Implementing Zeplin at MiniCorp

Published on August 31, 2017 by Andrew McDonagh

Throughout my time searching for Product Design jobs, one question always arose in interviews: “Have you any experience collaborating with/handing off designs to developers?”. It was very early in my design career and I had very little experience in this area. With all these companies making such a big deal about this, I expected the process of handing off to devs to be quite a complicated ordeal.

When I landed my design role as a Product Designer with MiniCorp, while being quite confident in my abilities as a designer, I was nervous about the process of handing off my designs to our awesome development team. What if I do it wrong? These guys are gonna think I don’t know what I’m doing! The world is, literally, gonna end if I mess this up (slight overreaction, but still). However, I didn’t need to be so worried. Before actually handing anything off, I was tasked with researching new ways to hand off to development. This allowed me to find a way that I was comfortable with and that would speed up the process for not just me, but the whole team. I had known about Zeplin for a while and had read about what it was used for, but never had any hands on experience with the product. Now seemed like the perfect time to jump in and give it a try.

Upon completing the designs for my first project, I exported my designs to Zeplin, notified Steve and got the thumbs up almost immediately. Zeplin had just made what I had previously thought would be complicated and difficult, a quick and painless process for myself and our engineering team.

The benefits of using Zeplin are numerous and we have already improved our handoff process here at MiniCorp by implementing it into our workflow. Here’s a brief outlined on some of the benefits I have got from using Zeplin:

• I can export artboards directly to Zeplin. Once I’ve sliced the designs, exporting my artboards is just a couple of clicks away.

• After I have exported to Zeplin, it automatically creates specs for the developer to work from.

• Zeplin recognises the document colours and fonts from Sketch and allows me to create a styleguide for the developer. It even creates little snippets of code for the colours!!

• Zeplin generates all sizes of assets based on whether we are dealing with an iOS app, Android app or web app.

• We can set up Slack notifications for the team for when anything gets updated within Zeplin. This is great for keeping everyone on the team in the loop.

My early impressions of Zeplin are very positive. It’s ease of use and functionality meant it was easy to implement into our workflow and we are already seeing the benefits of using it.

I’m sure the more we use it, the quicker our entire process of shipping products will increase even more so. I would highly recommend jumping on the Zeplin bandwagon, especially to junior designers who maybe feel a little anxious about handing off to developers for the first time. It certainly took the worry and anxiety out of the process for me.

Written by Andrew McDonagh