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i've been using it for the last hour and a half. The biggest issue I have with it thus far is that I didn't really enjoy being "in" it. I'm willing to revisit this in a month or so though. But ultimately I felt I was struggling to understand some of the fundamental changes to standard interaction patterns. All I could assume was the designers deconstructed elements and over simplified them at the cost of general usability. I was re-learning to use inputs and icon buttons just to understand the system... when I shouldn't have been. I should have been designing stuff.
Anyway, some specific feedback:
– I was surprised to see it was a desktop app. I, like I think many others by the comments I've read, assumed this was more browser based.
– I'm skeptical that the .studio format will be as friendly to people as the .sketch format was.
– The dark UI seems overly... claustrophobic somehow. I feel like it's encroaching on my design decisions. For example the dark hero intro on the fake website I made while testing this out didn't look good on the dark. Grey is less opinionated IMO, and better for showcasing work (this is why graphic designers typically use it to mount their work when pitching). A small related item: Your layers are distinguished largely by symbol alone, not strong colour (though some color). The blue folders in Sketch are much easier to skim from the layers or symbols. It's uglier, but more functional, so I'm ok with that.
– The way the Component Library and Pages are nested in to multiple folder hierarchies rather than a flat one add unnecessary friction that's cumbersome to navigate. Which leads me to the #1 problem I found so far...
– It took me a really long time to understand how to put a Component on a page. This is because IMO you're priming me to add things from an "add to workspace" dropdown toolbar/menu (rectangles, artboard, images, etc) and then changing the pattern for Components (you have to go to the Component lib and drag the object on). I can surmise this was done to avoid the dropdown pattern system Sketch uses. But so far I don't think this was a good decision, because you're doubling up interactions between navigating pages or your component library with adding it to a page. An "add" menu is a clearer event for that. I feel like I may be missing the "add component" menu somewhere in the UI, but I haven't found it yet.
– I haven't yet been able to view all symbols (called Components in Studio) together in a flat display. Maybe there is a way to see all of the Components spread out for comparing—more exploring needed on that for me. But without this function there's a good chance I'll repeat Components without realizing. The likelihood I'll remember what my fellow designers name the blue primary button is very low, even though I know it's a blue primary button... I'm guessing. Use visuals to... convey visuals.
– The performance isn't quite there yet, but it's not TOO bad. Sliders particularly are slow for Corner Radius and Opacity. Since this is a free product I wouldn't hassle InVision about that during an alpha launch.
– My components frequently don't update automatically when changed. Had to figure out to manually reload it (I've seen this complaint already). When I drag or interact with a component that's been altered it will often update, though.
– Components don't seem to shrink down for me when scaled.
– I really really don't like the lack of combo boxes for font-size and other inputs. This design choice overly simplifies an otherwise good and established interaction—that is I often use the same sizes that dropdown's afford me the luxury of getting to quickly. I only really want to input numbers when I have to (the interaction cost is much higher for inputs than it is for simple point-and-click)
– Zoom to 100% often didn't zoom to the artboard currently focused.
– Twirling closed a folder closed the entire artboard a few times. Though once I had multiple artboards going this seemed to stop.
– Small thing, but having to delete and remove different fills and styles in the inspector menu is tiresome. I don't like how clicking anywhere in the header adds colours, either. I can see this cumbersome housekeeping being a mild annoyance maintaining larger files with lots of artboards
– The UI generally optimized its buttons to be icons without labels. Though sleek looking, I find myself often initiating actions because unsure what the icon will do (for example, a twirl down icon next to a folder simply opens the folder, but a down arrow in the export dialogue initiates a download dialogue). I feel I should know better, but I forget anyway. Lower signifiers like this force me to muddle when I shouldn't have to.
– Related to the last point, but tooltips take forever to pop-up. If they came up quicker I could muddle a bit easier.
Anyway—not bad for a closed beta! I'm not loving it more than Sketch, tbh, but it's also more feature-complete than Sketch was originally (I wasn't an early adopter of Sketch, either).
Cheers to all the hard work, good luck in the weeks to come.
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