UX / UI designers have started to come into their own and get more focus. The Reason being, the availability of quality design tools, which have caught the attention of users and developers alike. There have been many design tools which UX / UI designers have been exposed to, but nothing has generated as much excitement and a sort of an internal competition within themselves, as have three major tools, Adobe XD, Sketch and Invision Studio.  What is it that makes these tools the most sought after and is there any possibility that one may beat the other two in the long run! This article tries to address this challenge.

The Awesome Adobe Threesome

Over the years, Adobe has come out with really interesting design tools like Photoshop, Illustrator etc. While these tools were more oriented towards photography and imaging, they were more of utility to Graphic designers, who even today use these two tools, to take creative designing to the next level. As such, they were not really meant in specific for developing websites and creation of cross platform mobile applications. Websites and Mobile Apps score over the earlier set of innovations like Graphic designing through end user experience and that is when UX / UI designers came to the fore.

While designers felt that Photoshop is getting more challenging due to volumes of files they had to handle, there was light at the end of the tunnel in the form of Sketch, a simple and beautiful innovation from Adobe for UX/UI designers to explore. Since its inception, Sketch has created its own identity and now with its much more user friendly facilities like reusable symbols and a much faster workflow, designers are finding it easier and more efficient to use. Sketch also was much cheaper when compared to Photoshop. However, the only requirement it really had was the need for additional plugins, allowing very specific and customized functionality to be added to the software.

Customers would always like to be in the scheme of things and know where they stand with respect to the status of their project. What better than sharing periodic prototypes of the product in the making for the customer’s analysis?!The prospect to create prototypes was first enabled by the InVision app, a prototype tool which allowed the designer to create clickable versions of his design. This would also allow the user to upload native PSD and Sketch files to their platform and turn designs into workable prototypes. However, when it came to complex designs, a more robust solution was required and Invision introduced Studio, which allows users to build more advanced designs.

The arrival of Adobe XD

Adobe introduced XD with certain key features like repeat grids which caught the attention of designers. Adobe XD was seen as a wave of change though Sketch and Invision Studio continued to remain stronger. Choosing between InVision and Adobe XD boiled down to two things; animation features and Windows support. Adobe XD is more to do with the windows operating system and the corresponding version while Invision Studio has timeline animation features. While both Adobe XD and Invision Studio continue to compete with each other as two of the most preferred UI tools, there could be a situation arising when one of these may hold a slight edge over the other. Speculations are rife about Adobe XD posing many questions to both Sketch and Invision Studio. Let’s take a look with a comparative study.

Adobe xd vs Sketch vs Invision studio

S.NO Parameters Adobe XD Invision Studio Sketch
1 Plugins This worked out well to Adobe XD’s advantage. Presently available Sketch plugins do not work with Invision Studio, but, a proposed extension of studio, named studio apps, is looked at solving the issue for Invision. Many plugins from Sketch were ported to Adobe XD. Yet Sketch still continues to have its share of success.
2 Prototypes management Adobe XD comes with a unique combination of letting the users interact with prototypes through speech playback and voice support This facility is not available with Invision as of now. This advanced facility is not yet available in Sketch though it allows the facility to create prototypes with artboards and links.
3 The Automatic animate feature This feature was a success from Adobe XD since the process involved was much more faster as compared to a similar feature offered by Invision Studio Invision Studio had a good introduction of this at the launch. However the speed and efficiency, now shown by Adobe XD is a challenge for Invision to meet. Timeline Automation facility is available with the Sketch too.
4 Linked Symbols Symbols have been quite a handful while being used in prototypes as far as generating the ultimate user experience is concerned. Linked Symbols were a value addition in Adobe XD. Invision Studio uses components which are very close to symbols. Components allow the designer to create easy to use re-usable elements for your document. The Sketch runner version allows the designer to create symbols with the GO TO option which allows a direct access to the symbol

The above parameters help us in getting a fair idea about the technical competency of these three favourite design tools of any UI designer. Let’s also take a look at few advantages of the three tools which designers are impressed with.

Adobe XD

  • Cross Platform compatibility as it works on both Mac and Windows platforms.
  • Design changes are can be seen in real time on other devices
  • A plus point with Adobe XD is that a video of the prototype in use can be created

Invision Studio

  • Most of the exciting features associated with Invision studio like extended Invision Studio Apps, The windows version of Invision Studio, as it now works only on the Mac platform as well as the commenting feature are still to be commissioned.
  • However, Invision Studio does offer timeline animations.

Sketch

  • Many paid and free plugins and plugins are available.
  • Periodic updates keep the user interface in tune with the latest needs and ensures a response from the UI
  • Basic prototyping is one of the advantage with Sketch

Though each of the above tools is significant in their own ways, the question as to which one of them will dominate the other two, is still a challenge to answer. Adobe XD as of now has a slight edge with facilities to generate plugins on its own and ensure of competent workflow, which Sketch and Invision Studio might have to work upon.

Where Adobe XD is likely to dominate

  • Adobe XD comes with certain key features which is likely to throw a challenge to the other tools though the other tools still continue to enjoy a space of their own in the minds of a UI designer.
  • With Prototyping, design, and animation, all possible less than one roof, when using Adobe XD, testing and iterating on design happens quicker and easier.
  • Adobe XD’s market potential is much higher due to the availability of the free Beta version.
  • Native Prototyping and Built – in commenting facility also wins Adobe XD, many more votes to dominate as compared to either Sketch or Invision Studio.
  • In addition to Adobe’s huge dominance in the design industry through its Creative Cloud suite of apps, Adobe XD has certain sure points which cannot be side-lined. Like
  • The presence of multiple pages in one file encourages continued design, symbol, colour and library edits.
  • The Adobe XD Mobile app includes file storage and is cross platform compliant and also available on multiple devices.
  • Designing and navigating through the tool is visibly faster. Interactive Prototypes, unlike static designs, will give the client a better idea of the user’s experience.
  • There is a facility for more than one client to view and comment on the same prototype links.
  • The concept of Wire framing is interesting which allows and content map kits will allows, understanding design concepts, with little design experience.

Adobe Questions and Answers

Why is Adobe XD seen to dominate UI Designs in the years to come?

Adobe XD is the latest offering and Adobe is putting a lot of effort into developing it quickly. Since the introduction of the first Beta versions, XD has come a long way and updates are also being released thick and fast. XD also comes with enough features to generate lot of interest and excitement amongst designers.

How different is Adobe XD?

Adobe XD is most similar to Sketch in how it works. Despite XD being such a young app, it does have some features (such as voice prototyping, auto-animate, and repeat grid) that are not found in its competitors. While it is more advanced in some ways, it does show its young age in the lack of some basic features.

Is Adobe XD easy to use compared to Sketch or Invision Studio

Overall XD is quick and easy to use. We like the integrated design approach Adobe is going for, and we look forward to seeing XD continue to improve.

Is Adobe XD cheaper when compared to the other tools?

You can use XD for free to see if you like it! The free version of XD gives you the full app, but limits you to one shared prototype and design spec. If you need to share multiple prototypes and design specs, it may cost you a bit.

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