If you are a graphic designer or have any knowledge of UI and UX, then you must have heard these 4 names.
Adobe XD, Sketch, Figma, and InVision Studio are the four popular design software programs that are used to make great designs.
However, today all four of these software programs have loyal users, and it is hard to tell which one is the best design software.
So, a proficient and unbiased comparison is needed to be done.
I know there must be many comparison blogs available on Google, but this comparison among Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD, and InVision Studio is going to be the easy-to-understand guide that you have longed for.
To make this comparison more insightful and well-grounded I have used all the design apps, closely analyzed their unique features, gotten suggestions from graphic designers, and worked closely with the Extern Labs design team.
So, here is a comparison of the popular design software based on the experience and knowledge that I acquired while working with the Extern Labs design team.
So, let’s just jump straight into the 2023 comparison of Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma, and InVision.
Simple definitions first.
The Top 4 Designing Tools for Your Software Development Company
Do you know that Sketch used to be the first tool choice for the majority of UX and UI designers? But in the last 6 years, we have seen the entry of many new contenders to replace Sketch. But there were three of them that came into the limelight and made a big bang and soon they became Sketch's competitors. These three applications were Figma, Adobe XD, and InVision Studio.
It is a desktop design tool for MacOS and has a dynamic user interface. It is a vector graphics editor, developed by Bohemian Coding, a Dutch company. It was introduced in 2010 and also won an Apple Design Award in 2012. Sketch doesn’t include any print design features, thus making it different from other vector graphics editors. I have seen designers opt for Sketch mainly because of its frequent updates. Also, these updates can be enhanced with several plugins that make designing way easier and faster.
Up until the entry of Adobe XD and Figma, Sketch was the only tool ruling the interface design space. Now, Adobe XD and Figma are their challengers.
Figma is a cloud-based UX/UI design tool. It is a great graphic and web designing platform. Figma was released in the year 2016, and since then it has become the graphic designer’s first choice for creating any web app design. Its smooth user interface and sleek features made it a nasty competitor to similar software solutions in the market.
Figma can also be used for wireframing and prototyping. In 2023, Figma seems to be the most popular tool for prototyping. Since it works directly in a browser, it becomes more accessible. In addition to this, Figma also offers design templates.
Big brands like Twitter, Microsoft, and GitHub trust Figma with their designs.
InVision is another design and prototyping tool that helps designers create and share designs. It gives A-grade design presentations and lets the designers communicate with the clients easily.
InVision Studio will be introduced to the market in the year 2019. With InVision Studio, one can develop more advanced animations and micro-interactions.
Even though it is relatively new, it has become a commonly adopted platform for creating advanced animations.
Adobe XD was released in 2017 by Adobe Inc. It is a vector-based UX design tool best suited for web apps and mobile apps present on macOS and Windows. Adobe is suitable for wireframing and creating simple interactive click-through prototypes.
It comes with layout tools through which elements can be easily created, and the objects can be exported.
Although the platform isn’t free, it comes with many features that ease the UX design process. It's an independent platform that integrates with other sites to obtain resources.
According to the graphic designers in our team, Adobe XD is the best designing tool.
- Pricing The price of a tool is one of the most important factors in deciding which one is best. That is why we have put the pricing factor first.
Figma: It's free for individuals. It allows three free projects or you can upgrade to unlimited projects for $12/per month
Sketch: At $99 per license, you can get the Mac App for life and even access the next production versions of the app.
Adobe XD: It comes with both free and paid plans, depending on your and your team’s requirements. Its paid plan starts at $11.89 per month.
InVision Studio: it is free for now.
Some of these licenses also come with educational and promotional pricing. So make sure to check that part. For instance, Figma offers this if you are not working on a team.
- Platform There are some tools that support only one platform. Like Sketch is well known, but it forces the designers to only use Mac. This outcasting prevented developers from accessing the design files.
Figma: It has a Mac and Windows app, although it’s not offline-capable.
Sketch: It’s for Mac only.
Adobe XD: It’s for both Mac and Windows. However, it is subjected to the same limitations as the Creative Cloud suite.
InVision Studio: Mac and Windows.
- Handoff Features There are few apps that are developed mainly to deliver specifications to the developers, but the designing tools have started integrating these functionalities.
Figma: Figma offers live collaborations so the developers can easily jump in and access the designs, irrespective of the operating system. Figma also neatly prints the handoff code for CSS, iOS, and Android in the right panel.
Sketch: It has launched its own native developer handoff feature called the cloud inspector.
Adobe XD: Adobe XD provides design features that allow the designers to build a shared link that contains assets, measurements, and CSS code snippets.
InVision Studio: It comes with an ‘Inspect Now” feature.
- Live Collaboration Feature Live collaborations and live comments are very helpful in the design process. I mean, no one would like to save the file as “Project 1," “Project 1 final," or “Project 1 final.final.”
Google Docs is a good example where live comments and live collaborations can be made easily by giving access to the doc.
Now the design tools are also doing the same thing.
Figma: It comes with a live collaboration feature. Since it is browser-based, it allows Windows and Linux users to have a refined design tool.
Sketch: It doesn’t come with a native live collaboration feature, but a ‘Picnic” plugin is changing things a little.
Adobe XD: Adobe XD comes with a real-time co-editing feature.
InVision Studio: It does not come with a live collaboration feature, but can generate and share links.
There are dozens of prototyping apps, but they're all going extinct as Adobe XD stands strong in the market.
Figma: Yes! Figma offers prototyping features, but they are very basic. They also have good “Framer” integration.
Sketch: Yes! Sketch makes prototyping possible.
Adobe XD: It offers prototyping within the app. Moreover, it also supports voice prototyping.
InVision Studio: With InVision, you can easily create prototypes and animations.
The offline feature also holds some importance. The online apps will protect and save your information when the Wi-Fi goes down. However, we need full access to open, use, change, and save from the offline app.
Figma: No, there is no offline feature available in Figma.
Sketch: Yes! It’s available.
Adobe XD: YES!
InVision Studio: Yes, present.
Seeing all this comparison, one thing is very clear here Sketch is losing. This is because it is only applicable to Mac users.
The two tools, Figma and Adobe XD, are innovating way beyond the basics, thus making a strong place in the market.
InVision’s new changes can ensure its survival, but I am not sure how far its slow pace of development will take it.
If your company develops software products, offering a great user experience should be your main goal. Thus, you have to put in extra effort to make sure your clients give good reviews about your products.
Once you have chosen the best UX/UI design platform for you, the only step left will be hiring a designer to operate the platform.
Going through tons of applications, interviewing processes, and reviewing hundreds of CVs can be very exhausting and time-consuming.
Thankfully, Extern Labs provides UX/UI designers and UX/UI design services. Our designers are skilled in making designs for web and mobile apps. They have hands-on experience with all four of the above-mentioned tools.
So, whether you are hiring a UX/UI designer or looking to outsource your application design work, Extern Labs has the perfect solution for you.