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Designing in 2016

Last year was one of the best years for digital designers. It was the year when designing for mobile interfaces got so much easier.

The major change, at least for me, was ditching Photoshop for a better alternative, Sketch. If you are still using Photoshop for app design, uhm… let me just say this: one file with 50 screens, under 200 mb.

Of course, 2 years later, after noticing that their solutions for interface design are indeed a mess (usability wise), Adobe is trying to stay in the game with the launch of **Adobe XD **(Experience Design) but so far it’s still not a strong competitor for Sketch.

If you are building apps, Sketch has became very stable and the learning curve is pretty easy. But let’s leave Sketch aside, and move to the other areas of UX/UI, like testing and prototyping.

2015 was a crazy year of this area: Invision, Marvel, UXpin, Pixate and so many other solution are fighting to get you onboard and test your prototypes on their platforms. And of course, the quality and quantity of articles dedicated to User Experience have really improved thanks to Medium.

But there are so many opportunities out there to make the entire design process better.

One of them is:

Motion Design

Principle prototype

Principle prototype from Metalab

Problem - More people drop off on the welcome screen than we would like! (current welcome screen attached) Proposed…dribbble.com

Tools like After Effects, FramerJS or Pixate are nowadays the way to go for creating animations, effects or different micro interactions.

Which is insane.

And here’s why:
When working on a project, let’s say an application, you are creating all your files in Sketch, multiple artboards etc. They all look nice but now you need to explain them to the developers.

You can go and explain how you imagined it, or you could go ahead and create something in one of the mentioned tools.

First problem: in order to do that you have to rebuild the entire screen architecture with export assets. And that takes time.

Second problem: everything that you created is used only as an indicator for the developers to understand. Pixate can be an exception as it uses native code to display the motion, which can make developers life easier.

Challenge for 2016:

A tool that can use Sketch boards directly (without exporting anything) and that can translate my animations in useful code for Android or iOS. Right now Silver Flow sounds promising with the Craft and InVision integration (they were acquired by InVision)

Silver Flows allows users to define all of the logic and transitions required to create prototypes directly inside the Sketch interface. The tool has been in development for more than a year, and it’s currently in private beta. We’ve been working with the Silver Flows team to incorporate this functionality directly into an upcoming release of our Craft plugin for Sketch.

So far it has been a crazy year. InVision making smart acquisitions like Napkin, SilverFlow or Macaw, Adobe launching Sketch competitors, Pixate getting acquired by Google and so many other things I probably missed.

Designers, get ready. This is our year.