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Best Sketch Features for User Experience Design

New Sketch features come thick and fast, with their agile development model allowing for rapid deployment of new features (102 in August 2019 alone). So we’ve rounded up our best Sketch user experience design features for 2019 in one place:

Sketch Smart Distribute

The team worked all Summer long on a major upgrade on the relatively new Smart Distribute feature. Smart Distribute is a way of snapping elements to rows and columns and controlling the spacing between them – though it only worked in horizontal or vertical lines. It now works on grids and negative spacing too – all by a simple pick-up and drag.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s a new ‘Tidy’ button in the inspector that does it all for you.

Tools blog aug 19 image 5 gif 2Smart Distribute in Sketch 56 just keeps getting smarter

The Sketch Cloud

The Sketch Cloud continues to improve and build a closer tie with the Mac App, to continue to make it quicker and easier to up/down load cloud docs and to share them with peers, agencies or clients. It’s all part of their continued plans to make the entire workflow as simple and easy as possible.

But the biggest one for me is also the most simple. One of the strangest (read: most annoying) things about Sketch and my limited design skills, has been the inability to edit text directly on the canvas. I’m mighty relieved to say that now you can.

Source: AWA, August 2019

Sketch for Teams

Sketch for Teams is coming imminently. It allows you to bring everyone into the design process as viewers, to view, discuss and comment on your designs.

The plan is to keep on adding features over the coming months – better file structures, better commenting through annotations, better ‘quick views’ and so on. Perhaps the most exciting though is the real-time, collaborative editing. It is something users have been asking about for a while and it’s coming on the Sketch Mac app in the Autumn.

Sketch Smart Layout

Smart Layout lets you create buttons and components that flow and resize when you edit their overrides.

Sketch Components Panel

Components Panel streamlines the process of organising and managing your Symbols, Text Styles and Layer Styles. You can quickly rename, group and rearrange components and you’ll see a nice big preview at the bottom of the Layer List on selection, so you know exactly what you’re looking at.

Tools blog july 2019 image 5

Sketch Components Panel

Source: AWA, July 2019

Sketch Export Artboards for Print

When Sketch first launched it was aimed firmly at UI, mobile and web design, but creative departments generally like to use the same tools as much as possible. So, it was inevitable that some Sketch users started using it to design their print artwork and illustrations too.

But now, Sketch have upped the ante. They have just released a new plugin allowing you to export your Artboards as PDFs with a CMYK colour profile. Just choose, Plugins > Print Export and select ”Artboard per PDF page” in the export options panel.

image 3 june 19 tools blog

The Print Export feature in Sketch

You can export to a variety of standard paper sizes, landscape or portrait orientation and even add bleed and crop marks.

Also, if you select ”Sketch page per PDF page” in the export options panel you can export all the Artboards on a page as one large PDF.

You can choose to show Artboard names, shadows and prototyping links, allowing you to quickly export user flows and UX overviews. This makes it super simple to see and share your whole user flow with shareholders, colleagues and other designers, saving time and streamlining your workflow.

Source: AWA, June 2019

Sketch Snapping

The overhauled ‘snapping’ feature makes a CRO’s job a little easier, which has dramatically improved measurements and smart guides. When you resize a layer it will now snap to the height or width of overlapping layers. Smart guides should now also appear more consistently, across the board, when moving and resizing layers, including moving layers via the keyboard.

Sketch Dark Mode

For those of you who are fans of ‘Dark Mode’, you can now easily toggle between dark and light (and canvas colour) within Sketch itself and not have to change your Mac’s global settings, which is a welcome tweak!

Source: AWA, May 2019

Sketch image 5 tools blog may 19

Dark Mode in Sketch

Sketch Fill Popover

Fill Popover was a powerful development in Sketch 52, bug fixed in Sketch 54 that made the creation of designs and wireframes much quicker.

Fill Popover is a redesigned version of the Color Popover. You can now name your own colours so they are consistent with whichever site/ brand you are working on – no more remembering hex colour references.

However, that’s not the really nice part – if you share your document as a library any Color Presets will now be in the library as well, making collaboration far easier and quicker.

And even that’s not the really nice part for us CRO’ers, because to speed up handover to developers, there is now the ability to copy Color Preset values to the clipboard in various formats, including HEX, RGB, HSL, Objective-C and Swift code.

Source: AWA, March 2019

What next?

To learn more about user experience design for conversion success, read our guide on How to Ensure Your New E-commerce Website is a Conversion Success.

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