BBVA API Market
There are many prototyping tools, either free or on a paying basis, with more or fewer resources, with more or less functionality, but Sketch App is possibly the one best considered in the community of design and usability professionals. It is not too expensive and it also hugely flexible, with many plugins that perfectly complement the added resources needed when prototyping a product for development.
Sketch App is the typical desktop application that enables designers to work by layers, very similarly to those available in Adobe’s suite, whether Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, possibly its greatest rivals in the same sector. But what makes Sketch App really powerful is its variety of plugins, which among many other features enable you to connect to other applications to provide them with very interesting functionality in the prototyping and development process: processing fonts, images or added elements, exporting prototypes with style markup… It is ultimately a tool we can add all kinds of “steroids” to.
These are the most useful plugins for Sketch App:
When a designer embodies a new product in a prototyping tool it is usually the result of a reflection that is not only his or her own, but the end of an even broader process. A process where in addition to visual designers, other people participates, such as experts in research and conceptualization, and also specialists who want to create a user experience as intuitive and effective as possible. And just as the work of visual designers is inherited, during this chain of work they also leave a “creature” to developers which they can bring to life.
Zeplin plays a special role in this last transition. With it, visual designers can provide developers with style markup and the tool also turns that into lines of code that can be used as a starting point or simply as guidance, if developers prefer to create their own code from scratch. Zeplin summarizes the color palette (in RGB values or in the hexadecimal numbering system), the sizes of the different elements (whether buttons or menus), distances from the various margins with respect to boxes or the screen itself…
2. Craft by Invision LABS
Craft is quite a powerful and handy plugin suite for visual designers because it transfers to the prototypes external references, from colors to fonts present in other external projects, from the use of external images to using Craft’s own library of elements. Its functionality also enables elements to be changed all at once, duplicate them easily on different screens… the shortcut plugin. And if that is used the right way, it can improve the product and save time.
The plugin simplifies some repetitive actions:
●Data: Designers can add images and fonts from external projects, duplicate elements vertically and horizontally as often as they want, include file images sorted by folders to have those elements available as a future resource, look for them online or download them from other storage applications like Dropbox… Just about anything.
● Prototypes: This functionality offers designers the possibility to add native elements to their prototypes easily. Add menus or fixed footnotes to the style of native applications, add effects and animations, generate HTML and CSS to make development work easier, share in Invision any prototype from Sketch App… It expedites the next stages of a project’s development.
3. Sketch Measure
Sketch Measure is quite a useful plugin if the designer wants to provide developers with all the minimum requirements for making their design a reality, usually divided into stories (small valuable features for user experience): all the features related to fonts, colors, distances, design details such as blurs, gradients, shadows… The plugin has handy color codes for differentiating the markup referred to sizes, relative spaces or element properties.
CSSketch is a plugin that enables designers to modify the designs through a style sheet: it is ultimately a fast way of changing colors, sizes, design effects like shadows or blurs… It is fully compatible with LESS, a pre-processor that significantly extends the features of the CSS language. For example, users can add the variables and functions that make possible the maintenance and extension of CSS functionality. Like other plugins for this prototyping tool, CSSketch is available in GitHub, so any anyone can contribute to its enhancement as an application.
These are some interesting benefits of this plugin:
● Thanks to CSSketch it is possible to automatically detect any change, however small, in the style sheet once it has been added. Applying changes to this sheet enables them to be applied quickly to the design.
● CSSketch is based on the Webkit engine, the same code used by browsers as widely used as Apple’s Safari or Google’s Chrome.
● All the design elements have default position values.
5. Icon Stamper
This is one of those plugins that can seem trivial, but it is very useful. It enables designers to create work templates to easily create icons for all the screens available for both iOS and Android environments. All you need to do is create the application’s icon for the largest screen size, select the layers making up the newly designed icon, go to ‘Plugins’, choose ‘Icon Stamper’ and it will be duplicated in the rest of the workbenches. This is simple functionality that saves a lot of work.
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