Adobe XD vs. Figma vs. Sketch.
You’ve heard of all three of them, and now you do not know which one’s better!
Welcome to the life of a modern UX designer, where you have hoards of options when it comes to the best UX design software.
The debate of Figma vs. Sketch vs. Adobe XD has been raring for quite a while, and it doesn’t seem to die down either. If you find yourself embroiled in this confusion, we have an excellent guide for you.
So let’s check it out: Sketch vs. Adobe XD vs. Figma — which wireframing tool is best for you?
First, a Low-Down on the Best UX Design Software
Before we compare these UX prototyping tools with each other, let’s take a look at these individually:
Sketch: Fast and Intuitive
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. Considering that it was one of the first UX design software, it was also one of the firsts to disrupt the UI/UX design scene.
- Instant design preview
- Grids and guidelines
- Preset exporting
- Plugin support
- Collaborative platform support
Pros & Cons
Here are a few advantages enjoyed by Sketch:
- Designs are highly scalable and quick to produce.
- Users can build and maintain a reusable virtual design system and libraries for consistency and fast 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.
Following are the drawbacks or limitations of Sketch:
- No free version
- Sketch only operates on Mac and is not available for Windows.
- It does not possess image editing or retouching capabilities.
- It does not contain built-in prototyping functionalities.
- Sketch experiences hand-off issues, which can be overcome through third-party plugins. However, these plugins require ongoing support from developers as newer versions of Sketch is released.
- It can hog your resources and bring down the performance of an older machine.
Figma: Robust and Browser-Based
Figma, 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. Teams can work collaboratively on the same file in real-time.
- Cloud-based software
- Browser and desktop support
- Live collaboration
- Figma Mirror
- Multi-plugins support
Pros & Cons
Let us take a look at the benefits offered by Figma:
- Real-time collaboration, coupled with enhanced 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.
- With its design, prototype, and collaborative capabilities, it is an all-round package for companies.
Figma currently possesses the following drawbacks:
- Users always have to be “online” to work on Figma. Basically, no internet = no 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: Flawless UI/UX Designing
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. Adobe XD also extends its support for Android and iOS devices for design previewing.
- Web, desktop, and mobile support.
- Voice and speech triggers.
- Offline co-editing.
- Drag and drop artboard guides.
- Auto animation.
- Multi-app integration.
Pros & Cons
Here are a few factors that make Adobe XD one of the best UX design software:
- 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.
- Users with 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.
While Adobe XD is a solid entry-level UX wireframing tool, it possesses the following limitations:
- 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.
- There is a free version with limited collaboration features. For full features, the users have to buy a Creative Cloud plan of Adobe XD, that is available at a monthly cost.
Sketch vs. Figma vs. Adobe XD
At first glance, it may appear that the three UX wireframing tools are similar. These are all vector-based wireframing tools. As a result, the grant the following common advantages:
- Efficient design to kickstart the project.
- Focuses on usability.
- Simplifies and refines site navigation frameworks.
- Easier visualization of the project structure.
- Fault isolation for easier debugging of designs
- Allows iteration in the design process.
- Improves content development, quality, and appearance.
- Saves time and effort.
However, Figma, Adobe XD, and Sketch are clearly not all the same. So, here’s a granular look at how they differ from each other:
UX design projects are not necessarily backed by a money-loaded enterprise. At the same time, UX wireframing tool users could range from students and freelancers to veterans and experts. In the case of the former set, the pricing could determine the best UX design tool for their needs.
- Sketch: $99 license grants users access to 10 production version of Sketch, which lasts about a year. Hence, it costs you an approximate of $8 per month.
- Figma: Free for non-commercial usage. Users can enjoy 3 free projects or upgrade to $12 per month (billed annually) to unlock unlimited projects and collaborative features.
- Adobe XD: Free in the Beta stage but will fall under Creative Cloud pricing, which would mean $50 for the CC suite or $20 per month for Adobe XD alone.
When you think of how to create a wireframe, you need to consider how your team creates the vector. If all the stakeholders are actively involved in the designing process, it is crucial to include live collaboration to your list of “must-have” features.
- Sketch: Does not allow live collaboration natively, but supports plugins that can facilitate it.
- Figma: Seamless live collaboration facilities regardless of the platform or OS.
- Adobe XD: Live collaboration and co-editing is available through Adobe ID and recently through Zoom.
These wireframing tools are available on a diverse set of platforms, which can limit or expand its capabilities.
- Sketch: Available on Mac only.
- Figma: Browser-based with dedicated desktop apps for Windows and Mac.
- Adobe XD: Mac, Windows, and mobile-viewing support.
Certain apps deliver specific designs. However, each of these also possesses unique functionalities and capabilities, which facilitates integration with other software and tools.
- Sketch: Sketch has recently launched Cloud Inspector, its native hand-off feature.
- Figma: It supports the printing of CSS, iOS, and Android codes seamlessly.
- Adobe XD: Designers can create shared links for generating shareable CSS code snippets.
Offline availability is crucial for supporting your designs even when you do not have a stable internet connection (Think designing while commuting).
- Sketch: Available.
- Figma: Coming soon.
- Adobe XD: Available.
Next, we compare one of the primary purposes for using these wireframing tools — assessing how easy it is to create prototypes?
- Sketch: Yes.
- Figma: Yes. Its basic prototyping features appear to be a watered-down version as offered by Adobe XD.
- Adobe XD: It was one of the firsts to introduce native prototyping within the design app.
Symbols are redefining how users design their UX. It helps overcome building and duplication tasks and makes your design highly iterative.
- Sketch: Impressive symbol functionality, with regular updates and responsive resizing.
- Figma: Symbols support states, overrides, and constraints that can be stored in the Team Libraries.
- Adobe XD: Basic symbols support without responsive resizing, but it promises growth potential.
Which UX Prototyping Tool is Best for You?
When it comes to which wireframing tool is best, it all boils down to personal preferences.
Fortunately, since we have broken down the comparison on a diverse set of features and functionalities, you can make an informed choice depending on your preferences!
Also Read：How to Become a UX Designer in Hong Kong