Categories: Design to Code

From a Sketch Design to HTML5

Sketch is one of the most widely used design tools according to the 2018 Design Tools Survey. It is one of the most preferred tools in various phases of designing process such as brainstorming, user flow preparing, wireframing, high fidelity prototyping, and creating UI design.

It has become an essential skill to designers. As it transforms how designers work by their own, it also transforms how designers work with others.

Designers collaborate with front-end developers a lot. Both make sure they work coherently together to deliver a user interface with a great style and functionality for a great user experience.

(In the rest of the post, front-end developer is called ‘developer’ for brevity.)

A smooth design hand-off helps designers and developers collaborate better, where:

  • designer demonstrates the design structure clearly with Sketch files to the developer.
  • developer comprehends the design flow and structure to translate it into a clear, well-written HTML5 and CSS code.

Converting Sketch design to HTML code takes most of the design-to-code process. The desired output should:

  • provide a pixel-perfect, fully responsive, and mobile-friendly outcome assumed by the Sketch design.
  • be readable, well-structured, easily editable and maintainable.
  • provide decreased page loading time
  • is SEO-optimized that makes your website rank high in search results.

Sketch-HTML conversion is hard work. A typical designer does not have the technical skills for it. Even for the most skillful developers, it could be a painful process. Automatic conversion from Sketch design to HTML/CSS code could make things much easier.

There are various tools and techniques available for Sketch design to code. Let’s take a look at briefly what they offer:

Manual conversion

There are a couple of services that do conversion manually by developer teams:

Fast Conversion is a company that provides developer labor for Sketch to HTML5 & CSS conversion to create fast performance websites. They write HTML/CSS code for your Sketch design which is compatible with a wide range of computers and portable devices.

HTMLPanda is another company that provides hand-coded HTML and CSS from Sketch design.

Photo by Shridhar Gupta on Unsplash

Automated conversion

Anima App is a Sketch plugin that converts Sketch designs to responsive websites by generating HTML & CSS. You can export HTML & CSS or deploy right through the servers they provide. They do operations such as zipping large text files, optimizing PNG files, in order to make page loading faster. They support embedding videos to the design. They aim for pixel-perfect code. To achieve that, they prefer to utilize absolute positioning rather than relative positioning. With Anima App, you can group/ungroup page elements as you wish. With its “stack layout” system you can handle dynamic content. For stack layout they utilize Flex Boxes. They provide responsiveness with media queries. You can define screen states, enable state transitions via actions and events. You can simulate state transitions of your prototype inside Sketch. You can also work on the same design with your teammates by forking a draft version of it, and then by syncing with the live design.

Sketch2React is a plugin that is available to use within Sketch. It converts Sketch design to React code. It can also export HTML5 and connect with Webflow CMS. It uses Bootstrap Grids for responsiveness. You can also add custom CSS code in which animations are supported.

Protoship is another tool to generate HTML CSS for Sketch designs. It is under development and not ready for public use yet.

Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

KuikaBoost is a new tool to generate pixel-perfect HTML5 and CSS code from Sketch design. It turns Sketch designs to responsive and interactive websites. You can load your Sketch design into KuikaBoost platform, edit it by grouping/ungrouping elements by utilizing its smart grouping feature. Position screen elements, edit their stylings without writing code. By using stack layout, make your design responsive and compatible with many device types. KuikaBoost uses awesome tech such as FlexBox layout and media queries to make sure your HTML/CSS code is robust to any environment and dynamic content. It generates external readable CSS with an optimized class hierarchy. That makes CSS easily editable and reusable.It allows HTML tagging which is a vital feature for SEO optimization for your websites. It ensures pixel perfect output by absolute positioning. You can also set screen states and transitions easily. Use preview mode to view screen transitions. You can also collaborate with your team by working simultaneously on the same Sketch design within KuikaBoost. With one click, export HTML/CSS, publish and share your design with your colleagues or customers. If any update needed, unpublish your design, make changes, and publish again.

Benefits to designers

  • Make your designs responsive before even handing in to developers
  • A leaner, agiler design workflow experience
  • Hand in your designs with real code that developers can easily understand
  • Share your design easily, speed up collaboration with other designers and developers
  • Create a common language with developers with auto-generated HTML5 and CSS
  • Hand-off with full confidence!
  • Smarter and faster changes to the design with publish/unpublish feature.

Benefits to developers

  • Get HTML/CSS code of the design with one click
  • Instead of writing HTML/CSS code from scratch, utilize the HTML/CSS code KuikaBoost generates for you, save your time
  • Give feedback to designers, receives solid answers in “code”, as you prefer!

Benefits to customers

  • Share prototypes with customers and ensure you are on the same page.
  • Verify your design matches project requirements.
  • Make changes easily, respond to feedback fast

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