Prototypes: Helpful or Harmful?

Cameron Myers
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TLDR: What would you think of a tool for improving workflow for animations and interaction specifications for the design to development process? What do you think it would need? As a product designer, I have come to both love and hate the creation of interactive prototypes. The process of developing a prototype in tools like, Figma, Flinto, Sketch, and other tools is incredibly helpful from a usability testing perspective. However, I have come to learn that prototypes fail when trying to optimize the design to developer handoff. Designers treat prototypes as the "What developers need" to create an experience, but many times a prototype is an expectation for engineers to reverse engineer a visual experience. This has led to a process relying on designers to not only create prototypes, but also create an animation/interaction specs (of which there a few templates, and is time consuming). This process generally relies on a close and long feedback with their platform developers to fine tune animations and interactions. Don't get me wrong, design tools have come a long way, with Sketch we received the ability to export specs for layout. Figma has improved the flow one step further by allowing easier collaboration and communication, greatly improving our ability to communicate with developers. However from the perspective of process, animation/ interaction is a bit in the weeds. In many ways the people leading the pack (Figma, Flinto, FramerX, Adobe, Invision) have skipped the spec export step in favor of a no code solution and many have failed. This has stunted design's ability to truly communicate with developers. Does anyone else see the value in creating a tool that makes the creation of specs for interaction and animation easier?
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