UX Design tooling

When I joined the team in my current place of work designs were often sketched by hand or designed in Balsamiq or sometimes not at all. The process was to build a feature for a client and hoped that met their needs and surprise more often than not is wasn’t what they had envisioned.

I thought a far more efficient and cheaper process would be to build a high-fidelity prototype and make it look exactly like the product we were building, and get feedback from the client to see if it met their needs. After All, changes at this stage of the process are easy to make.

The problem was that Balsamiq is a great tool for low fidelity prototyping and it’s use case is to essentially get the look and feel of a hand drawn sketch. This is perfect for allowing the Dev teams to get started on work quickly but doesn’t convey the overall design to a client.

I needed something high fidelity so I began to look at all the current bleeding edge UX tools to achieve this. I settled on three Sketch, Adobe XD, & UXPin. Each one offers something slightly different. While Sketch was my preferred tool of choice its unfortunately Mac only. In a PC only organisation this wouldn’t have allowed for sharing and previewing of design with say the Product Owner. Adobe XD was still in Beta at the time and was lacking many of the features of it’s competitors. It recently moved to it’s first 1.0 release and is swiftly catching up and perhaps will be the cross platform de facto tool of choice for UX Designers in the not too distant future.

In the end we settled on UXPin for many reasons. It allowed me to work with the Product Owner in a swift and efficient manner. It provides a comprehensive comment system which is essential to get designs to a complete state, it generates stylesheets for the dev team and handles all those micro requirements like css rules that often don’t make it to the acceptance criteria of sprint stories, and lastly it allows us to create high fidelity prototypes in the browser that any stakeholders can view worldwide. It also provides Sketch and Photoshop integrations so I can upload designs from my Mac.