Sketch vs. Adobe XD vs. Figma

Last updated August 2017.

True North Podcast

When Sketch first came out it completely disrupted the interface design space, but Adobe XD and Figma have recently come forward as new challengers. They offer unique functionality like prototyping and live collaboration. I’ve recently been researching these tools for my side project, uxtools.co, and wanted to share what I believe the be the most noteworthy decision points.

Budget

I know several of you reading this might be students or freelancers, and budget can be a big deal when you’re working on your own. Keep a look out for educational and promotional pricing (often 50% off), and think about your long term needs: Figma will get you there for free as long as you're not working on a team.

Live Collaboration

You know what this is. I’ve heard designers worry about clients wanting to work alongside the designer or have a boss make arbitrary changes. I imagine these were the same concerns that surrounded the release of the highly innovative Google Docs suite. Google Docs, however, turned the Microsoft Suite on its head with live collaboration, and now Figma is seeking to do the same thing with UI design. Here’s the breakdown:

Platform

Though Sketch has been immensely popular, it has forced designers to only use Mac, and has alienated developers from accessing design files.

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Handoff

Recently a few apps have been developed specifically to deliver specs (sizing, spacing, color) to developers, but design tools have begun to integrate this functionality natively.

Offline

This is a big deal. I’m excited about Figma and the ability the break open the accessibility of high-quality design, but I take public transit to work every day and need to be able to work offline. Some online apps tout being able to protect your information when Wifi goes down, but I need full access to open, use, and save from the app offline.

Prototyping

There are literally dozens of these apps now days, but they might become extinct as Adobe XD brings prototyping directly to the design tool. Keep your eye on these.

Symbols

These have completely changed the way I design. Forget building and duplicating list items over and over, let symbols do the work for you.


I’ll keep an eye out as these programs continue to evolve and become more production ready. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m an avid Sketch user and lover, but I’m secretly very excited for Figma. In the meantime, uxtools.co should seep you up to date on the latest apps, and you can always reach out on Twitter.

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