In this article, i’m going to be comparing the three most popular wireframing tools for UX design ( Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD ) these three pieces of software are sketch, Figma and Adobe xd. There are other wireframing softwares available such as x-frame, azure rp, and envision.
It’s pretty safe to say that sketch, Figma, and Adobe xd are the three most popular prototyping software generally.
If you’re looking at design job specifications these are the three softwares that we mention the most when it comes to wireframing so these are the three that I’ll be focusing on today.
Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD
So sketch requires a one-off payment of 99$ this is 50% off if you’re a student then you don’t have to pay a yearly renewal fee on that, which I think is great however you will stop getting cloud storage access and access to all the new features being launched.
So you won’t get new software updates if you do want to get those updates it will be 79$ a year again this is 50% off the students. the sketch also offers a 30-day free trial so if you want to try that then you can go ahead.
Figma has a free starting membership, you do have a limit on the number of projects you use and also the amount of version history you get. It only lasts 30 days whereas if you pay 12$ a month you do get unlimited projects and version history which is great and then adobe xd similar to Figma has a free membership which does have some limiting factors.
It is also part of the adobe creative cloud if you’re not a student that’s 52.99$ a month and if you are that’s just under 20$. so again if you are paying for that you do have access to Adobe XD already and then if you don’t have creative clouds you can also pay 9.99 $ a month just for Adobe XD.
so as i mentioned in the upfront conclusion all of them do have some sort of free entry price point figma and adobe xd do have the edge here just because you can pretty much unlimitedly use it as an individual for free whereas sketch it is only for 30 days and then you’ll need to pay that one-off payment of 99 $ or 49 $ if you’re a student
Moving on from pricing let’s talk about platform support and accessibility sketch unfortunately is only compatible with mac os devices that’s both the intel macs and the new m1 macs
Figma is a browser-based application meaning it’s completely cross-platform so as long as you have a device that has a web browser you can use Figma which is awesome.
There are also desktop apps available for mac and windows which i do personally prefer instead of using it in a browser however I have used the application quite a lot in the browser and there’s not a massive difference so as Figma is a browser-based application everything is stored in the cloud you don’t really keep any offline files this does mean that you need a pretty stable internet connection
if you’ve already opened a file in figma you can continue using it offline however if you haven’t launched the application or any files at all you will need an internet connection so that could be a drawback for some people
And then finally adobe xd is compatible on both mac and windows no linux support here unfortunately but still better than sketch.
So now let’s actually look at each individual program. I think sketch has a very clear and easy to use user interface um just taking a quick look around here you’ve got your layers and components, you can easily add more layers and your components are where you can save things like icons fonts different user interface elements you’ve created here so you can reuse them throughout your designs.
At the top you have your various tools so you can insert shapes, text, images, all that kind of thing, all your other tools along the top and then down the right side you have your configuration for the different components you’ve selected. so if i just quickly add an artboard i’ll just add a desktop one and then if i add a shape to that you can see on this right hand side then you start getting all your different options such as styling it, resizing it, adding prototyping features and that kind of thing
Now if we move over to figma you can see it’s very similar the user interface is a bit more minimal, the tools are hidden in these little drop downs for new users this might make it a little bit more confusing as you do have to search around in the menus a bit also there is some like different naming conventions in figma compared to sketch such as the use of frames instead of artboards despite that though i think figma is equally easy to use and understand for both new and experienced users as sketches .
Moving over to adobe xd again a pretty similar layout is slightly different to the other two down the left hand side you do have your various tools for shape creation, text, artboards , and that kind of thing then at the bottom is where you can show your artboards and layers.
You also have libraries which have your document assets which are similar to components in sketch and at the bottom you have your plugins.
Though i have to say adobe xd’s user interface is very easy to use i think if you’ve used sketch before or a program like photoshop you won’t have any issues finding everything in this piece of software
So overall for user interface I have to say it’s a three-way tie between each of the pieces of software they all have very easy to use and good looking user interfaces
So moving on from ui let’s talk about collaboration so for sketch collaboration is still in beta, i personally haven’t used the collaboration tool on sketch a lot myself but from what i’ve read it isn’t quite there when you compare it to other software such as figma.
I imagine once this feature is out of beta the functionality of things like co-editing will be just as good as it is on Figma. For Figma this is one of the standout features of the application it’s kind of what put Figma on the map uh basically with co-editing it gives like a google docs level collaboration experience so if two people are working on the same file you can both move around components at the same time and you can even see their mouse moving around and you can add comments at the same time this was groundbreaking when figma launched but now xd and sketch have kind of adopted the same features
Then adobe xd has very similar co-editing features as figma one extra collaboration feature of xd is that you can also bookmark different versions so if you’re working on one version you can bookmark that while someone else is working on a different version of the same piece of software so you can kind of compare them maybe bookmark one as jack’s version and then bookmark the other one as someone else’s version then you can compare the two but yeah there’s not too much else to say about adobe xd’s co-editing features as it is very similar to figma’s.
