Why We Use Image Editing Tools to Make Prototypes?

Everyday, designers need to use lots of designing tools, also they might need to creat many prototypes. Recently, I found that many designers use image editing tools to make prototypes. It is one of the ways to make prototypes, but, is this really the best option?

First of all, let's check out the image editing tools that we use most commonly:

1. PS
2. Sketch
3. Fireworks
4. OmniGraffle

Each of them has its own use scenario. In other words, here are the slogans of them, and perhaps the purpose of why those designers and programmers developed them.

PS:Image editing and compositing.

Sketch:Professional digital design for Mac.

Fireworks:Image editing for websites and apps.

OmniGraffle:OmniGraffle is for creating precise, beautiful graphics...

Why I'm saying that these four image editing tools are not the best options for making prototypes in most situations?

Reason 1: They are great image editing tools, but they hardly have the ability of creating interations.

In terms of the ability of creating interactions, OmniGraffle is the only one which has a very limited function among these four tools. Usually, we our customers that have interactions. Most of them are produced by real prototyping tools like Axure, Justinmind, and Mockplus.

Reason 2: Thery are great image composing tools, but it's not worth to create a wireframe with them.

You may ask, what if I want to create a wireframe with those tools? Sure, you can totally do that. But, it's really worth?

Most of the wireframes are designed for the first few steps of designing and developing. Wireframing is one of methods that designers use to communicate with programmers. Hence, using these tools to make really nice pictures just for communicating with programmers will definitely slow the whole process down.

That's too much for the details. As for the wireframing tools, I think Balsamiq and Mockplus are already enough.

Well, when would be a good time for using image editing tools to create prototypes?

Sometimes, you need to show your users and customers the hi-fi images to convince them. You can use the well-edited images in Chainco, Flinto, and InVision. They will provide relatively necessary interactions and good animations.

The tools shall be used in thier suitable situations. Sometimes, the designs may look cool, but they don't really make sense to be that cool. Good to use is already good enough.


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