Great designers value the art of collaboration; whether working independently and communicating with their client, or within a studio environment and teaming up with their fellow designers.
The tricky part of the design process can be the transitions between each stage of the workflow. From how the initial project specs are communicated, from sketches to more refined mockups, to the details of implementations for developers–the hand off of each stage can be a pain point especially if one uses an ill-suited tool.
One way to start easing the collaboration process can be to consider your personal workflow, starting with your design tools.
Consider what other designers on your team use. While you don’t have to use the exact same tools, it can be helpful to have the same program running if you need to pass on your work, ask technical questions or present the work in progress to the team.
As a designer, there may be several categories of deliverables throughout your workflow. For example:
- Visual comps/prototypes
- Application testing
For each of these there are existing design tools that may work better in one category over another. Prioritize what works well for you personally and also what your team is using. You’re looking for the program that best allows your work to be compatible with the other designers you may need to work with.
Another good rule of thumb to keep in mind throughout your workflow is to conduct “testing early and often”. This is a good way to save time in the long run–it keeps your workflow user centered and helps align your stakeholders with the direction of the design.
As for the future of design tools, the latest updates and plugins seek to merge design and development as this is another transition that can be difficult to navigate.
Take a look at these resources to further your learning of the topics we’ve discussed. Also, be sure to check out the extremely useful UX tools compared.