Sympli for mobile app design and development | 4i

Sympli for mobile app design and development

05 December 2016 ‐ 8 min read

Add a dash of new technology to our studio, and we’ll be excited. Make it extra useful and packed with great features, and we may just adopt it. That’s how we felt when discovering the new tool, Sympli for mobile app design and development.

Testing it out

With any project that we work on, there’s always an element of ‘drudge work’ that’s part and parcel of what goes into making beautiful, pixel-perfect apps. We tested out Sympli on a recent project, and the results blew us away.

What is Sympli?

Sympli for mobile app design and development is a web-based platform that makes it far simpler to ensure that your app screen designs are built to the correct specifications. Commonly known as ‘speccing and cutting’ – it’s the drudge work of our design department which Sympli has eliminated a lot of, enabling us to focus our creative energies on what’s most important – design.

Notably, it saves our team a ton of time too, picking up on small errors along the way. All our designs need to be pixel perfect and most of the time they are, but Sympli picks up anything we’ve missed and makes it easy to fix and update.

How Sympli Has Changed Things In Our Design Studio

Before Sympli, we would upload a design file to a web interface and then send the link to the developer team so that they can access the spec sheets for every screen as well as for all fonts, colours and assets. Sympli does all this work for us, displaying it on one screen, with a beautiful interface that includes a methodical layout and caters for every piece of critical information our developers may need, just a click away.

With an easy to use interface, Sympli for mobile app design and development boasts a neat toolbar on the side, with everything we need easily accessible. The Sympli interface displays every specification and dimension for every area of the designed screen, which makes our lives pretty easy – previously, we used to manually draw rulers to show sizes and specifications. Simply put, Sympli turned three days’ worth of work, into one!

Simply put, Sympli turned three days’ worth of work, into one!

We used Sympli for the first time on a recent project and were able to make one giant screen with all the different designs we created for the whole app on one screen, rather than using stacks of folders. Sympli has simplified this process, and simultaneously unified it, enabling us to assess and analyse critical app specifications all on one screen.

How our development team uses Sympli

Development becomes a little less bitsy piecey, thanks to Sympli. Our development team finds it incredibly helpful that all the information needed from our design studio is easily accessible, all in one place and on one screen. We’re waving goodbye to big folders packed with information, because Sympli also allows you to view different layers of designs, and designers are able to make comments so we don’t have to go ask about something complex.

Thanks to the tool’s automatic measuring functionality, Sympli has eliminated the problem of information pulling through incorrectly. On our latest project, Sympli saved us close to half the amount of time we would have normally spent on critical design elements and, thanks to the plugin to the interface development environment (IDE), there are less interruptions. We’re now easily able to drag and drop information across from design to our development studio, rather than searching for specific elements in a number of different folders.

The plugin to the IDE also enables us to see the flow of the app easily, which makes the work flow more smoothly, enables a more methodical approach and reduces errors, while actively improving the overall quality of the app development.

The plugin to the IDE also enables us to see the flow of the app easily, improving the overall quality of work

But it's still new

Of course, our team knows how to stress-test anything, and, not surprising considering how new Sympli is, we did discover these bugs along the way:

  • Sometimes colours don’t synchronise correctly
  • If a designer provides new images and automatically synchronises it, Sympli sometimes creates duplicates.
  • If the IDE closes, you have to re-login in Sympli to get all the information back, where it would be great if it had login memory.

That said, the Sympli live support system is great, as the team are super quick to respond, eager to help and open to improvement suggestions. We found that some of our suggested improvements were implemented the very next day after mentioning them.

And finally

While it has a plugin for Android studio and for Xcode that enables you to pull in the screen designs and it generates the code for those designs, we’re not using it just yet, because it needs some fine-tuning. Most importantly though, Sympli enables you to make a change to a design on the web interface and synchronize the changes to all the relevant files. Sympli also enables us to give our clients the power to download their own assets, rather than us having to send them across, which again, saves a bunch of time. We’re implementing Sympli for mobile app design and development in many ways, and will be using it for future projects. In terms of design and development time saved, Sympli’s license fee pays for itself, and much, much more.