The demand for UX / UI designers continues to grow. 2019 is no different as it sees a phenomenal prospect. However, there is also a healthy debate which continues on concluding, which amongst the two more prominent development tools in use, will win as the most preferred tool for Designers in the year 2019. In fact, from research to complete an entire design, many ux designing tools needs for an ux designers. If you’re an apple mac os user then you can use sketch, a popular, streamlined vector graphics editor with limitless plugins that is quickly becoming an industry standard, unless you have an apple machine your simply left out. After years of absence adobe aggressively comes with Adobe experience design (Adobe XD)
The Adobe XD User Interface
We are talking about Adobe XD and UX Sketch, which in its own ways, have immensely contributed in delivering the ultimate user experience. Though both these tools work towards the same objective, they are different. Let’s take a deeper comparison about Adobe XD vs Sketch. But before getting into it, let us see from a designer’s perspective, what are the parameters that contribute to a great design?
What makes a Great Design?
- Free hand to create: It is very important to give the designer the complete freedom to be as creative as possible to deliver the ultimate user experience. There are certain key aspects which contribute to this which designers would like to consider, like the best operating system being used, keyboard shortcuts, vector networks and symbols.
- Compelling Content: Content plays an extremely important role which every designer will agree with. Every design is created with content and it will only be great if it is accompanies with a compelling content. Designers would do well to include graphical and videos content along with written data, to give their design a slight edge over competitors.
- Interactive Prototypes: Every customer would like to take a look once at what their final product could be and hence a design tool which has quick sharing option, can work wonders for every designer to continuously be in connect with his customer.
As seen while earlier in this article, Adobe XD and Sketch, which in its own ways, have immensely contributed in delivering the ultimate user experience, let’s start with Adobe XD
What is Adobe XD?
Adobe Experience Design CC or Adobe XD is a vector-based lightweight graphics editor and prototyping tool for designing and prototyping user experience for web and mobile apps developed and published by adobe Inc that was announced at Adobe MAX 2015 as Project Comet. The Adobe XD software is available for both windows and mac. It supports vector design and website wireframing, and creating easy interactive click-through prototypes. In 2016, it was launched as part of Creative Cloud.
Before that Adobe was an adding feature for UX Designers along with Photoshop and illustration, these two tools had being an amazing tools for UX designers in the period of 2013 and before. After the deprecation of Adobe fireworks, many ux designers start felt that Creative Cloud did not suitable for the current market expectations. In this impact the ux designers who have macOS start jump into Sketch. While Adobe’s response for this mass migration was a bit late, but it is worth the wait. Let’s see the comparison of Adobe vs Sketch
Sketch VS Adobe XD – User Interface and Exclusive Features
In today’s digital world, how best would you define creativity and digital design? Most of us would come close to the suitable answer. Designers these days are expected to have a mix of both creativity and digitization, in their designs. The prerequisite for the designers to achieve this objective is a good design tool. Staying with UX and UI design, we have seen Adobe XD and Sketch, coming out as the most preferred though Adobe XD is relatively new while UX Sketch has been around for a while. Let’s get deeper into them and find out where they score over each other.
The first look at Adobe XD and a UI designer may not find too many changes when compared to Sketch. Though Adobe did not adopt the darker buttons and menus, from a designer’s perspective, Adobe comes with a taller layer panels and charismatic properties, to the right side of the screen, as seen in Sketch. Adobe is considered to have a slightly more user-friendly approach and is quite easy to learn and understand.
One of the unique features of Adobe XD is the Repeat Grid. This feature is a huge time saver for the designers when you have to design pages or screens with lists of repeating elements and you need to choose which layout and style works best. Any changes required can be done only on one element present in the repeat grid which automatically gets applied to the rest of the elements. This is truly a designer’s delight.
As mentioned earlier in this article, clients would always prefer to know where their product stands in the design stage. A prototype is one which gives the client, the clear picture. While we compare Adobe XD with Sketch with respect to this parameter, Adobe presents the facility of generating interactive prototypes through its vector drawing ability which can be easily shared across the web. However, Sketch would require the services of plugins to perform this activity.
Adobe included the Assets panel along with the August 2017 update, an intelligent way to bring together an interactive style guide with colors, character styles, and symbols. When you modify something in the Assets panel, every use of the asset in your artwork follows. Sketch also has color variables, character styles, and symbols, and everything, but each one contained in their own panel.
Asset feature allowing the designers to publish the project’s style guide with downloadable fonts, assets, and the colors hexadecimal codes, close to the interactive prototype and an inspection feature for developer’s survey of elements inside the prototype, which is one of the next features to appear on XD on the product blog. Already its possible in sketch also using plugins like Zeplin, this is called “handoff for developers”. One more feature being teased is the real-time collaboration inside XD, something that resembles the collaboration feature present on Google Docs and already available on other UX design tools like Figma.
