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Product Designer at Lyft Joined over 5 years ago
This is undoubtedly a handy resource and well put together, but at what point does a list like this (500+!!?) simply serve the same purpose as Googling "prototyping tools"?
Some feedback about your site:
You ask visitors to subscribe for "early access" before telling or showing them what they're signing up for. Consider moving the email field lower to account for more information up top.
All of the screenshots are extremely skewed, making it close to impossible to see what the product offers. Skewed screenshots at sharp angles might look really dynamic and cool to designers, but to would-be-customers they just provide headaches.
"The messaging app for productive teams" is an extremely vague tagline. Is there something more specific to the product you could tout up-top? Maybe just: "The best parts of email and chat combined"?
Capitalize some of your sentences, as it will dramatically help users skimming the site. Having every single title, headline, and sentence start with a lowercase letter makes it really difficult to parse what's on the page.
Way too much empty space. White space can be really good for creating a strong balance on a page, or for captivating users to look where you want them to, but on this page it just seems like things are broken by how far out they're spread across the vertical space of the page. You could tighten it up and create a more energetic, better flowing page.
The article has many great points, particularly when it comes to setting the stage for a healthy, constructive critique. Really well written as well, the article shares a very down-to-earth and realistic perspective that I think many articles tend to lack in hopes of coming across as being an "expert" in the field. Thanks for sharing your experience and lessons-learned Stuart!
Start with questions. Actually, try to focus most of your feedback to be in the form of questions—information gathering—than explicit comments.
Questions leave room for answers, they also help you learn about the work/problem space. Because the reality is, more often than not, we approach a work without having full context of it; the constraints, the objective, the audience, what explorations went into the work, what trade-offs were deliberately made, etc.
Ask questions about the things you want to provide feedback on, first and foremost.
If you can't ask questions, at least provide a constructive path forwards. e.g. "You can try [this] instead of [this] to help [reason]."
To quote former VP of Design at Twitter Mike Davidson:
"You should treat your critiques as investigations or explorations and not conclusions."
Looks interesting. Some questions to consider:
What's your criteria?
When someone says something is the "best" it's helpful to know what their definition is. If what matters to the reviewer is, for example, speed and cost, that might be different than someone who has unlimited budget and needs immensely powerful (albeit slower) tooling. One designer may need a tool that can export in many different sizes with one click, another designer may need a tool that allows them to carefully review every single export to ensure pixel-perfect files.
EDIT: Just realized there's a small link to a table of how reviews were made... I'd bring that information more up-front, or highlight it in some other format since it's really the meat of what you've done.
Who is "we" reviewing the software?
Do you have a team of designers across software/product design, illustration, branding, etc.? If you're going by web reviews or some other source, list that information out. Having an illustrator review product design software isn't as impactful as having an experienced product designer do the review.
I recently wrote an article titled "What we don't talk about when we talk about design tools" which may or may not be helpful for you at this point: https://uxdesign.cc/what-we-dont-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-design-tools-8cb4339ae54b
We're saying the same thing.
This article seems to completely miss the point of design.
Design is not art, particularly as it relates to UI. Interfaces are built to bridge a need with a solution: the ATM, the calculator, elevator buttons and screens.
The reason we have trends in UI design is not because someone, somewhere, thought a really cool and fancy effect would be just what the user needed. No, trends are trends because they serve a need.
When Apple first released the iPhone they used the then-popular skeuomorphism style because they knew many people using the device wouldn't understand what made something a button vs. not. A texture, shadow, and lighting helped remedy that concern.
Now, some 11+ years after the first iPhone we see "flat" design in UIs as trendy. That's for a reason: the technology we use is now ingrained in much of our day-to-day life, we no longer need things in the screen to look like a button in order to know "Hey, I can tap this."
Timeless design certainly serves a place, but your goal as a designer shouldn't be to create something that's "timeless" or "trendy" but instead just design for the problem at-hand. That's all that matters.
It depends on what you're trying to do, and what problems you're experiencing with Sketch.
Are you a product designer, or illustrator, or logo designer? Do you work primarily in print? Is animation important to you? How important is pixel-perfect design? Do you need to do 3D work or is it ok to never go further than 2D?
Answering these questions is likely to get you vastly more helpful responses than personal opinion answers. :)
It can be worth it. A weekend project of mine became a small success: https://medium.com/@tannerc/oh-shit-my-weekend-project-turned-into-an-app-store-best-new-app-1fddf680778e#.e9c8b2jpx
Also see Austin Kleon on keeping a day job: http://tumblr.austinkleon.com/post/69005574484
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