Hello! Wondering about all the new things in store for Sketch and the forum? Here’s an open letter our co-founders Pieter and Emanuel recently wrote for Beyond the Canvas.
With 2023 well and truly upon us, it feels like a good time to talk about what’s next for Sketch. If you’ve been following us, and the design tools space in general, you’ll have seen that the end of 2022 brought some big changes. But with those changes come new opportunities that we’re very excited about.
Over the last few months, we’ve refocused as a company. We now have a smaller, more agile team that can double down on what truly counts: making a better product experience for you. With this in mind, we want to share some details about what to expect from us now — and how you can give us feedback to shape what’s next.
Today, Sketch is two apps — a native Mac app for designing, and a web app for sharing, feedback and developer handoff. Some people say we can only “win” if we build our editor in the browser, but we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all experience.
You shouldn’t have to learn how to use design tools to give feedback on designs, test a prototype, or inspect files for handoff. Meanwhile, designers should get an editing experience that speaks to their needs and workflows, without any distractions.
So, we’re building two great experiences for two different use cases. Better still, they work together in harmony to support your workflow. For example, with our latest Mac update, we now support annotations across our entire offering. Collaborators can leave comments on documents in the Web app and designers can reply in the Mac app. And of course, they stay out of the way when you don’t need to see them.
Our Mac and web apps have something else in common — a commitment to the craft of design. We want to make sure that every feature we add to Sketch shows a high level of thought and respect for the people that use our product. And we can only do that by considering every single detail.
With that, our short-term goals for the Mac app are smoothing out rough edges, improving existing features and polishing the overall experience. We receive plenty of requests for new features, but there are even more asking us to improve what already exists, so that’s where we’ll start. Our biggest areas of focus for this are around Smart Layout, performance, direct manipulation, components and text. And as we do this work, we want to open things up and bring you along for the journey.
We love to eat our own dogfood at Sketch — but sometimes our ideas need a bigger audience and more feedback to shape them. So, we’re adding an Experimental Features menu to the Mac app. Here you can try some of the things we’re working on, without running our beta release. This menu is available now with our latest update, and we hope you’ll share feedback on future experimental features in our new forum (more on that below).
With the web app, our goal is to help clients, project managers, developers and others work with design files — without having to understand design tools. We believe this approach makes design more accessible to people who can give valuable contributions to the design process, without forcing them to grapple with tools they simply don’t need to use.
Just like the Mac app, our short-term goals are to improve the overall experience of the web app and lay some solid foundations for bigger updates further down the road. We also want to make it easier for designers to share their work, and iterate on each others’ ideas, and we’re working hard on some projects in this area.
What about the long-term roadmap? Well, instead of teasing you with a year’s worth of product updates right now, we want to open up a conversation with you — our community — to help shape things. We have plenty of ideas, but we think a two-way conversation can make them even better.
To do this, we’ve launched our new community forum. We’ve thought a lot about how we can start more meaningful conversations with you, and we believe a forum is the best place for them. Here’s why:
- It encourages asynchronous communication — As a remote company, anyone in our team can participate in conversations with you all, regardless of timezone.
- It puts discussion in the open — It’s easier to find answers to your questions if they already exist, and understand how a discussion has evolved over time.
- It’s a space just for the Sketch community — Not everyone wants to be on social media, and by owning this space, we can make it better for everyone involved.
Going forward, we hope this can become a place to ask questions, give feedback, get help, and chat with us about Sketch. To launch the forum, we’re holding an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session soon to discuss everything we’ve covered here.
All of this is possible because we’re independent, we own our roadmap and we own our destiny. We’ve been around for over ten years now, and our motivation has always been the same — to build great tools that help people like you build amazing things. We plan to continue this journey in a sustainable way — our way — and we’re excited to do this for many more years to come.
Emanuel & Pieter