is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
This is a lovely concept for a companion application to Sketch that would make it easier to collect the necessary measurements for design specifications. The idea is that it could open up Sketch’s native files, and allow anyone to simply hover over UI elements in order to reveal measurements automatically.
This would certainly be useful and as you can see it’s superbly imagined and rendered here by designer Neway Lau.
I have a slightly different take on this problem, though: in this day and age, why can’t specifications and style guides just be automatically generated from source files? Every element in an application like Sketch is a known quantity in a database; why can’t the rules that we are effectively creating through visual means be parsed out into explicit, written rules by the software we use? Why should specification be something that happens at the end of the design process when it could be instead something that happens concurrently? Wouldn’t it be powerful to have a inspector pane for style rules that a designer can monitor as she works on a design, so that she is consciously aware of these rules that she’s creating? It’s a hard problem, to be sure, but the technology exists and we can bend it to our will to make this a reality if we want to.+