Collaboration software is any platform or app that helps teams communicate, work together, meet their goals, and arrive at the best solutions for the company. During this process, teams will:
- Brainstorm ideas
- Input updates to projects
- Combine knowledge and information into one overarching communication message
- Chat in groups, involve various departments, stakeholders, managers, funders, or clients
- Display mock-ups or prototype designs to access the progress of work
To create something great, listening to team members’ input means numerous revisions, focusing on the overarching goals, and meeting to incorporate the requests into the design. Defined processes and expected outcomes must be shared across the team in advance to keep work on schedule and manage expectations. Different department leaders bring their day-to-day focus to the table when providing feedback that caters to all aspects of the customer journey. As the departments will cater to the user at different stages, individual feedback will have a unique perspective as the leaders know their product delivery stage best.
UI design projects generally start with a wireframe which is a challenge for non-technical or non-creative team members to visualize the outcome. Using a wireframe for collaboration, particularly one that is low-fidelity, doesn’t lead to the best feedback as these groups can’t input accurately. A mock-up makes much more sense to support collaboration engagingly in this circumstance. Once a mock-up is circulated to a collaboration group, the first design acts as an inspirational starting point.
For founders, learning the steps to build a wireframe and mock-up can seem like a waste of time. Visily offers the ability to create a beautiful MVP-ready mock-up design taking the same time you would spend to build a wireframe. This easy process prepares you to collaborate more effectively with freelancers, business partners, or other stakeholders.
Collaboration tools that allow for direct comments are helpful, as designers can wait until they receive all feedback before proceeding with the next round of revisions. Visual feedback is a step that allows non-technical people to sketch or mock-up their feedback so the designer can grasp the concept of what the stakeholder wants to add to the design. With this feature, explaining what you what to add to a plan can be simple and straightforward for a non-designer. Visily offers every team member the chance to add any additional inspiration they have seen with the AI tool screenshot to design. It takes screenshots of existing apps or websites and converts them into beautiful, high-fidelity mock-ups.
Collaborative design is a multi-step process that consists of planning and strategy updated at each stage by feedback and updates. The UX process begins with research. All stakeholders discuss how customers use a product, what visual elements must be included, and what features they need to complete their jobs. Next is the design, which involves feedback and connecting the look and feel of the website or app after the first mock-up. Lastly, collaboration is essential for the launch phase, which is a company-wide project. Product teams will discuss the implementation of the build or design updates; marketing will take over in planning how to preview the new launch, or customer success teams will prepare education or help guides.
To keep your project working most effectively, let’s look at how collaboration works for these four tools.
Introduction to Sketch
Sketch is a product design tool focused on use cases for UI, mobile, website, and icon design. It offers low-fidelity wireframing options, and with additional features, you can build out your design to the prototyping level.
- Sketch is limited for collaboration as simultaneous editing of a project by several team members is not possible.
- Collaboration functionality can be built into your system through plug-ins, but the process requires technical setup. If the technological know-how is outside your team, this adds additional costs for setup.
- Share a Workspace – Bring your people, documents, libraries, and more together with a Sketch Workspace and give your team control over who can access and edit what during a project.
- Share Components – Give teammates instant access to Libraries of Components that they can use and reuse across designs. If something changes, like brand colors or typography, update your shared library.
Introduction to Figma
Figma is a web-based graphics editing and user interface design app popular with pro designers. You can design all types of graphic design work, from wireframes, websites, apps, prototypes, social media posts, and more.
- Figma was built around collaboration. Within the tools, project pages serve as the team’s hub and allow you to navigate from here. When collaborating using Figma, the functionality is best supported through the web UI design tool for the best user experience.
- When collaborating, users can add notes along the way and pin files to keep the organization set up to understand key phases of development, learning, and notes for future users.
- Real-time editing is possible with multiple users simultaneously. Version history and integration with Slack are impressive collaboration tools within Figma.
- The dedicated Slack channel allows project managers to answer questions directly without visiting every project page. This channel also creates a comment history for easy reference.
Introduction to Adobe XD
Adobe XD is a vector-based UI and UX design tool part of the suite of tools under Adobe Creative Cloud. It can be used to design wireframes, mock-ups, interactive prototypes, and more. It is popular for integration with a range of other Adobe products.
- Using Adobe XD in the cloud version allows your team to work on projects from multiple locations. Cloud documents also are saved automatically, allowing for real-time updates and co-editing.
- Version history is built in to allow updates that are reversible if necessary. One impressive collaboration feature of Adobe XD is the ability to share styles and assets created across design teams. This system saves time and supports large teams to ensure consistency.
- Creating shared links for your design in Adobe XD allows you to share the work or post it online. Adobe Creative Cloud integrates with Microsoft Teams which would appeal to larger enterprises or educational organizations due to the ease of collaboration.
- A User testing plug-in for Adobe XD gives customers access to gather feedback from XD. It allows you to select a user panel, select the test you wish to run, and share your prototype for feedback. From there, a sample panel of users will be selected.
