Juan Vaamonde
Juan Vaamonde

Journal

My journal is where I infrequently write about design & startups

My design workflow

Over the past few years I’ve considered it a high priority to constantly be on the lookout for the best tools that can allow me to simplify my workflow and produce better work, faster. That will be considerably harder now due to the closing of the excellent app review network Appstorm. What follows, is a list of my current favourite apps that I use every day. I encourage you to check them out and hopefully they can improve your workflow too.

 

Cloud Storage

Dropbox

dropbox-logo_stacked_2.png

Recently I realised that I've grown so accustomed to using Dropbox, that I found it hard to believe I used to work across multiple devices without its magical syncing powers. Thanks to HTC's deal with Dropbox, I received an extra 23GB of storage space with my old HTC One S and began using Dropbox for storing everything I cared about. A truly indispensable tool if you work across multiple devices and expect everything to just, be there. 

 

UI Design

Sketch 3 by Bohemian Coding

Wow, where do I start. A lot has been written about Sketch 3 and how well it suits designing interfaces. For most designers the conversation about Sketch 3 includes Photoshop. To be more specific "Why should I switch from Photoshop?" I made the switch more than a year ago, and recently I was forced to use Photoshop to design a user interface for the first time in ages. I broke out into a cold sweat. "How did I use Photoshop before?" I asked myself. It became clearer than ever that it was nothing more than a hulking, clunky, beast that had evolved over the years by merely adding more and more junk. Sketch lets you design. It lets you do it your way and it doesn't try to do anything else. It's cheap, and is updated frequently. Both times I have made bug complaints, one minor and one major, these were fixed in the following release. Good luck getting that kind of response from Adobe. It is the single most important tool I use to design. Vector rendering, pages, grids, shortcuts that make sense, smart objects, automagic colour palettes, measuring tools, iOS7 background blur... the list goes on.
Photoshop, you've been replaced.

 

Wireframing & Prototyping

UXPin

After using Axure for wireframing for so long, UXPin was a breath of fresh air. You could say UXPin is to Axure as Sketch 3 is to Photoshop. Roughly speaking. First of all, its quite pretty. Second of all, it's more than a wireframing tool. It's a UX tool. Marcin Treder, the founder of UXPin designed this app with the workflow of the UX designer in mind. So he built in a feedback system and allowed you to create other UX documents, like Persona profiles. It's thoughtful really. And to top it all off, it's cloud based and makes it easy to create responsive wireframes.

 

Axure

Axure has evolved in a similar way to Photoshop. Not in trying to do adjacent things, (Photoshop now lets you animate) but tacking on feature after feature in order to keep up with the quickly changing digital landscape. To me its quite clear its been around for a while. Jump in and you'll see what I mean. UXPin was built for now, and is much simpler by comparison. Nevertheless, the reality is Axure is powerful. I'm not aware of any other tool aimed at designers that gives us the ability to create a prototype that actually handles input. So if thats the deliverable you need to produce for your project, then Axure is what you're looking for. But you certainly won't enjoy using it.

 

Flinto

Designing an app? Sketch 3 + Flinto = Magic. With Flinto you'll enjoy putting together a simple interactive app prototype. It's as simple as uploading your designs and linking the hotspots together and selecting which animation you like. Flinto is for quick and dirty animations so it is fairly limited. There aren't many animations and you can't slice designs up to transition individual elements. But you can quickly chuck something together, and at an early stage in your app's development, the ability for a designer to quickly go from design to functioning prototype is mind-blowing. Stop getting your static pages reviewed and discussed by the team. Discuss your crafted journeys. Flinto lets you do that.

 

Invision

Flinto for websites basically. Super simple. It lets you upload your designs and link together with hotspots. Has a built in feedback system and hover states. For putting together a quick user journey of your web designs, I highly recommend chucking them into Invision.

 

Inspiration Library Management

Inboard

 

Ember

 

Writing

Evernote

 

Ommwriter

 

Task management

Wunderlist

 

Clear

 

Colour management

Spectrum

 

Coding

Sublime Text 2

I never code.

But when I do, I use Sublime Text 2.

 

Utilities

Flux

You. Must. Download. This. Your eyes will thank you.

 

Sip

 

Clean My Mac 2

This app has so far cleaned 530GBs of junk from my Macbook Pro in a year. My SSD is only 500GB. Enough said.