VGTech is a blog where the developers and devops of Norways most visited website share code and tricks of the trade… Read more



Are you brilliant? We're hiring. Read more

Communicating designs across departments and borders – the productivity & communication rig.

Design

As an in-house design department we are always searching for tools to communicate new concepts, ideas and finished designs to management, journalists and decision makers. We do complete A-Z projects, build niche sites, redesign dated services, complete re-dos of the main product and small incremental improvements for our products across the board of web, tablet and mobile. Once in a blue moon we even create stuff to be printed on paper.

As an 8 person design department we deliver designs in all forms and shapes, so finding “THE ONE” tool proved to be challenging. Until we discovered the rig we use today, we were all over the map on preferred software and storage solutions. We used illustrator, we used photoshop, pen and paper, external contributors delivered sketch files and we had members of the team just prototyping directly in html, which is fine, but leave us with the challenge of distributing the design assets between the team members to everyones benefit over time.

There is a plethora of different services for quick prototyping, and new ones coming out every week. Balsamic, Omnigraffle, Keynote, wire.fra.me.us.in.to.th.ecorn.er — It seems like digital designers are experiencing a lot of the same frustrations and problems, since there are so many services out there.

We struggle to build clickable-almost-real-looking-concepts within available time. We’re in need of software that make designs look real, before it´s actually made. Beatiful problem, isn’t it?

In our department we needed a rig that made it easy to distribute early concepts between designers and “client”. Get feedback. Benefit from asset libraries and link it closely with a cloud service for all storage. Finally, we landed on the combo of Axure and Dropbox after a team member in Krakow tipped us about Axure and trying it out in a project. We all used Dropbox already, but upgrading it to a business account allowed us to increase space and access to all files related to all projects.

As we set up a basic folder structure for designers, projects and assets on Dropbox, Axure allowed us to work on and distribute password protected prototypes. The bonus ahead will be to have all the feedback from contributers and stakeholders in the same place. Just a tab away from our design. This require us to educate stakeholders on how to append feedback to the prototypes, but this will definitely be worth the effort.

There were some issues with changing old habits for all members of the team and some hassle with the beauty of private/work dropboxes merging. Fortunately, Dropbox have announced that a solution for this is on the horizon. Introducing team members into new software requires initial investment of learning, but I think the obvious benefit of sharing assets and being able to access each others projects outweighs this over time.

Peace out

Norwegian designer and entrepreneur. Work with industrial design, product development and usability. Enjoys executing big ideas and is a long time devotee to music,technology, brewing and the great outdoors.


2 comments

  • Johan Høgåsen-Hallesby

    Sounds all too familiar.

    I currently struggle with finding the best way to prototype the subtle things in a modern UI that are not covered in a static wireframe. The little transitions, the animations and all those other little details that is an important part of the UX. While they are tiny details, they might still be core to the concept and not something you could add later on in the project. Do you feel Axure is adequate to let you prototype and communicate that part of the experience? (I take it you have quite a lot of experience with this from Katachi as well).


    • Axel Haugan

      Axel Haugan

      Hi Johan. You can get a lot of good looking stuff done with the "dynamic panels"-functionality and a tiny bit of JavaScript. We´re working on an app-prototype in Axure with some complexity to it right now and we see it´s time consuming to take it all the way to that next level of detailing. Alternatives would be to animate details within the lovely Creative Suite, but we rarely have the time or see the need in our daily work. Happy Prototyping.

Leave your comment