Let’s face it, we designers can be messy sometimes in the way we work in team.

That’s why it’s really difficult to have full version control and documentation when designing digital products in a team.

Fortunately, those days are gone now.

Meet Abstract, the app that will change our life as product designers for the better 🔥👊🍾.

Note #1: This is NOT a sponsored post of any kind. I just think this tool is valuable to us all.
Note #2: Abstract is a Native Mac OS App that integrates only with Sketch.

In the following tutorial I’ll demonstrate how to use Abstract, which is basically like git for Sketch files.

The Struggle Of Design Teams is real

The CEO of your company just called and asked you to make some changes on a feature that your team member Joe made 2 weeks ago.

You get in the design team’s Dropbox folder, just to experience the horror.

Tons of different Sketch files, spread between different folders, which have very particular names such as “superiorMasterFile.sketch”, “dont_touch_7_14_17.sketch” and “proto_joe.sketch”.

 

pandatry

I don’t know about you, I feel like this panda too.
 
Trembling with fear, you open up those Sketch files only to find that the new feature is missing or that there are only outdated versions of the new feature.

Sigh… 😤

Sound familiar?

Join me for a short Tutorial to see how Abstract is going to change all of that.

Sync outside the box

Once you download the Native app, its’ really easy.

All we need to do is to open a new project.

dary 2

dary.

Then, we drag & drop our Sketch file in order to Sync our designs within the app.

import

Syncing out loud.

Wait for a few minutes till the sync will be over (depends on the Sketch file size).

Now we can open our design files from the app.

Once the Sketch file is synced,  we are going to manage and edit it only through Abstract.

open sketch 2

Open your files with Sketch, Through Abstract.

One file to rule them all

To each project, we are going to have only one source, which is the Master file.

The design team members can work simultaneity on the same Sketch file without overwriting each other!

How does it work?

Basically, from each master File, anyone from the team can create a branch (which is a replica of the master file).

new branch
How we make a new branch.

We can change our designs within the branch as much as we like, the master file will remain the same.

When ready to update our current design of the master file, we simply ‘merge’ the branch and the master file with one click of a button.

merge
How we merge our branch with the new design and our master file.

Are you excited already? wait, there is even more.

Version Quest

When using Abstract, We Never worry about losing any version of our project. Abstract uses the method of ‘commits’. This method lets us track any change we had in our design, even if it’s a tiny one. Think of commit kind of like a ‘save for a state’ of the design.

Commits provides the team with a snapshot of the changes of each file.

It allows us to see who made a change and know when it happened, so we could restore to the previous version at anytime we wish to.

Under the commit section, Abstract has an Activity feed. Just like in any other social/Team management platform, it lets teams stay on top of the product design process.

The activity feed in the Abstract dashboard updates with each change we make.

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

Abstract is perfect for design teams.

It helps us work on the same file without the fear of losing data.

Team members can comment on each others work.

We saw this feature with tools such as Figma, Zeplin, and Invision, but when combined with Abstract, comments can change significantly the way we design the iterations of our product.

change design and commit
Design, commit, sleep, repeat.

All we need to do is to share a link to our branch from Abstract. Anyone with that link could review our design on the web without downloading the native app or having to open a Sketch file.

Each Branch or commit can be discussed separately.

If that wasn’t enough, it is also integrated with Slack and in the near future, it will integrate with tools such as Github, Jira, and more.

Pricing plans

Nothing comes without pay, of course. But for design teams, it seams to be worth every penny.

Summary

We are facing a design renaissance, in which the product design workflow as we know keeps changing constantly with new tools hitting the market.

It could sound a bit scary at first, but hear me out: Once we would embrace this efficient workflow, there wouldn’t be a reason to go back.

Exactly like after embracing Sketch, we understood it was inefficient for us to design an interface using Photoshop. Well, at least most of us.

 

All of the developers I know use Git and version control. That’s why I believe that most design teams would eventually embrace a version control workflow for their designs. It was a real pain, until now.

So.. Try to give it a go yourself, and let me know what you think by tweeting at me 🙂

Yours Truly,

Yuval

 

Note: Just mentioning this again – this article wasn’t in any way, formal or informal, sponsored by Abstract 🙂

About Yuval Keshtcher

Founder of "Talking Microcopy Writing UX" FB group, Head of Marketing at UX Salon, User Experience architect and designer at Outline Branding, Avocado enthusiast.