Product Updates

Introducing Specs, the next evolution of designer and developer collaboration

4 min read
Elliott Risby
  •  Oct 29, 2020
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One of the most painful steps in the product workflow is the designer and developer handoff. Today’s design files and tools aren’t developer friendly. Transitioning files, context, and coding requirements over to stakeholders takes time and effort. We also hear from designers all the time that there’s no such thing as a one-time “handoff”— modern day product development teams need to stay fluid between design and build states.

Well here’s some good news: at InVision we’re expanding beyond just prototypes and introducing a whole new kind of collaborative document. We call it a Spec—a dedicated space for designers, developers, and product managers to collaborate in real-time and zero in on what’s ready to build. With a Spec, you can convey design details exactly how you imagined them and keep feedback in one central document.

A specialized document built for exceptional developer collaboration

Why do you need an entirely new document for spec’ing out designs? Take a minute to consider how you’re handing off today. Does it involve separate documents for screen flows or animations, where developers can find raw values and components? Do you have to collect countless links and screenshots in Jira and schedule a live walkthrough with your dev just to feel confident they understand the design?

In talking to customers, we quickly found that adopting Specs saves time by consolidating these steps for teams—especially those who are distributed. Specs brings creating manual specifications and meeting with developers into a single step. Developers can jump in and start coding without all the back and forth cycling normally required.

If you already have an InVision V7 account, then Specs is already available to you!

Simply sign into your InVision account and click “+Create” to start a blank Spec. Or, select screens in an existing InVision Prototype and choose “send screen to a Spec” to start with existing designs.

Try it now

Distinguish between what’s ready from what’s subject to change

Design files or prototypes can be chaotic—designs change in real-time, and it’s hard for developers to understand what’s ready for handoff. Avoid unnecessary confusion by collaborating with your team in a Spec instead. By creating a Spec from a design file, designers can iteratively share the screens ready for a developer’s input. That means designers can keep working on their in-progress files in private and receive only the feedback they need.

Add critical context to designs—all in a single canvas

Instead of a Slack conversation or another meeting on your calendar, Specs is your simple, clean canvas to converse about a design. From mapping out screen flows, adding granular details on a desired behavior, and including inline notes, Specs enables designers and developers to communicate the full intent of a design, effortlessly.

Connect to developers’ favorite tools

When we started developing Specs, we wanted a feature that developers would love. Specs autogenerates Inspect mode for any screen added, meaning developers can easily pull raw values, components, and variable names. Also, thanks to a native integration with Jira, you can sync Specs to any corresponding Jira issue or epic directly from InVision.

We hope Specs on InVision make communicating designs and collaborating between designers and developers easier than ever. Start trying Specs out on your own team today, and please send us feedback on what more you’d like to see.

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