Before I dive into all the explanation and comparison about the software’s let me tell you a short story about how I started my journey in tech. I used to work as a BD Admin of an Environmental Consulting firm meanwhile I studied microbiology in the university, and they had initially employed me to work in the laboratory department to assist with running test on environment samples but I soon figured out that the line of career was pretty boring to me and my life literally revolved in a triangle (Home, Work and Church) so I could not afford to not enjoy what I do and especially with the fact that microbiology as a career almost have a dead-end in Nigeria. So, I had to switch to the Business Development Department of the firm but in a matter of months I started getting tired of that path because my role was quite routine.
In the quest of trying to figure out what career is best for me I stumbled upon Adobe XD and that was how the I started doing my research about what the software is used for and the professionals that use it and then the journey in UI/UX began.
UI/UX (User Interface and User Experience) are two terms that have been considered synchronous, separate, or even considered a subset of the other over time. User Interface has been around as far back as computing has been and most people would define User Interface as the point of interaction between the user and the application. User Experience was explained by Don Norman in the 90s as the entire experience the user has with the product, the services, and the company.
The influx of designers into the UI/UX space has increased lately and as it is with other Tech niches, there are several tools to choose from as a UI/UX Designers. And we would be looking at three famous ones, Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD.
Mac, Windows, Linux and Chrome OS.
Mac and Windows
Regardless of the platform or OS, seamless live collaboration facilities are available
It does not necessarily allow live collaboration, but supports plugins that can make it easier.
Through Adobe ID and recently via Zoom, live collaboration and co-editing is available.
To be Available
It gives access for free if you are an independent designer. The starter plan allows three projects and unlimited storage.
For individual plan start $9.99 and teams, the Professional plan starts at $22.99 per month, with unlimited access to everything and additional
$99 on first purchase. Afterward, you can use their Existing Customer program to renew $69 per year.
$12 monthly per user whereas for a team $45 per month
Components support states, overrides and constraints that can be stored in the Team
Impressive component functionality, with regular updates and responsive resizing.
Basic component support without responsive resizing, but it promises growth potential.
It supports the of CSS iDS and Android codes seamlessly
It has recently launched cloud inspector, its native hand-off feature
Designers can create shared links for generating shareable CSS code snippets.
Figma: Robust and browser-based
Figma is a web app; you can run it in a browser and therefore on pretty much any operating system. Figma is launched in 2016, is a UX design tool based entirely on cloud computing. It acts as a single-stop platform for designing, prototyping, and collaborating. As a result, it is one of the best UX design tools that offer end-to-end design solutions.
- Cloud-based software
- Browser and desktop support
- Live collaboration
- Figma Mirror
- Multi-plugins support
- Real-time collaboration, which provides transparency, makes it easier for teams to work together.
- Quick and easy file sharing options make the designs highly accessible without having to import/export.
- Cloud-based design availability makes your creations platform-agnostic and allows them to be accessed by everyone.
- Support for a wide range of plugins.
- Users always have to be “online” to work on Figma.
- It needs a minimum of 4GB of RAM and a graphics card of the capacity of Intel HD 3000 (or above).
- Local caches can make it difficult for users to view the latest changes and design updates.
- The absence of global colors can make it difficult to enjoy consistency in design.
- Team members can access the files only when it is uploaded to the team library, which may cause delays
Adobe XD offers the best environment for digital projects under the Adobe Creative Cloud collection of design tools. Adobe XD is the newest entrant in the UX design industry, as it was launched on 18th October 2017. It was published by Adobe Inc. XD and supports web apps, voice apps, and mobile apps for macOS and Windows. Million of designer using Adobe XD to creating stunning products and experiences.
- Web, desktop, and mobile support.
- Voice and speech triggers.
- Offline co-editing.
- Drag and drop artboard guides.
- Auto animation.
- Multi-app integration.
- Adobe is known for creating reliable design software based on dependable infrastructure, and Adobe XD is no exception.
- It allows editing and reusability of elements with support for resizing groups and objects.
- Adobe XD supports interactive prototypes with voice prototyping, animation, gaming support, mobile previews, and flows.
- If Users have prior knowledge of Adobe products can easily use Adobe XD.
- It offers cloud saving features with linked assets along with cloud-based collaboration in view-only mode.
- The shape customization feature is fairly limited, and it mainly supports basic shapes.
- Design export is simple, but users need a plugin for the CSS.
- It does not possess image editing capacity, due to which users have to use applications like Photoshop.
- Constant updates and upgrades can dilute the user experience.
Sketch: Fast and intuitive
Sketch is a very popular tool within the design community that enables you to create hi-fi interfaces and prototypes and collaboration design. Sketch, developed by Bohemian Coding, is a vector graphics editor. It was first released for macOS on 7th September 2010 and won the Apple Design Award in 2012. One of the great features is Symbols, which is used to design UI assets and elements for reuse. This helps create design systems and keep your interfaces consistent. From there, you can easily export your design into a clickable prototype.
- Instant design preview
- Grids and guidelines
- Pre-set exporting
- Plugin support
- Collaborative platform support
- Designs are highly scalable and quick to produce.
- Users can build and maintain a reusable virtual design system and libraries for faster reiteration.
- Higher efficiency due to highly accurate tools, pixel-perfect designs, and automation.
- Quicker and more accurate renderings based on how it will appear on the browser.
- It enjoys sustained community support.
- No free version
- Sketch only operates on Mac and is not available for Windows.
- Does not possess image editing or retouching capabilities.
- Does not contain built-in prototyping functionalities.
- Sketch experiences hand-off issues, which can be overcome through third-party plugins.
In conclusion, it’s not just the tool that matters, but the skill of the designer using the tool. As a designer, I prefer Figma mainly because I do not have to install an app before I can use it and Figma is constantly updating their software, creating ways to make design process simpler and faster.