The times of close offline work in the office space are long gone. The COVID-19 pandemic has closed the doors of millions of enterprises, sending people home. Yet, saying that remote work started with COVID-19 would be an exaggeration. In fact, people from all corners of the globe became a mobile and accessible workforce several decades ago, with the advent of the Internet and its spread as a regular human commodity.
Employers enjoy the flexibility and competitiveness of an outsourced labor force, hiring UX designers from across the globe for various jobs. Thus, modern design teams used to be distributed even before the pandemic, though facing extra collaboration challenges during social isolation.
So, which tools can help a design team do its job well? How can workers share files, sketches, and meaningful discussions? How can clients remain in the loop without assigning a separate employee for this task? Here is an expert review of functional and user-friendly tools for design collab for your team’s success.
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The times when all designers worshipped Photoshop are long gone. This software giant is immortal, and many things are still done with Photoshop the best, but it’s not the only solution now. Sketch is the vector graphics editor that changed everything, making the editing job much easier and more fun. It is a lightweight app – a huge advantage over Photoshop – but it can still do pretty much. Designers prefer Sketch for its great prototyping features and no need for extensive onboarding. And the best of it all is the cloud service allowing seamless team collaboration.
Source: from Pantheon.io
Miro is a universal tool for team collaboration. It offers a real-time collaborative whiteboard with many ready-made templates and instruments. You can discuss any ideas and experiment with their designs online while discussing the project with teammates online. Besides, Miro integrates many other collaborative tools’ APIs to let you avoid friction or duplication of data across apps. So, you can establish a single working environment in Miro using your Slack, Dropbox, Google Suite, and other tools.
InVision is a staple for remote collaboration as the company also relies on a remote workforce almost exclusively. So, its product is an outcome of valuable (and sometimes painful) lessons learnt from fine-tuning distributed teams’ collaboration. It offers a single creative space for your project’s design workflow. It also provides prototyping functionality to take you to a new level of design management. What’s more, InVision has an in-built feature of workflow’s distribution for remote usability testing. So, the software is a full-scale design container. It helps produce everything from scratch and polish it until the final implementation.
ProofHub is an all-in-one solution for task and project management that can bring control back to the product design process. It is easy to lose track of the project’s workflow amid the chaos of distance communication and fragmented documentation. Yet, you have all processes at your fingertips with tools like this regardless of the staff number or complexity. It allows better documentation management in one place, effective task distribution and monitoring, and quicker task review. These improvements are sure to speed up task approval and help the team move on with the design project’s delivery much smoother.
The distributed team faces hard times when it comes to design approval and review. Coordinating the review and collecting feedback takes more time than in-house design work. Besides, the participants of this process may find it hard to send correct messages and explain their points. It is not always easy in non-personal communication.
Filestage enables easier feedback on various progress reports of the design project. Each piece of feedback left in the project’s file creates a new task for the designer. This means that no comments can be left unattended, each requiring further action. The software takes extra care of version control so that many participants in the design process don’t mess it all up. Review finalization is also easy, enabling you to close the task and approve the design in a couple of clicks.
Figma is a definite hit in the world of UI design today. It has already collected a fan base of 2+ million designers, and this number is growing in leaps. The platform is very easy to use and offers great functionality that you’re sure to love. Its multiple components and UI elements, a rich collection of plugins, auto layouts, and smart tools will drive every design geek crazy.
One serious bummer is its price, which may be unaffordable for small-scale firms or freelancers. Still, if you handle many projects and want your designers to collaborate productively, Figma is the best way to go.
Communication is key to any design process, and distributed teams need it even more than their in-house counterparts. Slack is an ideal variant for organizing communication and documentation across different projects. It has a frictionless UI allowing many team members to stay in the loop, give feedback on various intermediate product variants, and track the project’s progression.
Online communication face to face is also vital during the design process done by remote workers. Slack is very good at many things, but it doesn’t offer the convenient online conferencing tools that Zoom does. The quality of connection, visual representation, ease of use, and variety of features have made Zoom a software hit during the pandemic. So, it’s definitely here to stay, allowing high-quality communication at a distance.
Investment in Collaboration Pays Off
As you can see, the number of collaboration tools grows day by day. They offer new flexible products with many appealing features. This happens due to the fierce market competition among companies in the online space. They all wish to claim a piece of the lucrative remote work market pie. When choosing design-related software, you need to focus on various parameters. The most important include the product’s pricing plans, scalability, online communication and file storage features, etc. Make sure you choose the option that will serve you for years, meeting your scalability and growing staff demands.