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How developers are taking the guesswork out of animation coding

4 min read
Lizzie de Cantor  •  Aug 29, 2019
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A critical point in any product team’s workflow is when design starts handing over work to developers to bring to life. Handing off design specs that translate easily to code is tricky, and adding animation interactions to that gets even trickier. 

There are lots of solutions that help deliver baseline information developers need to build final products—like assets, type specs, color values—but getting specifications to build animations is rarely done through any set process. 

Here at InVision, we’ve built a pretty cool connection to hand off important build information to developers, including motion specs. 

Motion handoff for most of us: 

The only way for developers to translate animations into testable experiences is through a lot of replaying, followed by educated guessing and rounds back and forth with designers.

(Check out InVision Cloud to learn more about animation handoff.)

It ends up looking something like this: 

  1. Designers finalize prototypes for the development team, which includes screen transitions and animations. 
  2. Developers pull whatever information they can get and watch replays of interactions as many times as possible.
  3. Developers build transition movements in a test environment through guesswork.
  4. Designers review the work and send it back to development because the animation is off.
  5. Developers and designers meet to review animations again in detail and start the process over from step one.

(Read about General Assembly’s designer-developer collaboration process here.)

While this process feels like business as usual for many teams, there is a better way. Here’s how teams are solving this problem with InVision. 

Motion handoff from Studio to Inspect

Design teams building their prototypes with InVision Studio are able to hand off their files with inspectable animation information for developers. Here’s how we do it: 

  1. In Studio, designers can prototype and dictate advanced animations with Motion and Timeline. 
  2. When the prototype is ready to go, designers click the InVision publishing icon, name the prototype, and click “Publish” to send files to InVision Cloud for collaboration. 
  3. Who knew “publish” could be so beautiful?
  4. From your InVision Cloud account, developers can now view the new prototype in Inspect mode to get assets, measures, type information, color values, and any motion specifications. 
  5. From left to right: Play Mode, Comment Mode, and Inspect Mode
  6. A lightning bolt icon in the layers panel of your prototype indicates there are inspectable motions in the prototype.
  7. Can you spot the lightning bolt?
  8. Developers can click into any layer with a lightning bolt to preview animations and inspect the interaction for the Bezier curve, Start Value, End Value, and CSS information.
  9. Preview those animations.
  10. All of these values can be copied and pasted from InVision into CSS files to ensure transitions and animations are being coded exactly as they behave in prototypes. 

(Start handing off your animations using InVision Cloud.)

Streamlining your handoff

Design and development teams work better when workstreams are connected and transparent. InVision helps eliminate unnecessary back and forth and production slowdowns that often arise at handoff.

If you’re a designer, give Studio’s advanced animation capabilities a try and see how much easier handoff can be.

If you’re a developer, talk with your team about using InVision to collaborate more closely with designers and streamline your workflow.