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UI/UX with Affinity Designer


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I've been a long-time user of Sketch for User Interface (UI) design since its launch, and Figma appeared to be a natural successor in the field. Recently, an open-source tool called Penpot has come along, and impressively so, especially considering it's still in its early stages (version 1.0 or alpha state). I was recently commissioned to design an app for a church, which requires the final project to be delivered in Adobe XD - a software with which I lack experience. However, I understand that exporting from Sketch to XD should be straightforward, so I'm not particularly concerned about this aspect.

However, I've been wondering about the apparent neglect of Affinity Designer in discussions about UI/UX design. I've personally conducted an experiment in which I designed an entire app using Affinity Designer, and upon exporting in SVG format, found that it was compatible with all the platforms I'm familiar with and worked flawlessly. Why is it that Affinity Designer isn't recommended more for this type of design work? It's important to note that while UI and User Experience (UX) are two distinct facets, and while Affinity Designer can't facilitate navigation assignments, it's remarkably efficient at designing the UI. Does anyone have thoughts on why it isn't considered more often for this type of design?

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6 minutes ago, Bryan Rieger said:

multi-user support, collaboration features, or commenting and review features.

I appreciate your viewpoint, but you must realize that none of those functionalities you mentioned are absolutely necessary for UI design. I don't utilize them in either Figma or Sketch! Granted, on the rare occasion, when I'm away from the office and collaborating with colleagues, it comes into play. But you get what I'm driving at. In fact, multi-collaboration is possible with Affinity using this tool. Let me know if you want an invitation.

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True, none of those features are absolutely essential for UX/UI design, but they are essential for many teams within orgs tasked with UX/UI design. You may not use those features, but can assure you that they are essential in the day-to-day workflow for many designers today—especially those within large orgs. That tool is interesting, but if folks must cobble together a number of different tools to accomplish what they can already do in a single one it's a very hard sell (especially to IT who must approve and support the purchases/licenses).

I'm glad it works for you, there's no reason folks can't use Affinity for UX/UI design, but it's unlikely to gain much traction within the industry as a whole at this stage without significant investment from Serif.

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1 hour ago, Bryan Rieger said:

especially those within large orgs

Not all designers are employed in large organizations. Many of us collaborate with agencies, although even this isn't always a fundamental requirement. AI is a powerful tool, but it isn't indispensable to all aspects of our work either.

 

1 hour ago, Bryan Rieger said:

That tool is interesting, but if folks must cobble together a number of different tools to accomplish what they can already do in a single one it's a very hard sell

While I'm not familiar with your design process or how you create your designs, I believe no single application can fully accommodate all your design requirements. Even a subscription with Adobe Creative Cloud won't eliminate the need for third-party software. I've been utilizing Multi app, and it's been groundbreaking. There's no need for defensiveness just because of an alternate viewpoint. I've acknowledged and appreciated your perspective and have even offered you an exclusive invitation to this collaboration solution, which is only accessible by invitation.

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1 minute ago, Bryan Rieger said:

As someone with 25+ years working in UX/UI design with freelancers, agencies, and large orgs these are my thoughts.

Your perspective is duly noted and respected. I began my journey as a Graphic Designer in 1992 and perhaps I don't perceive the enthusiasm attached to these modern tools that are being heralded as the ultimate UI/UX software. It appears to me that people nowadays are more prone to following the crowd, driven by a fear of missing out. Sketch was lauded as the perfect solution, now Figma is all the buzz, but let's acknowledge that we could attain the same results even with Aldus Freehand 8 on a 90s PowerMac 6300. At the end of the day, they're all just different versions of vector graphic design software, nothing more, nothing less. 

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@Albert I completely agree with you. I began my career around the same time (from theatre design to graphic/UI design making HyperCard and Director apps in the early 90s) but retired from it a couple of years ago as I grew really tired of the 'thrashing' within the tech community in regards to their focus on 'tools and frameworks' rather than 'process and understanding'. My partner still works in UX at a large corp.

About 12 years ago I recall having a heated argument with a young design team that was insistent on using Sketch (this was at a time when it was still an early buggy mess, and not really focused on UI/UX work), because they didn't want to learn the Adobe tools we had provided them. We got there in the end, but it required workaround after workaround (not to mention dealing with ALL of the bugs). Personally I can't stand Figma (or Sketch) as it doesn't really solve the underlying problems of UI/UX design, but rather focuses on ease of use and workflow (both very important, but not everything that's needed).

