Have you ever submitted design files to a development team for production and a few weeks later gotten something back that looks nothing like your original work? Many designers and design teams make the mistake of thinking that their work is done once they’ve completed the visual design stage. A design is more than a simple drawing on a canvas in Illustrator, Fireworks or Photoshop; it is a representation of function. “Form follows function” is a well-known principle, first coined in 1896 by the architect Louis Sullivan. How will the website work? How will that section fold? What happens when you hover over this button? How does that menu function?
Designers also know that the details will make or break a product’s
usability. But designers are also responsible for not letting those
details fall through the cracks in production. Yes, those 5 pixels do
matter! The development or production team also needs to understand how
the product will work and what it will look like in every scenario and
variation of the product’s use. Annotating all of these scenarios can be
a nightmare, but this is where Specctr can help.
Specctr is a plugin for Adobe applications. (Currently, versions are available for Fireworks, Illustrator and Photoshop, the first of which you can read about in “Blueprints for the Web: Specctr Adobe Fireworks Plugin”.) Specctr transitions a visual design to production by enabling you to specify form (spacing, width and height, colors, fonts, etc.) and function (hover states, transitions, user flows, etc.). It automatically generates a specification and creates a blueprint for the design, which saves time.