As any designer knows, difficulties can often arise when it comes to project management. Whether it is the ease of communication within the team, or getting the right idea across to a client, these issues take up valuable time and can make your life harder.
Say goodbye to hefty email attachments and long phone calls, and say hello to easy communication and planning. To help you make the most of your time, we’ve compiled a list of the best tools out there for sharing designs with your team and your clients.
Atomic is a great app for sharing design prototypes. Here are a few of its features:
- it is extremely user-friendly, which also makes using it a very quick process;
- it uses the same keyboard shortcuts as Sketch;
- designs can be imported from Photoshop and Sketch;
- it doesn't require any coding at all, and can animate between states with commands;
- it offers the ability to design within the browser;
- it is compatible with both Mac and PC;
- your team can be invited to work on the same design;
- sharing is possible via a custom URL;
- it is possible to design using interaction triggers and gestures.
Like Atomic, InVision is another tool that allows you to create interactive designs that you can then easily share with team members and clients. These interactive designs are much more effective than static PDF styles, and really let the client see the flow of the product. Here’s a bit more information regarding InVision:
- people are able to comment on the project simply by clicking and writing their text;
- comments are automatically created as tasks, so you can easily keep track of your changes;
- “hover states” can easily be created, such as menus and tooltips;
- gestures can be programmed easily, such as double tap, slide left/right, and more;
- as mentioned earlier, a personalized link allows the team or client to see a realistic product, complete with animations and triggers;
- LiveShare lets you and your team all use the app at once, with every person using a personal mouse; team members and clients can sketch and chat directly in LiveShare as well.
With a focus on communication, Red Pen makes teamwork easier than ever before. Created by designers, for designers, Red Pen offers maximum efficiency and (as their tagline reads) “effing fast feedback”, all in one, light-weight, and easy-to-use package. Here are a few things that make Red Pen effective:
- there's absolutely no setup time;
- it saves “drafts” of your project so you can easily go back to a former design;
- you can easily upload a project and generate a share link;
- it has a point-and-click mechanism for leaving comments;
- you can see comments in real time, as well as the current open windows of team members and clients;
- it sets absolutely no limit on the number of collaborators who can work on a project or the invites you can send;
- the customer support team comes “highly praised” and reply to concerns in a timely manner.
As with all the applications included in this list, Notism’s goal is to make design project management quicker and easier. Used by Virgin Mobile, Harvard, MoMA and more, Notism is great for team collaboration and communication. Its many great features include the following:
- once you’ve uploaded your project, Notism allows you to either type notes or sketch directly on it;
- to make sketching easier, Notism offers several drawing tools including a pencil, rectangle, and circle, for easy highlighting of specific areas;
- if you need to comment on a larger section of the project, use the highlighter which is perfect for identifying broader areas;
- in your toolbar, you are able to see the cursors of whomever is working on the project in real time;
- real-time notifications can be seen, regarding your comments and progress;
- it can be used for motion design work (which can also be highlighted, sketched on, etc.);
- switching between design and video is also extremely simple.
Prevue is another great application for design project management and sharing, with a few different features. This app has been used by Vice, Huge, Humaan, Skype, and more. In addition to a simple drag-and-drop upload style, and the ability to simply drag images into project “folders”, Prevue also allows you to brand your work and secure it. Here are a few other great features:
- a brand new “Quick Menu” (featured above), that easily allows users to upload photos, manage tasks and add logos from any location in the Prevue app;
- a simple comment mechanism that makes it easy for team members and clients to add suggestions and ideas;
- the ability to control positioning and color, as well as an auto-crop feature for background images;
- Google Analytics and built-in stats that make it easy to see accurate and up-to-date information on viewing trends;
- the ability to lock and protect your projects with a password, for ultimate privacy and security;
- a recent update making the application compatible with Slack, Skype, Facebook, and Twitter.