Today I spend my time writing, illustrating and making books and small 'apps/games'. For UX/UI I tend to use Linea and the Affinity apps, along with OmniGraffle and Xcode/Nova. My workflow today wouldn't work for most teams, but it makes me happy—and at the end of the day that's all that really matters to me now. :)

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3 hours ago, albertkinng said:

However, I've been wondering about the apparent neglect of Affinity Designer in discussions about UI/UX design. I've personally conducted an experiment in which I designed an entire app using Affinity Designer, and upon exporting in SVG format, found that it was compatible with all the platforms I'm familiar with and worked flawlessly. Why is it that Affinity Designer isn't recommended more for this type of design work? It's important to note that while UI and User Experience (UX) are two distinct facets, and while Affinity Designer can't facilitate navigation assignments, it's remarkably efficient at designing the UI. Does anyone have thoughts on why it isn't considered more often for this type of design?

Well overall the lack of actual UI design resources (ADe assets etc.) is one of the first aspects to name here, meaning if you are going to build some actual macOS/Windows/iOS/Android etc. prototyping UI you mostly have to build first widget resources and all the like yourself for it (which is a time consuming task). Another also important one is, that certain specialized and dedicated UI/UX apps, do offer overall much more usability comfort in this domain regard, do offer also faster and quicker turnarounds and additional prototype based animation demoing ... etc.

Strictly speaking, ADe is just a graphics program that can also be abused for UI/UX designs, but its focus is not primarily on these things. Similar to creating your presentation slides with ADe instead of using more predestined applications such as Powerpoint or Keynote etc. for such tasks.

 

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Publisher 1.10.8 ◆ OSX El Capitan
☛ Affinity V2.3 apps ◆ MacOS Sonoma 14.2 ◆ iPad OS 17.2

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6 minutes ago, v_kyr said:

Some people who former times used Figma (before aquired by Adobe), are using nowadays Lunacy a lot.

I'm having fun with Penpot. Works amazingly good. I tried Lunacy, but it was kind of Canva like for my taste. 

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4 hours ago, Bryan Rieger said:

About 12 years ago I recall having a heated argument with a young design team that was insistent on using Sketch

Reading your message instantly transported me back in time when a corporate entity acquired the company I was with, and they mandated the use of QuarkXpress. We were thoroughly satisfied with Aldus PageMaker and that instigated my first advocacy for the applications we favored. The ongoing arguments may seem laughable now, but the situation was quite distinct then. I've always believed that the finest tool is the one you've mastered. Now, I enjoy managing brands for corporations independently; however, back in the day, I was part of that daunting world of designers caught up in the dichotomy of application preferences. Those were indeed challenging times. I utilize Linea for sketches and brainstorming, and Procreate for more intensive projects. It's not that Linea isn't suitable for hefty tasks, it's just how I've conditioned my workflow.

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2 minutes ago, albertkinng said:

I'm having fun with Penpot. Works amazingly good. I tried Lunacy, but it was kind of Canva like for my taste. 

As every designer things he has to make his own one (it is fashionable, en vogue), that's why such applications are springing up like mushrooms, there are so many nowadays. - However to everyone his own and what she/he prefers.

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Publisher 1.10.8 ◆ OSX El Capitan
☛ Affinity V2.3 apps ◆ MacOS Sonoma 14.2 ◆ iPad OS 17.2

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3 minutes ago, albertkinng said:

Reading your message instantly transported me back in time when a corporate entity acquired the company I was with, and they mandated the use of QuarkXpress. We were thoroughly satisfied with Aldus PageMaker and that instigated my first advocacy for the applications we favored.

Yeah, I recall lots of those 'discussions' back then. I never really cared what tools folks used, just as long as they got the job done. That said, if somebody's choice of tool negatively impacted others in the pipeline, that was another matter (as was the case then). I'm happy to see the diversity today, but less so seeing work locked into cloud services with no meaningful way of migrating should the need arise.

Linea is great for brainstorming. Procreate is my driver for illustration work, and I rely on the Affinity suite to bring it all together.

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Just look after designer blogs and actual ui/ux tool mentionings and the like, things like ...

... the net is full of those and newcomer software.

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Publisher 1.10.8 ◆ OSX El Capitan
☛ Affinity V2.3 apps ◆ MacOS Sonoma 14.2 ◆ iPad OS 17.2

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