Taking a point out of Prototyping, Vector Networking is an additional facility available with the Adobe XD tool which helps the designer generates interactive prototypes. An opportunity to play around with Vector drawings in all likelihood fascinates a UI designer more as this facility is not available with Sketch.
This soon to be introduced feature in Sketch is already a highlight of Adobe XD, for a native app. Every Design these days is thought about based on cross platform applications and adaptability to multiple devices and screen sizes. For the ever growing number of users who frequently switch between devices with varies screen sizes, Responsive designs fit to multiple device sizes seamlessly. Now as a designer if you have to create the same design again and again to optimize it for different screens, Responsive Design is the correct answer.
File formats supported:
Both Sketch and Adobe XD support common file extensions while exporting and importing files. While Sketch supports files names with extensions PNG, JPG, TIFF, PDF, EPS and SVG while exporting files, it supports PNG, JPG, TIFF and bit map image files with WebP extensions, while importing files. Comparatively, Adobe XD supports files with extensions PNG, SVG and PDF while exporting files and JPG, GIF,PNG, TIFF and SVG, while importing files.
Both Sketch as well as Adobe XD extends offline support to designers.
Reusable symbol support:
Symbols have been game changers in design. Extensive innovative symbols have been used by designers these days to deliver the ultimate user experience. Supportive tools like Sketch and Adobe XD also support the use of symbols. While Sketch supports the use of reusable symbols with responsive resizing, Adobe XD supports only basic symbols with no responsive resizing facility.
Operating systems as always plays a major role in the functioning of any tool or application. In case of Adobe XD and Sketch too, they play a decisive role. While Sketch works well only on MAC Platforms, Adobe XD works fine with MAC as well as Windows 10 platforms.
We have just seen about the parameters which could help designers to find out which amongst Adobe XD vs Sketch, could suit their design needs. We take this perspective a little further by listing down the key advantages of these two tools which could help designers a bit further.
- The presence of multiple pages in one file encouragescontinued 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 Wireframing is interesting which allows and content map kits will allows,understanding design concepts, with little design experience.
- Sketch is extremely fast which is the major advantage for designers
- Well-crafted and designed with UX designers in mind, Sketch has only those features which are relevant for UX and UI design
- The above feature saves the designers a lot on design time and release a competitive and competent end product.
- What impresses designers a lot about Sketch is the easy integration with third-party. This is a significant advantage because there are lots of plugins to evaluate and select the most convenient one to work with, not having to depend upon just one tool. It gives you the freedom to mix and match.
- Sketch also comes with an amazing feature which is the “Resizing” feature, which enables control in elements such as stretching, fixing and changing the size .This helps designers who work exclusively on projects with multiple resolutions.
- Sketch has a slight edge over other tools like Adobe XD as they support team work. In other words, besides collaborating with designers, Sketch allows working with different members of the team, which enables everyone to put in their thoughts in the design and contribute to the design process. The ease in which anyone can learn to use the app means that anyone can participate in the design phase, instead of waiting for a JPG file.
- Sketch also offers a simple and easy way to use solutions. The ease of executing commands also makes life that much more easier for design engineers and simplifies the design as a whole.
- Sketch is built for a responsive multi-platform design, enabling files and graphic elements export in a fast and simple way, streamlining the process of working with the developers and shortening work time.
Comparison of Adobe XD and Sketch
|Vector graphics||Yes (and includes Adobe Illustrator in CC subscription)||Yes|
|Advanced image editing||No (but includes Adobe Photoshop in CC subscription)||No|
|Prototyping||Yes||No (but available with third-party plugins)|
|Handoff with online style guide and inspector||No (announced as a future feature)||No (but available with third-party plugins)|
|Symbols and styles||Yes||Yes|
|Document grid||Yes||Yes (with columns and more options)|
|Collaboration||No (announced as a future feature)||No (but available with third-party plugins)|
|Windows version||Yes (Windows 10 or above)||No|
Most Frequently Asked Questions
How much is Adobe XD?
Adobe XD is one of the sought after tools which can be used both on web as well as on mobile apps. The Adobe XD in Beta is free for now.
Is Adobe XD really free?
The Adobe’s XD app for UI Design is now available for free. With this option, Adobe plans to mainly influence UX and UI designers. The main objective of Adobe is to extend the facility of cross platform applications with all its additional attractive features included, at no extra cost.
Is Adobe XD free forever?
As of now, once Adobe XD is installed on your computer, since it does not carry any validity period, it’s yours to keep.
The goal of a designer is to listen, observe, understand, sympathize, empathize, synthesize, and glean insights that enable him or her to ‘make the invisible visible. – Hillman Curtis