A good week for design

April 13th 2016

This week I'm feeling more excited about design and the progress we're making as a community than I have in a long time. New Framer, new Origami Studio (coming soon), and a new Sketch point-release all dropped in the last 48 hours.

Across the entire product design workflow, every tool has leveled up:

  • The new symbol system in Sketch 3.7 makes it easier to manage UI components across screens, flows and pages. The new system also makes it harder to corrupt all your layers at once by accidentally tweaking a symbol (this is why I haven't used symbols in years). Treating UI as reusable components makes so much sense and maps to how things actually get built in code.

    I've been using Sketch 3.7 for the past eight hours (no beta for me, sadly) and I'm already sold. Today I worked on four core groups of symbols:

    • OS chrome (status bars, Android navbar, browser URL bars, etc.)
    • Mobile web
    • iOS
    • Android

    Each of those groups are arranged in columns, with each component aligned horizontally in rows. UI tweaks can be made x-platform in just a few clicks by editing these master symbols, and I can make sure I'm matching all platform specs with a glance.

  • Better, faster prototyping from Framer and Origami. I haven't had a chance to dig into the new Framer yet, but I've been working in Origami Studio for the past few months at Facebook. It's a massive level up from the old QC + Origami plugin system. I remember first jumping into Studio earlier this year and being sufficiently ramped up within 1-2 hours. That was mind-blowing. Now I can iterate on multi-step flows in minutes. As in, 5 minutes to throw together a stateful, multi-level-navigation prototype, mirrored on-device. It feels like cheating.

    I've heard from many people that the noodle-port system of QC and the old Origami plugin system felt messy and over-complicated. I felt the same way for a long time (much to the annoyance of my friends working on Studio). But the product team has been pushing obscenely fast to make the app a fast, abstract-able, and easy tool for prototyping across all platforms. It'll come out later this year and I highly recommend everyone give it a try.

Happy designing everyone, it was a good week for the entire community.

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