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Designer Joined almost 6 years ago
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Kinda cool as an experiment/proof-of-concept. I wish the area in the center of the screen where the text isn't skewed was larger though.
I wish there was a way to flag frames with different properties (like "ready") and then developers or anyone could filter to show only certain frames. Right now I try to keep everything that's ready in the first page of the file, and previous versions and explorations after. But where it often falls short is when you want to continue iterating on something after it's been shared; it's much easier to duplicate a frame and keep working on it there then copy it to a new page, which is not only extra work to remember to do, but loses the context of what you'd been working on up to that point.
Who is this for? Based on the super slick marketing video, it looks like a really well-designed product. A lot of the interactions that are hinted at in the video seem really innovative and would solve a lot of the pain points of designing mobile tool that requires so much fine-tuned editing. It looks like impressive UX.
But I have a really hard time imagining that this would enable me to design robust mobile apps more quickly than Figma. For having to fit so many interactions into a mobile screen, it seems really well done, but I can't believe I would rather use that than a mouse and keyboard, especially as a project grows in size and you have more and more screens to account for. And what if you're a product designer who also designs experiences for desktop?
Stuff like multi-state components, dynamic layouts, JSON integration, and exporting to Swift are all super interesting, but as product designer building large applications for both web and mobile I guess I'm struggling to see how I could fit this into my workflow.
Looks really cool though! There may be an obvious use case for it I'm not grasping, and regardless I'll definitely try it out when it's available.
It's missing a lot of features, like the ones Dragos pointed out. Also, the UI feels clunky compared to tools like Principle or Framer.
That said, I find that it does a great job of filling the gap between Principle and Framer. It reminds me a lot of the old Pixate. I find that compared to Principle, it offers a much higher level of control over what happens in your prototype, and with the resources available on ProtoPie's site, the learning curve is pretty short.
Something I find much better than Principle is that you can copy and paste attributes from one interaction onto another. Aside from things where I want a finer level of control over the interaction (for which ProtoPie works better), I also find myself using ProtoPie more when there is a prototype with a lot of similar actions, because I can simply copy/paste each interaction and tweak it as needed, versus Principle, where you end up with a million artboards that whose interactions become increasingly difficult to manage
I also like that it's cross-platform (Android / iOS). I originally tried it because I had an Android-only freelance project for which I couldn't use Principle, but I've stuck with it because of all of those other things I like about it.
I had a couple small clients from freelancing on the side before I went full-time, and lined up one big, long term client that I was connected to via a former job. Like many freelancers, a lot of my work comes from previous clients and referrals.
Of new leads, I've been surprised to find that dribbble is my biggest source. I post relatively infrequently, but it seems to be enough. I try to only post shots of real projects, and to explain some of the thinking and decisions behind them, so it's more than just daily UI shots. I don't have a ton of followers, but I'm trying to attract clients, not visual designers, so it seems like it works out okay. I believe that a lot of clients find me by searching for designers in my city, my dribbble portfolio passes the sniff test, and they visit my website, which is ultimately what generates the lead.
So, nothing super sexy in terms of getting new clients. I had a little bit of runway to start with my existing clients, and my network + dribbble / my portfolio have continued to bring in enough passive leads that I don't have to go searching for them.
Like Rob, I wish I had known more about the business side of things. The the actual design part was easy, since that's what I already knew how to do. Even working alongside clients was fine since I had experience with it having worked at an agency before.
But for the first bit that I was freelancing I was flying by the seat of my pants a little bit with everything else. Not having a great way to consistently track time (I was using a spreadsheet, which made it difficult to keep track of what time I had invoiced for and what I hadn't), not keeping track of invoices, not having a clear picture of my cash flow and business health, not automatically setting aside money for taxes, scheduling my time better so I wasn't constantly getting pulled in the direction of whatever the last email I received, etc.
I figured it out along the way; as I'd see new issues pop up I'd figure out ways to automate them until eventually everything was running smoothly. It's great now, but for a while I was having to spend a lot of time and energy worrying about things that I didn't need to be.
The catch-22 is that even if I had known the importance of those things ahead of time (some of them I probably already did, if you had asked me), I probably wouldn't have done some of them. Why worry about making sure my invoices automatically send every two weeks based on un-billed time when I'm still trying to figure out how to get clients? Still, if I had understood the importance of those things and the headaches they'd help avoid, I'd have been better about setting them up earlier in my freelance career.
I guess my cynical attitude towards Facebook leads me to agree with the people in the comments of that post that other large companies like Google manage to find a way to do it, and that Facebook has a history of slipping in "features" that are bad for privacy.
They intentionally hide what's new because they don't want to lose customers. If they can't be honest with what's coming out in their app, than they can't be trusted, plain and simple. Their response proves that. We make thousands of updates every time your app is updated, but nobody cares about them so buzz off? If anything, they need to be held to a higher accountability for this stuff because, as you say, they are "fucking huge."
Rob links to this reddit post explaining why Facebook doesn't have them. Though I still agree with you.
Excited for this update. I really love Principle - probably my favorite prototyping tool out of what's out now - but the biggest drawback is that trying to prototype anything that has complex interactions and is more than a couple screens gets really unwieldy. If they've managed to figure out a good solution for that, it'll definitely be the best tool out, at least for what I need. Looking forward to trying it out.
I think it's actually been like that since 3.5. But I agree, it can be confusing to see some of your artboards look they they don't have names.
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