Automating the Design Process at Voxy

Automating the Design Process at Voxy

As a company, we decided to take a look at 20-year old industry practices to see if we could find ways to improve upon them. Over the last couple of months, by using a mix of new ideas from other companies, as well as some of our very own ideas, we are doing just that. How are we doing it? Glad you asked.

Design Automation
In the growing world of ways to view the web, including mobile devices, tablets, laptops and TV's, designing to accommodate this variety has become extremely complicated. That is, these days a designer for a tech company will usually be tasked with creating an element for multiple device resolutions, screen-sizes, etc. Web designers have had to adapt, and at Voxy, our designers are well up to the task. Unfortunately, the existing tools are not, as they have not adapted quickly enough.

The below story demonstrates how the team at Voxy works on continuous improvement:

Our front-end programmer (Jarod) was talking with one of our designers (Kate), about how we handle Android assets (dozens of little icons we use all over our android app). It became clear that we were wasting lots of time on this step. Once the icons are approved and "finished" they still need to get to the developer somehow. This means our designer has to isolate each icon, then resize and export them one by one for multiple devices. This last step could take anywhere from 10 minutes to multiple hours depending on how many icons there were (our website uses hundreds of icons).

So Jarod went to work on automating this step using his knowledge of Adobe and Javascript. In a couple of hours he had written a script that completed the entire last step in a matter of seconds while running inside the program that Kate was already working in. Success. This idea was then copied and applied to another process with getting web icons to the web, shrinking that process down from 30 minutes to 12 seconds. See example below:

  Before After
# Icons 1000 1000
Approach Isolate each, resize, export Script written to automate process
Time (seconds) 1800 12

When you consider that this action is performed at least two times per week, the potential time, monetary and cycle savings add up.

At Voxy, there is no process too small to innovate and iterate upon. Our team members regularly collaborate to solve small problems in addition to the large ones that can take weeks or months. And in the case above, it means that designers get to do more of what they love doing - designing awesome experiences - and ultimately the Voxy users benefit with improved experiences. Everybody wins.

Contributor: Jarod Reyes

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