Anti prototyping tool high horse.

Lately I've heard a lot of design/developer types being extremely cynical towards prototyping tools. Claiming that if people "just took a weekend to learn swift the engineer wouldn't have to rebuild it" and a lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon for this ideology. I have a few issues with this thought process though.

1. Execution vs Exploration

One of the main reasons I believe prototyping tools should exist, is that for now, they are so much more agile than using xcode/swift. Core to what it means to design is exploration. The easier it is to use a tool better we become at finding solutions. There is a reason websites are typically designed in photoshop/sketch and not just designed by coding them. When I can change a screen/flow of a design in  seconds/minutes I can iterate far faster than in code. 

2. What do I want to be good at?

We all have so many ways we can all be spending our time. Some designers focus on band posters or typography, while others focus on interfaces. I personally have a list of things I would like to be better at to improve as a designer: motion design, typography, empathy, patterns trends etc, and the actual act of crafting the software itself is interesting to me but if I'm honest is really far down that list. And so what happens in 2 years when coding my prototypes requires me to learn another iteration of a language?

I made this prototype for my upcoming app Markdone in about 10 minutes in the new Principleformac prototyping tool, and my ability to tweak it and change it to continue to explore far exceeds anything I could achieve in Xcode. You should check it out. It feels like Sketch just added interaction tools to their software. I honestly think we'll all be designing directly inside of Principle or a new version of sketch with built in interaction tools in the very near future. 

Very few people are good at both code and design, and even fewer are great, and almost no-one has the energy to stay good at both and keep pace with ever changing trends and best practices. And as more and more jobs get replaced with tech do we really want to narrow everyone down to the same job title? 

Justin SalsbureyComment