The results of the survey I conducted as research for my upcoming Midwest UX talk indicated that about 70% of the respondents do not use a version control tool, such as Subversion. I can’t say that I’m too surprised by this. Version control is traditionally part of the developer’s domain, and the tools are specifically geared towards code.
Of course it is necessary to use version control if you are a designer that works directly in the production code base. However, I’ve also been using Subversion to track all of my artifacts, from scanned sketches, to Photoshop and InDesign files, to HTML. It gives me great peace of mind to know that every version of every comp is easily retrievable. I don’t have to remember to save a new version of a file every time I modify it. I just check it in. This is especially valuable when you are collaborating with other designers. Your Subversion client ensures that you have the most recent version of every file and presents a history of changes made by all collaborators. And on top of that, your development team now has access to the most recent version of your specs within the very environment they are living in.
If you aren’t already a part of the 30% of designers that take advantage of version control, I encourage you to start utilizing it. I guarantee it will improve your process and lead to tighter integration with your development team.