So i would say figma is kind of the winner for collaboration just because it pioneered the co-editing feature however adobe xd has now brought parity to that, sketch is still a little bit of the way behind
So the next thing we’ll be comparing these wireframing softwares on is prototyping if you don’t already know prototyping is basically where you can make your designs interactive and give the impression that they are working pieces of software this is really great for demonstrating concepts quickly and when it comes to things like interactions it can demonstrate to a developer how you want that specific component to work .
So starting with sketch it has probably the most basic prototyping features of the three pieces of software one thing i do like about prototyping on sketch is that you don’t toggle between like an edit view and a prototype view it’s just all baked in so if you click on a shape you can see just prototyping is here when you add on it you can do different things so you can link it to another component so you could add a feature . the animations at least by default on sketch aren’t as good as the other two however you can download third-party plugins to fix that which is pretty useful.
Figma’s prototyping is done slightly different so you have to switch from design to prototype and then you can add features. so you can see it has a similar linking i’d say the best part of the prototyping on figma is the smart animations basically it automatically adds the animation you don’t have to configure it to be like a right swipe or a fade in or something it will choose the best animation for that situation which is pretty useful and definitely speeds things up if you’re just trying to make a quick prototype that looks impressive.
however i have to say overall adobe xd does have the best prototyping tool set if we go to the prototyping section. you can also have different interactions that aren’t just clicking or dragging or swiping you can have things like keyboard input or voice input which does open a lot more possibilities for the kind of prototypes you create and then outside of that it has all the other prototyping features that you get on the other two pieces of software
Developer Hand Off
Let’s talk about developer handoff so a quick explanation of what developer handoffs are basically when the designer finishes their job and it’s time to move that over to the developer for it to be built then the more information you can supply to the developer the better as it’ll make it easier for the developer to build the product as accurately to the design as possible
Sketch natively doesn’t have the best developer handoff tools however because of that there has been quite a few third-party applications and plugins launched that do enable these features the most notable two are zeppelin and abstract both of these automatically update files when you save your sketch file and then a developer or another designer in those third-party applications can view those pieces of software, they can export specific components from that, they can view the css for those components and get other important information that will help them build the product.
So in figma if i go to inspect and then click on an item you can see things like the padding the properties of the shape the specific color with a hex code or i can change that to rgb, css and i can see the specific css for this shape a developer can just take this css straight from here and then paste it into the style sheet for the website they’re building you can also change this to be specific for ios development or android app development. So if what you’re designing isn’t for web if it’s for an application the same functionality works here which is awesome.
Then for adobe xd similar to figma if you change view settings from design review to development ,this then if you take the link here and open it up i can get the different specs for the different components again it gives me the css but still this is a pretty great way of implementing it i think the way figma does it is a little bit more intuitive however you still don’t have to download a plug-in or third-party application like you do with sketch but overall i would say the developer handoff tools of figma are the best of the three
Finally let’s talk about plugins so sketch has an unbelievable selection of plugins if i go to plugins at the top and then get plugins uh you can see there’s a bunch of featured plugins there’s official plugins or third-party ones it also allows you to create and upload your own
If you go to the all plugins section and then just scroll it just goes on forever there’s a ridiculous library of plugins for sketch, anything that you want probably exists this is because sketch has supported plugins for many years now whereas xd and figma haven’t supported them for as long.
Figma probably has the worst plug-in support of the three pieces of software adobe xd’s selection of plugins are improving however its library is still nowhere near as large as sketches like i mentioned in the upfront conclusion this is the kind of thing that is going to improve over time so although figma and xd’s libraries of plugins aren’t as large as sketches maybe in a year or two they’ll be a lot more comparable.
If you just want a straight answer to what is the Best Protoyping software and who is the winner in Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD you can find it here and if you do want to know all the ins and outs of each piece of software what has the best prototyping abilities which has the best plugins, which is the best for collaborations then you can read the entire article .
So my upfront conclusion is basically each one of these softwares does something better than the other one in a specific area, sketch is amazing because the plug-in library it has. Figma is awesome because it’s super accessible by both having a free price tier and being web-based so you can use it on any platform, It also has really great developer handoff tools.
Adobe xd is great for prototyping my personal favorite is Figma just because the fact that it’s web-based and also I think the collaboration and developer handoff tools are better than the other two however I think each area where these softwares are best in, the other ones will catch up.
Each one of them does have some sort of free access whether that’s a trial or a totally free subscription meaning that if you want to learn the piece of software you can just go ahead and download it and give it a go yourself.
Different jobs also demand you having experience in these different softwares so it is worth having at least a little bit of experience in each one. So yeah, that’s my upfront conclusion I have to say it’s worth just giving them all a shot but my personal favorite is Figma.
So here I conclude my article regarding Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD and hope you like the points that i have added in this article and now you can choose between Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD. Please give your feedback so we can improve.