User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) play a significant role in app design, as the usability and success of an app will completely depend on how it is designed.
Here at SwarmOnline, our team of UX/UI designers use a variety of design software to create fantastic looking, high quality app mock-ups, designs and prototypes. Here are three of our favourite tools that we use when delivering our design and prototyping bootcamps:
1. Balsamiq Mockups
A rapid wire-framing tool.
Balsamiq Mockups is a powerful UI mock-up and wireframe creation tool. It allows our designers to arrange pre-built widgets using a WYSIWYG editor. The application is offered in a desktop version as well as a plug-in for Google Drive, Confluence and JIRA.
Balsamiq includes several drag-and-drop elements, from buttons to lists, each styled as a hand-drawing. The basic premise behind this tool is to keep the mock-ups “intentionally rough looking and low fidelity”.
The advantage to creating these “intentionally rough” mock-ups is that it generates much more honest feedback from the client, which in the end results in much better wireframes, easier-to-use features, and happier end-users of the app.
Vector design tool focused on user interface design.
Sketch, unlike programs like Photoshop or Illustrator, is a design tool focused solely on creating a streamlined place to work on UI design. By focusing on just UI design, it allows for more efficiency and less distractions – there is no overwhelming toolbar where half of the options are intended for photo editing, digital painting or 3D.
Sketch allows for UI design for variety of different device sizes and resolutions. It also works in conjunction with its sister app, Sketch Mirror, which allows designers to see live previews of the apps as they design them.
Create animated and interactive app prototypes.
Principle is a prototyping tool that designers use to create animated and interactive user interfaces for mobile and web apps. Prototypes are a great way of bringing screen designs to life and allows the client to get a better sense of the user journey and flow through the app as well as user interaction. Principle provides designers with a toolbox of features that can be combined in many creative ways to produce a variety of results and user experiences.
One of Principle’s main strengths that sets it apart from other prototyping software is it’s use of not just one, but two animation timelines. The main timeline in Principle is used to animate objects between screens. This could be something like a hamburger menu animation, a simple page transition or a card style swipe animation.
The second timeline, known as the ‘drivers timeline’, allows for the addition of secondary animations that are triggered by the original animation on the main timeline. This can result in some very slick looking and detailed animations, for example – a list of items that repositions itself once one of the items has been deleted.
Similar to Sketch, Principle has a companion app called Principle Mirror that allows our designers to have a live preview of the prototype sitting beside them as they build it. It also allows us to easily share our completed app prototypes with our clients.
Interested in a Swarm design or prototyping bootcamp?
Do you want to check your future app’s look-and-feel before writing a single line of code? Our team can help you create a slick application prototype to help you better assess your project idea feasibility and your software development budget.
Get in touch with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the different bootcamp options available and let us help transform your app idea into a reality!