Introduction to Visily
Visily is the easiest and most powerful wireframe software that enables teams to brainstorm and create beautiful apps and website mock-ups regardless of size and skills. It is a free tool built to meet the needs of non-designers and beginners to UI design.
- As Visily is a UI design tool that non-technical team members can use, the software itself is built with collaboration in mind.
- One feature is that notes can be added directly to designs to keep track of progress and learning for other users.
- The AI screenshot-to-design function allows stakeholders to upload an inspiration screenshot which is then converted to a mock-up that can be edited according to the project needs.
- Team workspaces within Visily allow for the organization of projects and collaboration through notes, feedback, and workspaces.
- As Visily is a cloud-based UI design, real-time multi-device collaboration is possible, making the process of teams working together easy and seamless.
- For developers, the CSS code generator will make their coding process faster. Sharing a design is as simple as sharing a link with Visily.
Choosing the right tool for collaboration for your UX strategy
Collaboration can make or break a project. Staying on budget while improving a project as much as possible is the balancing act that a product manager, founder, or business owner aims to maintain. Choosing an easy and intuitive tool for users, particularly beginners or non-designers, makes collaboration infinitely easier. While Sketch offers basic design elements and shapes to work with, designs do have to be created from scratch, which isn’t in everyone’s skillset. There is a learning curve with Sketch that requires a time investment to get the most out of the design features. UI designers love Sketch for its straightforward user interface and extensive plug-in library. Through the library, additional design tools can be integrated.
Figma’s appeal for collaboration is that it operates a cloud-based program. Unlike Sketch or Adobe XD, you do not have to take up space on your hard drive, which appeals to designers who typically work with large file sizes. Visily also offers this feature of real-time collaboration as a web-based tool. File sharing is very flexible, with Figma making collaboration particularly accessible. Figma does take time to learn its design system and is not a suitable program for a non-technical team member. Similar to Sketch, Figma offers free and premium plug-ins to increase the functionality of UI design and prototyping.
Adobe XD has an extensive set of features for designers and has the added benefit of being integrated into Adobe Systems. Font subscription permissions are extended into Adobe XD from other Adobe programs, which makes collaboration smoother when sharing designs, as you do not have to source any missing elements. Plug-ins are available for Adobe XD and are typically focused on shortcuts or integrations into collaboration software. Adobe XD does allow co-editing, which supports real-time collaboration.
Visily is a no-design platform that allows anyone and any team to ideate, collaborate, and ultimately create from scratch ideas to high-quality, production-ready mock-ups and designs. The ease of use is evident in the simplicity of using the tool. Pre-built templates allow you to choose from a library of app and web design templates to get you started, such as stock-trading apps, food delivery apps, and more. Visily’s AI smart design assistant is a valuable tool for automatically spotting design issues and suggesting improvement changes reducing the need for stakeholder editing.
Two AI features that make Visily stand out from the crowd are the Screenshot to design tool and Sketch to design tool. Upload a screenshot to the program, and Visily will convert it to a beautiful high-fidelity mock-up. Ideate ideas quickly and sketch them on paper, and Visily will convert it into customizable UI designs. Once you have a working mock-up, rapid prototyping will convert static designs into interactive mock-ups in seconds. Use your working MVP to impress your collaborators, as they can see the result of their work in action.
Community and Learning Resources
For anyone choosing a new UI design program, access to a community, customer support, and learning resources are going to help you learn the program and get inspiration on the best use of the tool. Each UI design tool offers features that suit the needs of different UI design projects, and the community is where you can see those features utilized by members in their innovative designs. Sketch is the more established of the four UI design programs, with an extensive developer library and availability of free designs. Figma has an active community full of support material. Figma’s design templates are limited but growing. As Adobe XD is typically a program for advanced designers, templates exist but are not commonly used. Adobe runs a community focused on UI / UX design training and discussion with a global following. While Visily is a newer addition to UI design, it offers a growing community for inspiration and support. An extensive range of website and application templates are being built into the Visily software, making starting a project straightforward and hassle-free.
Collaboration makes the design process smoother and product managers’ jobs more resourced with defined processes and understanding among stakeholders. When the people around the table understand the goals, you are more likely to achieve them.
A tool that meets your needs is essential to have the most seamless planning possible. The ability to keep clear notes and make live edits in real time is available within Figma and Visily. Sketch and Adobe XD are more limited to designers making edits, but Adobe XD does have a cloud-based version for all team members to view live edits. Sketch requires customization for collaboration through plug-ins which isn’t suitable for smaller teams or those without a strong technology team.
As Visily is a tool that any team member can use, anyone can offer a design update. Collaboration is also supported within Visily by the CSS inspection tool, which makes the process of handing over to your developer easy and stress-free. Visily while a newer tool, also offers a community to collaborate on ideas and get design feedback.
Introduce your team to Visily today and start collaborating on your next mock-up.
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