Brand new way to execute design process is upon all of us.
Will design in production end-up superior to prototyping in Sketch, Illustrator, InVision, etc.?
Is there a new Production Designer role on the horizon? I know, I can't call myself a front-end developer because I make design decisions in the process of building interfaces.
Do we all become unicorns?! Is that what it takes?
Here's the roundup of products claiming the lead in this new space:
Not all of the above are available at the point of starting this thread (in fact most of those tools are in beta or on a private preview stage), but from their websites, we can learn what they are shooting for:
"A collection of tools for building design systems and using them to generate cross-platform UI code, Sketch files, images, and other artifacts." Lona
"Design with code, without knowing how to code." Interplay
"Component-based design system manager for building production-ready UI." Compositor Lab
"A radically new digital design tool built for cross-functional product teams." Alva
"Design, meet production. Craft imaginative UI components that snap into any app. Code optional." Haiku
"The world's most powerful screen design tool." InVision Studio
"Design Interfaces with <Source code/>." BuilderX
Over the last three years, I've done five projects as a Production Designer. Here's what it means to me:
I wireframe and prototype in Sketch and Illustrator, but I don't hand-off visuals and specs to engineers. I use Views language (https://spectrum.chat/thread/277230be-ced3-4398-8b33-66fa379403ca) and build all required views myself as I design them. It's faster that way. I get higher quality results, and I have full control over the outcome.
I talk to engineers more often than to other folks my teams, and I understand what they say back to me. I'm still learning, but I'm doing that on the job.
When I face challenges, I ask questions and Google a lot.
I know the technical constraints, and over time my designs became easy to implement. As a result, my design aesthetic tends to be very clean and functional.
It's hard to tell if engineering makes me a better designer. It surely doesn't make me worse.
I've acquired interaction design skills and make use of them every day. I test new ideas right in the application instead of prototyping fake mockups in Framer, or documenting them as a series of flat artboards in Sketch.
I lead product teams from within because development is not a bottleneck for implementation of UX and UI improvements. It means I can provide lots of value directly in production winning trust from product owners and managers, as well as from developers.
I go to sleep supercharged and motivated from seeing results of my direct contribution in the hands of users.
Did you try some of those tools already?
Are there any other Production Designers out there?