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At a high level, I will be managing a web design team that will be working with onsite developers on a large ASP.NET project developing website, mobile website, and mobile app versions (Android and Apple), and even a Windows version, of a software product. My question is as follows:

In mobile design, developers I've observed basically have to recreate the entire model designed by the designer. Unlike with HTML, the developers cannot just copy/paste it in. And designers typically don't work with XAML layout. Not only is this recreation a waste of time but developers may not have the attention to detail of the designer. How can one use a GRAPHICS software program (and which one) to make designs which developers can literally take and begin using? Is there a design program that can equally output HTML and XAML and AXML etc. so that developers can just copy/paste it into Visual Studio and go? It seems crazy for developers to waste time recreating what they see in static mockups.

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There is no such tool. The closest that we designers can get to this dream is what we design and implement using HTML/CSS in the browser. There are some folks trying to create such tools (Adobe Muse, BoxBox, etc.)

But frankly this "universal design/development application" is a bit of a pipe dream. Design is a different mental model and activity than development. And thus the tools will likely always be a bit different. It will likely always require a skilled designer to translate the design into the medium that the developers can use. I do think technology will improve and that the tools will get better and make this translation process easier. But there will probably always be that gap between design and development mental models that require some bit of human coordination.

  • I am partially in disagreement. I see no intrinsic reason why css and html could not be done in a visual tool that does 98% of what you need. Its just that doing just this is in a way a bit misguided as the encoding does the same but better. – joojaa Oct 28 '15 at 14:14
  • Thanks for replies. So what software do both of you two use? – stackonfire Oct 28 '15 at 22:16
  • @joojaa - I do think the tools will get much better but I believe, based on my past and current experience with such design-to-development tools, that there will always be a disconnect. It will get smaller, but I believe the gap will remain because one tool can't solve all problems and fundamentally a design problem is different than a development problem. – bemdesign Oct 29 '15 at 1:35
  • @stackonfire - That question would probably be better asked on the meta/chat side of this site as this stuff can get opinion-based pretty quick. – bemdesign Oct 29 '15 at 1:39

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