As design has become a more important part of software product development, designers have gained more power in the enterprise. There also is high demand for their services, along with the need for them to work well with developers.
The rise of the designer is evidenced by the success of companies such as Adobe. Adobe, which provides tools primarily for designers, had a record quarter for its creative tools last quarter. And IT systems, software and services giant IBM is now thinking design first for all of its new software offerings, relying on its 50,000-square-foot Austin Design Studio in Austin, Texas, to lead its effort to redesign the face of enterprise software.
The explosion of demand for new, compelling Web and mobile apps is keeping designers and developers as busy as ever. However, there has always been a bit of a gap between the design phase and development phase of software products. Quite often, the handoff of the product design from the designers to the development team is like a middle school relay race—shaky at best.
Sympli, a Washington, D.C.-based designer and developer tool provider, has launched a new eponymously named product that simplifies the handoff of new designs between Web and mobile designers and developers.
In an interview with eWEEK, Max Ignatyev, the creator of Sympli, said the tool enables quick, easy collaboration between mobile and Web designers and developers. Indeed, with Sympli, design handoff is done in one click and design implementation is a breeze.
Sympli integrates directly into a user's design or development tool of choice—Photoshop and Sketch for designers; Xcode and Android Studio for developers—and automatically builds visual specifications, generates assets and sends it all to the development team, Ignatyev said.
"Our goal is to integrate with the most popular tools and platforms," he said. "For designers, we integrate with Sketch and Adobe Photoshop, which are two of the most popular graphic editors for UI design. And for developers, we integrate with Android Studio and Xcode, which are de facto standards for developing Android apps and iOS apps, respectively."
The tool also supports the Swift programming language. "Swift is definitely the language of choice right now for iOS apps, and our Xcode plug-in is fluent in both Objective-C and Swift," Ignatyev said.
The company is working on other integrations and will soon release support for the Web development environment, with several more in the pipeline.
Ignatyev, who began as a back-end developer and then switched to mobile front-end development about five years ago, said he has seen his share of problems in the exchange between designers and developers.
Designers and developers have their own platforms and tools and don't always know what the other needs to do their job efficiently, he said. This can lead to one party not having all necessary components to do their job and a lot of frustration.
Nowhere was this more prominent in Ignatyev's career than when he was a technical lead in the Washington Post's mobile app development group.