I am writing this blog on my way to Copenhagen. Wait, before you say WOW, I must clarify, I am traveling for WORK. So, it’s no fun :-(
I have not written a post for almost 2 months now so what could be a better way to utilize your time on the flight then to write for your next blog post.
I have been working on several website design projects lately. In my present organization, I am also creating a definite process of managing website design project. We are also collaborating with different teams (Tech, Creative, QA, and Content) to finalize the best practices and the checklist for each department.
But, that is not my topic for the day. I will talk about it once things are closer to finalization. My topic for today is the benefits of using collaborative SAAS based design tool. Some of the popular website prototyping tools are Figma, Invision, MockFlow etc.
These are basically internet-based interface design and prototyping tool that the designer can use to design webpage layouts. They have the amazing feature of real-time collaboration. These tools work similar to other offline tools like Sketch but in the browser!
Here are some of the first-hand benefits I experienced by while working on these tools:
Disclaimer: I have written this blog post from a perspective of a project manager. There might be different pros and cons from the designer’s perspective. So, please keep this into consideration before looking into the benefits J
1. Easy accessible
One of the best features of these tools are that they can be accessed from anyplace anywhere. All you need is an internet! It is a SAAS based tool, so all the designs files are stored online. You can edit them, download them and share with anyone online.
You do not need to download any software or tool on your system. You just need to create an account and start using it!
2. Real-time collaboration
These are great tools for team collaboration. In website design project, several teams are involved in the process i.e.- design, development, content manager, project manager, QA etc. It is very important that all the departments are aligned on every single point for the timely and efficient delivery of the project.
In these online tools, there is an option to add comments regarding the specific part of the website. Anyone who has access to the tool can see the comments and work on it. To set the accountability of tasks or review, you can tag the specific person. If they have activated their email notification feature, then they will get the email and they can start working on it instantly.
It also helps when some knowledge needs to be transferred from the design team to the development team. For example, when a designer creates a link text or button, he can place the corresponding link in the comment. Content Manager can pick that up and update the links during the development phase.
3. Easier approval process
The tools also make the approval process with the client easier, faster and effective. When you use an offline tool, you need to send the design PDF to the client and then you get their feedback as marked Up PDF. But, if there are several rounds of review, it becomes a very time confusing process with several “to and fro” with the PDF.
4. Easy to transfer files
These tools are also very helpful when you decide the transfer the design files to another team or to the client at the end of the project. You can either directly give the access of Figma to the concerned person. He can then use all the design files that are added on Figma.
Also, these tools give an option to download files in the required format. These downloaded files can be shared with other people. They can then use it on other online or offline tool.
5. Version History
One of the awesome features of these tools is that all the versions are safely stored in the tool. You can easily restore any of the older version and work on it further. I know, for the designer is a complete boon! It also gives them freedom o try to design elements without the fear of losing the basic design elements.
Although we cannot shy away from the fact that these tools also have few limitations like client may be sometimes resistant to use it because of the extra effort of signing up. But, while working on these tools, I realize that the pros are much more than the cons.
Go all out and try using different tools before finalizing the one that perfectly fits your need. If you have any questions, just drop a comment below, I would love to answer them!