Towards a Smarter Design-to-Code Experience

It matters to make the life of designer and front-end developer easier. Several possible reasons to why it is so could be, arguably: 1) Such an effort adds to the greatest number for the greatest happiness. 2) A grand bulk of time spent on tedious and repetitive work can be canalized to creative work more, which is definitely better for the whole team in the project’s pipeline. 

For either of the two reasons we just stated, you may want to support it with arguments. 

Let’s take a closer look at the design-to-code process, to empathize better, and then discuss possible solutions to the bottlenecks. 

It helps to first remember the steps in the whole pipeline which are widely acknowledged by the community:

Customer’s part

  •  Defining the task

Designer’s part 

  • Brainstorming
  • Wireframing
  • Interface Design
  • Prototyping
  • Handoff

Front-end developer’s part 

  • Implementation
  • Tests
  • Feedbacks
  • Finetuning

The list above is a very oversimplified representation of the real-life events taking place in the pipeline, such as: 

  • Hours of discussions and calls back and forth between the customer and the designer before making sure everyone’s interpretation of the project requirements match as much as possible,
  • During handoff, making sure designer and front-end developer understands each others’ perspective very clearly,
  • Feedback from the customer, and in turn, finetuning after almost every list item. 

Each of these steps is extremely beneficial towards a good design output. One might go further and say, they are the musts of the work. 

In the last couple of years, serious thought and effort are invested in the community, in order to help design-to-code process evolve to the better. New perspectives are being adapted, pinpointing and attacking the bottlenecks.

If the designer follows the conventional design procedure, s/he starts off with wireframing.

Wireframing means briefly to put all colors, fonts, and other distractions peculiar to the desired final design, and just envision it with the main lines. Interface design is realized on top of the wireframe.

Figure 1: “Which tools do you use for interface design?” (borrowed from 2018 Design Tools Survey)

According to an online survey, namely, 2018 Design Tools Survey initiated by Taylor Palmer, Sketch dominates over the other alternatives, especially in wireframing and interface design (see Figure 1). It is a widely used design toolkit providing features such as pixel precision, vector editing, and prototyping.

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Figure 2: “Which best describes your role?” (left), “Which platforms do you primarily use for design?” (right) (borrowed from 2018 Design Tools Survey)

Designer and front-end developer generally has to work together during nearly the entire process from wireframing to testing. Settling a healthy communication channel is the key here, as it is so everywhere. Last year’s Stackoverflow Developer Survey reveals that a great majority of designers’ and front-end developers’ are much alike in terms of most of the attributes such as experience in years, age range, and all. It is explicitly indicated that designer and front-end developer is one of the pairs that are highly correlated.

Figure 3: “What type of experience design are you designing?” (borrowed from 2018 Design Tools Survey)

Design handoff is a bottleneck for launching a design: Designer hands in the cool Sketch design and design specs to the developer. Now the developer has to code accordingly, taking care of various challenges such as making it WYSIWYG, making it responsive to dynamics of web and mobile environments (see Figure 3),… Usually, coding requires much more time than the design. With discussions and finetuning, it takes too much time before settling in the final version of the design/code. And this is only the part before the test and verification by the manager/customer. 

All in all, it is hard. What makes it undesirable is not, however, its difficulty. The problem is, most of the effort goes in vain: to recreate everything over and over again, although the design has already been finalized before the handoff. 

What if handoff was easy?

We believe it is possible. 

Kuika Boost is a tool that automates many subprocesses of handoff. It makes the design-to-code process much smarter by getting rid of weary loops of communication between the designer and the front-end programmer.

How?

KuikaBoost converts Sketch designs to readable HTML/CSS code. Handoff is reduced into  a few simple steps: 

  • Import Sketch design into KuikaBoost
  • Customize your design
  • Make it responsive to multiple environments, both in web and mobile
  • Publish
  • Preview
  • Share 

That’s it. You have the HTML/CSS code of your beautiful design. You can also preview it, looking exactly how it will look like when it is on. Sketch design. You can share design and code with colleagues and customers. If necessary, you can seamlessly unpublish, edit, and republish your design. You can blend in your own JavaScript code with the UI right away.

KuikaBoost is the catalyzer you and your team needed in your design-to-code journey.

Every stage we briefly mentioned within the pipeline is made easy. Not just handoff, you can retrieve the code for whichever version of your design: wireframe, prototype, final interface…

Try KuikaBoost now from here, for free. We believe it transforms design-to-code process from misery to something fun!

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