Recently, I was fortunate to be asked to contribute to HOW Magazine’s interactive column. I…
UXPin is our linchpin. It’s a key tool for our Web design team that bridges the gap between the starting vision and content strategy, and design and development. UXPin has taken user experience collaboration to a whole new level for our team and our clients.
What We Love About UXPin
- Interactive Prototypes: Before UXPin, we sent static PDFs of the sitemap and wireframes to the client. Now, we are able to create a user flow and functioning pages that represent exactly how the user will interact with the website – with working navigation, buttons, sliders, icons, etc. With UXPin we are able to test each wireframe extensively with our team and our clients to make sure each page and the overall experience is functional and intuitive.
- Realistically Responsive: UXPin is browser-based so it allows us to show precisely how the user’s experience will change depending on screen size and device. We can create a three-column desktop layout and a one-column mobile phone layout that renders in each device’s browser just like it will in the final design. There’s no ambiguity around what elements you’ll see and how these elements work together. The old PDF way rendered one long, vertical page – so it was unclear what elements you’d see in each view – like where the hero image would cut off or where the buttons would be located.
- Element Libraries: UXPin has what they call Team UI Libraries – these libraries house thousands of preset “smart” elements — icons, navigation bars, buttons, etc. And, these libraries allow us to add our own custom elements. We constantly draw from the libraries which ensures consistency on every page. And, when we make a change to one element in a library, the updated element proliferates throughout.
- Improved Collaboration: Static PDFs were not optimal for collaboration with our team or our clients. For one project, there were often multiple versions of PDFs circulating around – so we had to take extra time to make sure everyone (client stakeholders and our internal team) was working from the most current version. With UXPin, we are able to make real-time updates that everyone on the project can see immediately and respond to. Often, there will be back-and-forth conversations right on the design as we work through the issues. It really is collaboration at its best – less meetings and more productivity.
- Better Communication: With UXPin, clients can pinpoint an exact spot on a page and leave direct comments in their own words. There is no guesswork for us or the client. We methodically go through each comment, make changes, and respond to their feedback. This ensures that no issues ever go unaddressed or unresolved. And, once everything is good to go, clients can approve the work which allows us to move into the next stage…design!
- Seamless Process: Once we have the sitemap and wireframes where we want them, we can start to design in Sketch. Our designers create the elements they see in the wireframes to fit the with the brand style guide, while the copywriters finalize the messaging. The wireframes and designs get packaged up for our developers: they can see in UXPin how everything should function – and in Sketch how everything should look. We know that UXPin integrates with Sketch – which we’re excited to try soon to create even more realistic prototypes. We’ll let you know how that goes!
Sure, UXPin makes us more efficient and more collaborative – and we love that. But stepping back, it’s much more than that. At our core, we are design thinkers. We think (ie. obsess) about making websites that go beyond functional to experiential. UXPin is a tool that perfectly aligns with the way we think and makes us better at what we do.