Design and UX April 29, 2019

UI Kits. Who uses them and why?

Kieran Parker @kjparker

Hi Indies,

I have been looking around online recently at UI Kits and, as a designer I typically only use UI Kits as inspiration for my own designs, and have only every bought one.

Which got me wondering, with the success of some large UI/UX Kis (Such as the one interviewed on IH a while ago UX Power Tools) what specifically attracts you to, or brings you to buy UI Kits? (if at all)

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    I use https://element.eleme.io/ on all my projects, and a premium frontend theme (from themeforest or bootstrap), I find it to be a very great productivity boost

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    I am a designer and always use a UI Kit (which I created, and sell through https://usegravity.app)

    Agonising over bespoke design work is a sure fire way to enter analysis paralysis and risk killing the startup at an early stage. A UI kit will be good enough to get a product to market in most cases.

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      This comment was deleted a year ago.

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        I'm a Gravity user and it's given me superpowers. I completely lack design skills, and Kyle's platform gave me instant access to things which look good and which I could replicate. I've previously struggled to use something like BootStrap studio to gen pages and then bring them into my backend framework. The code is extremely well written and performant, and I have scaled it with ease. I am soooo glad I found Gravity!!

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        Thank you :-)

        Yes, it is. It's still very early days, but I'm generating 4 figures per month and growing. I'm not sure how big the market is, or what the ideal price point is but it's a great little side business so far.

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          This comment was deleted a year ago.

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            My main channel is search. The code isn't locked as I haven't found a failsafe way to do this when customers own the codebase.

            However, I'm pretty confident that anyone paying between $400 and thousands of dollars isn't going to share something they've paid so much for.

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              When you say search, what sort of keywords, market or phrasing are you targeting? I find wording the sort of complex Non-typical Kit you have is hard to do :/

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    Anything that can get more time allocated to marketing is a plus for me. UI Kits are one such investment. I even turned to Wordpress for the homepage and other pages, not because it was the best, but because it was easier to maintain, modify and expand. Have UI Kit for Dashboard.

    I might do it differently if I was a designer and front-end guy. I'm not. If your revenue is dependent on great design, by all means don't settle for less. I think that is a rare case in B2B though.

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    Mobile UI Kits are extremely useful to developers who don’t want to spend time designing from scratch. If you’re an experienced developer, you can modify a UI Kit to make your product unique and you also save time and money by skipping the design phase / hiring a designer altogether.

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    I use UI kits with android (material components) and with web apps depending on what I'm doing. I never pay for the kits though and it is not something I would be willing to pay for.

    The main reason for using them, on android is about consistent look and feel that helps users to use the app. On web it is mainly for saving time for not having to rewrite things from scratch, things like modals or dynamic search boxes.

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    We used it at OHNO.ai, mostly because we didn't have a UX designer when we started.

    • They save time. When we decided to use it, I felt the design would carry us through the MVP phase until we could hire a designer and a front end dev.
    • They allow you to rely less on front end skills. So my co-founder was a backend guy, so it made his world much better.
    • They are also, (usually) responsive. Which is nice.

    But...

    • If it's not in the kit, you end up butchering the css a lot. Which is where we are now a bit.
    • You won't be able to do everything you want.
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      Interesting, so at what level of "complexity" are the kits you usually go for?

      By that I mean, do you want the bare essentials like UX Power Tools provide, or do you want a more fleshed out, custom themed UI Kit? (I seem to think the custom themed ones are a little limiting, but then again I am a designer so rather put my own spin on things)

      And, from your comment I assume you typically buy the UI Kits that are also sold with a Development-Kit too?

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        I wasn't actually familiar with powertools but just looking at it its probably not something I'd pick.

        It's hard to know what I'd 'usually' go for. Picking ours was like getting married. We did our homework because we knew we'd be married to it for a while.

        In hindsight, the biggest issue for us is we don't have a figma or sketch file of the design UX kit. So when we do design mockups, they often look pretty different in production.

        If I had a UX designer on hand, their first task would be to just create all the shit in figma so we could actually build high fidelity prototypes easier.

        When we looked, we looked at Ant UI (for React), then we ended up using a Hyper UI Bootstrap theme, which has actually not been too bad really.

        If I was a designer, and I had a slick Front end buddy who was working with us, I wouldn't have picked a UI kit. I would have built it all under the direction of the designers vision for sure.

        We'll actually go this way soon, moving away from Hyper.

        Does that help a little?

        I mean in the end, UI kits save time, and compensate for you not knowing how to do some specific thing (In our case, it was the front end stuff, and we wanted to build the MVP fast). But if you can do 'that thing' and in your way of doing 'that thing' you can build something people love to use, i'd be doing that.

        But there is a law of diminishing returns. So maybe just model it out. This is actually kind of how we did it.

        Custom UI + React Components = NPS 20 + 50 customers + 200 hours of development

        vs

        UI KIT = NPS 19 + 49 customers + 10 hours of development

        I mean, I'd go with option 2 in that case, know what I mean?

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          Yup absolutely! It does make sense and I think it is interesting that, UI Kits cater much better to those lacking Design talent so they are able to fill that gap quickly, until they manage to grab themselves a designer to work with.

          I have been working on a UI Kit of my own lately and, (this is totally not a sell btw), would you mind if I emailed you it over with a few questions? Really, I just want to get some insight from those who have bought UI Kits and found them helpful, in hopes of improving it to provide more value, right now I feel it is lacking, I just don't knwo where... (I also don't want to link it here simply again, I don't want to look like im trying to sell to people)

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            I actually think the UI kit world needs to look more like the wordpress theme world. The more the better in my opinion.

            send me whatever you like.

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              It is interesting that you say that, because the Wordpress world is great, and all my friends prefer to use that (lacking Dev and Design knowledge to do either). So, surely knowing one or the other benefits in some way... 🤔