist of features to look for in your tool of choice, especially if you’re aiming to improve efficiency and declutter your workspace!
1) All Purpose Collaboration Tool
When I was at a corporation, they spoiled us with fancy equipment, innumerable product licenses and high-end machines. (It came with the added hassle of integrating several different tools into your design process.)
Now that I’ve gone freelance, I’m beginning to feel the pressure on both my CPU and my pocket.
What designers like us crave is a “one-size-fits-all” answer to our needs.
From wireframing, low-fi and hi-fi prototyping, design reviews, integrating stakeholder comments, to final presentations and dev-ready designs — its important to have one tool that does it all.
2) Decluttering Features like Screen States, Screen folders
I have a confession. I’m a neat freak — in both the real world, and the digital world. I like my Desktop uncluttered, just as I like my sheets to be devoid of creases.
When I’m working on a big project, with multiple screens and iterations, I’m always at a loss on how to declutter my canvas.
In this case, one particular product stood out far above the rest — Wondershare Mockitt. Their Screen states have made it so simple to avoid creating multiple screens just to demonstrate minor changes in the flow. And when I’m done with round 1 iterations, I can easily store them in a Screen Folder or subfolder, and start fresh on round 2.
Let’s consider a small example: The other day I wanted to create a Live Stream interface with a Live Chat element superimposed on the video. I tried the same thing on Adobe XD and on Mockitt, to compare the two workspaces and see which is cleaner. See for yourself below!
3) Cloud-based and platform-indifferent
Imagine this — you’re going home for the weekend and you’re rushing to the airport. When you get there your manager calls for an urgent design change. Suddenly, you realise one of your files is missing, or you didn’t back up your work, or you didn’t pack your work laptop and all your licensed tools are installed on it.
Frankly, this has happened to me more than once. I live in India, and high-speed WiFi in public places is non-existent.
It’s a pain to have to carry your work laptop everywhere you go, as well as making sure your files are perfectly synced and backed-up.
Several tools like Figma and Mockitt do very well to solve this issue. When using these tools, you can access your work anywhere from a web browser, make quick changes before you board your flight or share your prototype on the run, if needed!
4) Share Prototypes and Code with a single click
Gone are the days when you’d have to create designs on Sketch, upload your prototype to Invision and then re-upload them again to Zeplin for dev-handover.
Nowadays, the new kids on the block like Figma, XD and Mockitt are making it as simple as a one-click action to switch between your ‘presentation’ view and your ‘developer’ view.
These tools also support real-time collaboration via comments left directly on the prototype.
Dealing with developers is tricky business, and if even one thing is translated wrong or goes missing during the hand-off, your final product can come out very different from the actual design.
That’s why having a variety of export options can greatly help when it comes to rendering your designs to code. A special mention to the ‘Hand-off’ mode in Mockitt, since it lets you pick dimensions and specifications, in a format of your choice, from its long list of options.
For a control freak like me, choosing the right tool can be a huge task. Overall, it seems like the rookies like XD, Figma and Mockitt are gearing up to slowly take over a competitive market.
I’m confident that we’ll get to see more innovative and interesting features coming from them soon. Till then, stay tuned!