Sketch Plugins for UX Designers

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As a designer, you’ve probably already heard of Sketch. Sketch is a design tool for Mac, created by and intended for UX, UI, mobile or web designers. Although the tool has a good amount of features, you can extend its functionality with Sketch plugins and speed up the design workflow.

The Sketch plugins

Plugins are an important part of Sketch’s ecosystem. By installing Sketch plugins, you can extend Sketch’s functionality dramatically. I have only collected plugins I use on a daily basis as UX Designer, so don’t expect a huge list of useless plugins.

Sketch Plugin Manager

The first plugin you need is a plugin manager for Sketch. I recommend using Sketch Plugin Manager. You can easily search for Sketch plugins, install them and keep them up to date without navigating to GitHub every single time.

With the latest version of Sketch (version 46.2 at the time of writing), developers have improved the way Sketch manages plugins. Sketch plugins are automatically updated, incompatible plugins are disabled and installing a plugin takes less time, but you still need to download plugins from GitHub. Just because of that, I prefer to use the Sketch Plugin Manager.

All mentioned plugins in this article are linked to their GitHub repository or their respective website. However, if you have downloaded and installed the Sketch Plugin Manager, you can search and install plugins straight from Sketch in a matter of seconds.

Zeplin

Zeplin is a collaboration tool for designers and developers. It allows you to share and inspect Photoshop and Sketch files. With the Zeplin plugin, you can simply upload all your designs to Zeplin within Sketch.

Avocode

Avocode is very similar to Zeplin. So whether you are using Avocode or Zeplin, Sketch has a plugin that enables you to upload your designs.

InVision Craft

The InVision Craft plugin is actually a set of plugins and comes with its own manager to keep them up to date. The following features are included:

  • Stock: use stock photography from Getty and iStock,
  • Freehand: just a fancy name for quick notes,
  • Prototype: instead of using InVision for prototyping, you can create clickable prototypes in Sketch,
  • Sync: upload your designs to InVision,
  • Data: add content to your designs (coming from Google Sheets, from the web, public API’s, JSON, …),
  • Library: generate a style guide and integrate design assets,
  • Duplicate: instead of copy+paste

If you are only looking for the data component, you might want to give Content Generator a try.

InVision is not the only prototyping tool integrated within Sketch. Marvel, Framer, Principle, Flinto, Justinmind and Mirr.io have created a Sketch plugin as well.

Pixel Perfector

Have you noticed, when working with Sketch, that layers seem to float around a bit? The X, Y, width or height properties are just not defined pixel perfect. The Pixel Perfector plugin will select the imperfect layers so you can easily change those properties.

SketchDistributor

In addition to the built-in alignment options, SketchDistributor adds the ability to evenly distribute the spacing between layers. Select the layers you need to distribute, enter the specific pixel value and you’re done. This Sketch plugin will save you a lot of time.

Sketch Mirror

Sketch Mirror is an absolute must-have for mobile designers, which is why Sketch has it integrated by default! It allows you to preview your designs on any iOS device. Download the iOS app and connect it with Sketch (either via USB cable or WiFi) and you’re ready to go. What better way to check the designs on the device it was meant for!

Side note: Prototypes created with the InVision Craft plugin will not work on your mobile device when using the Mirror iOS app. You’ll need to install the InVision iOS app to do that. By the way, that’s how I perform mobile usability testing at an early stage.

I remember trying the Skala View plugin as well, but I just couldn’t get it connected to my phone for some reason. If anyone has tried out this plugin, let me know how it compared to Sketch Mirror.

Save with Device Frame

The Save with Device Frame plugin does exactly what you think it does: exporting your design in an iPhone 6 or 7 frame and the Android Moto 360. Unfortunately, those are the only 3 formats so the plugin is rather limited in use.

Sketch Measure

The next Sketch plugin in line is the Sketch Measure plugin, which helps you to create specs for developers. With the help of a toolbar you can accurately design the specs and automatically generate an html page of the design.

But to be honest, since I’ve been using Zeplin I haven’t had much use for the Sketch Measure plugin any more. The reason is that many features of Sketch Measure are also available in Zeplin.

Icon Fonts

Are you using Font Awesome, ionicons or Google’s material icons? With the Icon Fonts Sketch plugin, you can browse, search and insert icons as text and convert them to outlines. The plugin itself has no built-in fonts, but the author was nice enough to bundle the most popular ones.

Sketch Palettes

With the Sketch Palettes plugin you can save and load colors into the color picker. I use this plugin to import colors, as defined in our style guide, so that I wouldn’t introduce another color by mistake.

What about you?

I would love to know which Sketch plugins you use and why! Is it for presentation purposes, testing or just speeding up your design workflow, let us know!

Paul Olyslager

Paul is the creator, editor and most regular writer of paulolyslager.com. He’s also working as UX Lead for Home24, a leading online shop for furniture and home accessories, based in Berlin, Germany. Read all about Paul or find him on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.


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