Shoto is a child company of a tech group called SD Squared. This app that let's you get the pictures you didn't take (but your friends did) was first introduced at TechCrunch Disrupt. Both Shoto and SD Squared were co-founded and are today led by Sachin Dev Dugal. Only a few people know the design-to-code collaboration space as well as he does, that is why we were eager to ask him about his experience with Avocode so far.
“We have teams that are spread all around the world, we're close to 160 people and we have four offices in San Francisco, New York, Delhi and London. A lot of the times we're playing catch-up.
From the engineering side, coordination has always been quite straightforward. We use things like Pivotal Tracker and GitHub and that allows us to keep our project and engineering process in sync.
The thing that has been always hot mess is design. A part of that is because files are often sent, people give feedback, some of that feedback is on Slack, some of it is in e-mail and some of it is recorded on video conferencing calls - and by default some of it gets lost.
And then the problem gets worse, if you have designers who are collaborating and not set in one location, who are then collaborating with engineers, who are then also not set in one location, who are then collaborating with customers who are often also not in one location... the communication problem becomes insurmountable.”
With Avocode we have basically two working days merged into one.”
“With Avocode we basically have GitHub but for designs. This allows us to keep everything in one place, which means we have one set of revisions and we don't have people working at the wrong time.
We created a coding method for using Avocode when you have to refer to a specific design. Because of this, the standups became so much easier because people are able to refer to a particular image number. The Dehli office picks it up at 8:30 in the evening Pacific time, which is 9am their time. They work through the night (PST timezone), and by the time the US wakes up, the work is done.
So, effectively, we have two working days merged into one. That is so important to our delivery model, because for us to be able to deliver to our customers at the price points that we have, we need to be able to use teams that are distributed around the world.”
“Right now, when you upload a PSD with layer groups to Avocode, sometimes it gets crumbled. Our dev team then has to go back to the designers and ask them which layer child should be connected with the particular style. If you were able to show all the layers how they left the designers’ desk, that would be ideal.”
FYI: Our rendering team is already working on this.
“If you could show the screens and how they flow together that would be sweet.
I don't need the ability to show transitions. I just need a whiteboard that shows me that these are the screens that I uploaded and this is how they are connected. It's a critical part of the jigsaw. It's just organizing images - moving them around the canvas and connecting them with arrows and a text tool.”
We don't prototype everything. There is never time and budget for that.”
“Currently we use Flinto for prototyping. It gives us all of the transitions that are available in iOS so we use it to flip the screens. Though it's great, the movement of things is a finesse part of the app.”
The bit that everyone needs help with is that I need to see what comes after this screen.”
“With a few comments and arrows, we could get rid of most parts of the prototyping in the early stages and save a lot of time on explaining and iterating.”
“Our workflow is strongly influenced by a tool called Pivotal Tracker. It breaks each project into little bits, called Stories, that are organized into priorities and sync with our entire team. It would be great to connect the Avocode Notes feature to the Stories we add to our engineering team.”
The biggest problem in engineering is that all of the communication is disjointed.”
“Some is on Slack, some is on Pivotal Tracker, some is on e-mail. We need to start putting those together. If the Notes were connected to Pivotal Tracker, we would have the entire Story.
“It would be much easier to stay in the project and click “add a team member” and invite them only to that specific project.”
FYI: Right now you can go to Manage Account/Team Settings and there invite a member (There you can Change if you want to invite them to all projects or just to a one). However, we will add what Sachin is talking about soon.
“It would be great to have a custom made account for our clients where we could easily manage the projects and designs they can see and give them rights to do anything, or just comment, or add revisions and so on.”
Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like us to share your experience with Avocode.