Flatsies is an amazing design-sharing application that has been used by companies such as Firefox, Facebook, and Twitter. While the free version is currently closed to new sign-ups, the pro version is available for only £4/month. Like the previous application, Flatsies also makes it incredibly easy to design and share content in a dynamic way. A few of Flatsies’ great features include:
- a simple drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to upload images and projects;
- a mobile app that makes it easy to use Flatsies from anywhere;
- a retina-ready feature that automatically scales retina images for maximum appeal on both retina and non-retina screens
- pro features that include password protection, custom branding with logos, an unlimited number of projects with an unlimited number of collaborator invites, as well as bulk-editing capabilities (shown below).
Marqueed is another perfect addition to this list. Like all the others, this is another great and easy-to-use application designed specifically to make your life easier. In addition to its visual appeal (which can surely be appreciated by many designers), Marqueed has a number of great features:
- while Marqueed uses a simple drag-and-drop mechanism for uploading images, it also includes a “Marq it” button which allows you to download any website image directly to the app;
- threaded comments can easily be created by simply clicking an area and typing;
- it is compatible with Google Drive, and there are plans to integrate it with Dropbox as well;
- images can be labeled for quick identification of images that are in need of revision, editing, or any other categorization;
- a group setting easily lets you manage your contacts (clients, team members, etc.);
- it is possible to brand and include logos on projects, emails, and notifications.
Flinto is a user-friendly design-sharing app that enables you to quickly create custom animations and to keep track of many screens at once. This app is therefore perfect if you’re looking to create a large prototype; a whole application, for example. There is a lite version of Flinto, as well as a full version for Mac. Here a few details about Flinto:
- an element can be included from any app using a drag-and-drop mechanism;
- a transition designer gives you the ability to create your own custom animations, which will then be intuitively applied to similar elements;
- convenient transition tags let you keep track of animations and use them across multiple screens;
- gestures such as taps and swipes can be programmed;
- password protection allows you to secure your project;
- easy tracking using a “history” tab enables you to check your views-per-specific-share, and you can remove collaborator access
- a Link Snap feature makes link creation extremely rapid and simple.
Framer is a coding-based design-sharing application. This means that you are virtually limitless with regards to what you can do. While the other applications let you easily copy and re-use animations, elements, and features, Framer lets you create your own.
Dan Pérez, a designer for Google has said, “Using Framer is not just immensely rewarding as a tool to learn code, but it will also allow you to take your work to the next level”. Additional Framer features include the following:
- create designs for eight default devices including TVs and Android;
- import from Sketch and Photoshop;
- work with real user data by tracking keyboard input and gathering analytics;
- use tools to fine-tune motion and depth;
- respond to changes in orientation and depth;
- new multi-touch gestures include pinch, pan and press;
- watch a full tutorial and introduction on the application website for all your coding needs.
Created by Facebook, Origami is the last design-sharing application on our list. The Origami application is essentially composed of “Quartz Composer patches” that make it easy to create complex interactions and realistic animations within your prototype or design. Essentially, this app lets you import images as patches, which can be connected with animations and events until they mimic a true website or application.
Origami was tested by Facebook and used to create many of their own applications, including Instagram, Messenger, Facebook Paper and Slingshot. A few Origami features include the following:
- advanced and up-to-date gesture elements, such as free, paged, and wheel-of-fortune scrolling; taps and double taps; long presses; and the ability to make anything swipe-capable;
- beautiful and customizable presentation modes, to show final products in a number of ways;
- the ability to alter and control the prototype from any Apple device;
- new integrations with Sketch and Photoshop;
- a code export tool that easily allows you to export the exact code needed to replicate the effects.
The design industry has been moving forward rapidly, whilst the methods it uses have become outdated. Static PDF files and pages that must be emailed back and forth are simply not the way to be going about things anymore.
Take a good look at the list provided above. While many of the applications may seem similar, it's their specific features that will help you to decide which one will be right for you. For example, if you intend on sharing your designs via social media, Notism may be your best bet. If you’re intimidated by coding, Framer may not be the application for you.
Your time is valuable, and with the help of these design-management and design-sharing applications, we guarantee that you will soon have much more of it at your disposal.