10 Jan The Battle for UX Design: Which Tools Should Your Team be Using?
Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Figma, Craft, Adobe XD, InVision…the software battle to be crowned king of UI design is reaching new heights in 2018. If your team is still designing web and mobile interfaces in Photoshop, you’re sure to be missing out on dozens of features that not only save you time, but unlock capabilities to keep up with the contemporary trends and bring your work to the next level.
If you’re hesitant about the commitment and time sink to switch over, we’re here to help. We’ve taken a closer look at the big players, what makes them each worthwhile, and how to find the right program for you and your team.
The first truly dedicated UX program to get momentum, Sketch, came out in 2010 ahead of the game and is now almost the industry standard program for UI. Setting the standard for all the functions and conveniences expected of a UI program, Sketch retains among the best design-to-developer handoff capabilities. The program allows you to specify styling and spacing down to minute details, which is especially critical if your designers and developers aren’t always working in the same room together (or the same country!)
Still only available for Mac, Sketch is best used in tandem with InVision’s prototype platform to enable easy sharing and commenting between colleagues or clients. However, an InVision subscription means adding $25/mo per user to Sketch’s $70 annual per-user fee… With two other notable players coming from behind with major competitive resources, Sketch may need to act fast to incorporate an even wider feature-set to stay ahead.
You probably already use and pay for Adobe Creative Cloud ($50/mo), which is why Adobe’s XD program has immediate market appeal. Adobe XD only just came out of beta late in 2017, but the free beta version was very warmly received. It manages to be both lightweight and pack most of the punches Sketch does, with an extremely quick learning curve for anyone already familiar with Photoshop/Illustrator. And with native prototyping and commenting built-in (unlike Sketch), you can do everything in XD and forgo InVision.
Can Adobe make up for lost time to quash Sketch and continue its creative software reign? Time will tell, but backed by Adobe’s resources, it looks promising.
InVision, the dark horse of the group, is taking its repertoire to the next level after dominating the prototyping scene. Set to be released this January, the new InVision Studio software promises the same capabilities as Sketch and Adobe XD, and more. This is definitely a program to look out for in 2018!
Because the software is already packaged in Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe XD is our chosen front-runner. It makes such a difference to use dedicated software that you’ll save time even if you’re already mid-design on a project. How do we know? At Spark Growth, we already switched right at the frontlines of Adobe XD’s beta launch.
Though changing up a workflow can be daunting, the programs vying for UI supremacy enable efficiency and opportunity to make it worthwhile. Today, the bar for user experiences asks for virtual perfection, and data and analytics technology has risen to match the volume and speed necessary for implementation. A dedicated program is the only way for designers to keep pace.
Utilizing a properly outfitted UX program will enable your team to focus on problem solving, and creative execution that drives towards your business objectives and beyond. Once you take the plunge, you’ll wonder why you kept fighting with Photoshop’s interface for so long to do something it isn’t supposed to do—designing user interfaces.
Jennifer Yim is the Lead Designer at Spark Growth and is based out of Toronto. To learn more about how we can help enhance UX for your business, get in touch!