UI design with Keynote 6.0
After playing with the recently updated version of Keynote, I can’t help but notice that the workflows of this unsuspecting design tool seem to have been made with consideration for uses other than presentations. Although a big fan of Adobe’s Fireworks, I’m clearly seeing how some of the key functionality in Keynote combined with the redesigned inspector and tweaked canvas layout can now potentially become a strong contender for use in the design process. Why? Let me show you some of the features which hit the sweet spot.
- The slide (art board) is strictly centred on the x-axis in the canvas window. Too much canvas pan-ability is a huge frustration in tools such as Bohemian Coding’s Sketch.
- The whole document retains a single zoom level of a canvas for seamless transitions between screens.
- Ability to easily export full sets of screens in one swoop.
- Linking elements to different slides and exporting as HTML allows for rapid prototyping.
Typography, drawing and layout tools
- Vectorised elements with good set of arrange/manipulation tools in the inspector window.
- Fantastic alignment guides to help with layout consistency. If you’re pedantic like myself, you can also manually enter values to ensure elements are aligned to the pixel (some more keyboard shortcuts to hide/show would be useful).
- Typography tools for tracking, leading, indents, alignment etc. are first-class citizens.
- The updated inspector window is ever-so-welcome inside the main application window. This was long-overdue from Keynote.
- Create, save and then apply various element styles. Tweak a style and have all elements using that style updated automatically.
- Create page templates as master slides to create global elements that remain the same between screens/pages. This is also handy for handling different resolution templates in responsive designs.
- Sometimes the best feature isn’t specifically a feature. Keynote is far more stable than Sketch, and much more lightweight than Fireworks. I’m keen to see how it performs under more stress, creating large projects with hundreds of screens.
These are only a few of the cool things Keynote has to offer. Although some of these features have been around for a while, the recent UI improvements have made it much more conducive to using Keynote as a design tool.
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