A brilliant discovery that’s changed our site design process

We know the saying goes ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, but we aren’t the type to just let things carry on as they are if we can see there could be room for improvement. We try to decide if we’re right to be putting time and energy into reviewing an existing process by keeping the end goal in mind. Essentially, we are always looking to make life just that little bit better; for our clients, for our team, even for visitors to the studio who just pop in to say hello (the reason Sarah gives for keeping the biscuit tin well stocked!).

We had been aware for a while that our site design process just wasn’t quite delivering the experience we hoped for to our clients. Sure, we were using all the industry-recognised programmes, but when it came to drawing up designs, and presenting those ideas to clients, we felt the whole process was more difficult than it needed to be.

We embarked on a mission to streamline what we see to be a crucial part of the client journey. So much time and energy is invested from both sides at the initial exploration stage, that it seemed a shame to then not be able to fully communicate our designs, due to technical restrictions. When we came across Sketch, a digital design platform for Mac, everything started falling into place!

Sketch allows us to quickly and easily design sites for all devices

This intuitive application has been a fantastic discovery, and is really supporting the design process here in the Fastnet studio. It has some great features (which the designers in the team get incredibly excited about), including quick and easy creation and replication of complex shapes & layouts, and ‘Sketch Mirror’, which allows designers to test their concepts on different mobile and tablet screens. Sketch also translates parts of the designs we create into code, meaning that when a client approves a design, the transition from the design team to the developers is smooth and speedy, as the basic building blocks of the site are already in place.

Where Sketch really comes into its own is the integration with InVision, another new program we are using. InVision allows us to create real, clickable prototypes with our designs from Sketch, so clients can get a proper feel for how their site will look and work. When we share the prototypes we have created with clients, they can take the time to explore their new site design on any device they chose, moving through pages and leaving their thoughts and feedback with the comments feature, helping us to improve and refine the design to exactly meet requirements.

We use InVision to build interactive features into design prototypes
InVision also has the ability to let clients explore their site design on a mobile device

Our new process using Sketch and InVision means we can deliver exactly the experience we wanted to our clients. After we have developed a clear understanding of their business, requirements and goals, we can clearly communicate their new site design in a format that feels real and gives a tangible insight into how the end product will look. Internally, the process is smoother and more streamlined; Sketch delivers a powerful, flexible design solution and the project goes into development with some of the groundwork already in place. We believe we have made the lives of our clients just that little bit better, by offering peace of mind that their finished website will look and feel exactly like the design they approved in the early stages.

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