CAVEAT: I design B2B Applications, not marketing websites. The following is specifically targeted at that kind of project.
I’ve been using PowerPoint since 2007 for UI storyboard design with much success. I’ve posted several blog posts about it:
I think Microsoft should release a good B2B UI design tool. This feels like a major gap in their development offerings. And I am not even going to acknowledge MS Expression’s existence! It’s that useless to me.
Instead, Microsoft should release a modified version of PowerPoint with some key changes to make it useful for UI application design.
- Switch to PX from inches
Why does it use inches anyway? People present on screens. Inches is old. Get with the program. Use CSS, not MS Word for layout.
- Introduce Symbols (AKA Object Masters)
These are like slidemasters except that they are not the full screen. They would be independant ojects. Click View – Object Masters. Make a new master object, and then use it on a slide. Update it in one place. This is useful for navigation and common data sets.
- Have a toggle to show/hide comments
Comments in the UI are important. Right now, PowerPoint makes it hard to hide and show comments in the UI simply. This should be trivial.
- More UI centric slide sizes
Mobile view, tablet view, large screen, etc.
- Call it Microsoft UX Storyboards
Names matter. Don’t call it PowerPoint.
- Comments in online version
Invision does this quite well. People need to iterate on the designs.
- UI Controls
Just like shapes, but editable UI controls. I make these manually now.
- Central Palette Variables
Ability to color shapes with a variable color rather than an explicit color. Like $HighLightColor – this would allow one change to effect all slides.
- Support Google Fonts in the file itself
This would actually help lots of people who use PowerPoint now. Embedding fonts has all sorts of bugs. Just download the font from the cloud.
I can imagine more changes, but these would really improve the experience for a designer. Microsoft really needs a designer tool that is respected. Right now, they have none.
Can someone please get the PM of PowerPoint to see this?