2020 was a perfect year... for Product Design
2020 is finally over. Time to look back on everything that happened. It was a rough year, but let's focus on the positive things.
Our planet became a bit more digital as working from home and family parties over Zoom & FaceTime became widespread. This gave way to creating more digital products for different needs. In line with this trend, it has also been an incredible year for product design tools.
Let’s start with a great change that indicates the importance of language:
In a year where #BlackLivesMatter was more present than ever, all 3 major design tools (Sketch, Figma & Adobe XD) collaborated to rename “master component”. A great move to step away from an old, loaded term.
2020 was a big year for Figma. They hosted their first-ever conference, Config, and even hosted a second European edition a few months later. They also celebrated their 5th birthday, Happy Birthday Figma!
During the conferences, they revealed a lot of new features that shipped throughout the year. Here are some the new features:
- Improved Auto Layout
- Selection Colors
- New prototyping interactions (keyboard, gamepads, …)
- Improved Inspect Tab
- Instance Swap Menu
- “Scroll To” in prototyping
- Interactive components (coming soon)
Sketch celebrated their 10th birthday with a few amazing social media campaigns. One of them was the beautiful Native Mac App landing page and the shiny celebratory pins. A nice catch for the fans!
Great features Sketch introduced this year:
- Cloud inspector
- Components View
- Font embeds
- Color variables
- macOS Big Sur redesign
- Teams Collaboration (beta)
Adobe has been busy this year. A summary of what they’ve been working on:
- Content-Aware Layout
- Audio Playback
- Anchor Links
- Scroll Groups
- Design Tokens
- Multiple Flows
- Nested Components
- 3D Transforms
The biggest change for Framer this year is Framer Web. They launched it in May, making it accessible on more platforms.
On top of that they launched a State of Prototyping report together with Design Week. You can read it here.
ProtoPie is for many the go-to prototyping tool for creating more complex or realistic prototypes. This year they introduced:
- Nested components
- Interaction recipes
- Interaction libraries
- Voice prototyping
- Plugin for Figma
Lottie Files has been great to offer support for Lottie animations and making it easier to share, preview and edit animations.
You can check out more on their 2020 Year in Motion website.
A few great things they’ve launched:
- Figma plugin
- Lottie to GIF converter
- Desktop app
- SVG to Lottie converter
- Lottie React & Svelte player
- LottieFiles Marketplace
For a lot of designers, their interest or first contact with design started by tweaking their MySpace or Tumblr pages. iOS 14’s introduction of widgets made personalised home screens very popular this year. A lot of people started to change their app icons to fit their personal style. Surely the start for a lot of new designers.
iPadOS added improved mouse and trackpad support with a new pointer, an interaction design marvel. If you haven’t watched the Design for the iPadOS pointer video, watch it now.
Accessibility in iOS
iOS 14 introduced a lot of new and improved accessibility features. They launched a wonderful new Accessibility website, you can check it out here:
We probably missed quite some new features and improvements to your favourite tools or platforms. But as you can see, 2020 was great for Product Design! We can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for us.