From the lands of Figma to the oceans of Sketch and everything in between (looking at you InVIsion Studio), it can be hard to decide which tool to use for the job at hand with such a wide selection of great tools and not-so-great tools available. With 5+ years of experience as an application developer, I’ve used most of the most popular ones (which I go into detail about below) to perform various tasks including application design, prototyping, logo creation, wireframing, and so on. But which one comes out on top?
Tools I’ve Tested
- InVIsion Studio
- Adobe XD
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. The list goes on and on for design/prototyping tools and with so many available on the market, existing designers and newbies alike are left trying to decipher which one fits their project best in order to save time and money.
However, there is a reason Figma, Sketch, and InVision Studio are mentioned in practically every comparison chart. These three tools have continued to dominate the market year over year as some of the best tools available today.
Pros and Cons
- Once dubbed the king in UI/UX design, Sketch is a design software that allows ideation and wireframing, prototyping, and developer handoff. This revolutionary tool allows you to go through the entire design process end to end. Before Sketch was introduced to the market, designers mainly used Adobe Photoshop.
- Sketch however does have its drawbacks with being only available for Mac OS users, making some designers unable to use the tool. There are also some limitations on sharing files and being known to crash when working with larger files.
- Figma, Sketch’s biggest competitor, is a cloud-based design tool that allows you and your team to work together on the same file in real-time, similar to a Google doc.
- You can use Figma to create logos, mobile/desktop apps, websites, images, and so forth, however, its biggest strength lies in its collaboration feature that allows teams to work simultaneously on a design from different machines easily. Since Figma is cloud-based, all your work is automatically saved and accessible by the rest of your team.
- One drawback to Figma is that you need to have an internet connection to use it. They do provide an offline mode but most of the features won’t be available. Another area Figma falls behind is in terms of animation.
- Similar to Figma and Sketch, InVision Studio is an all-in-one tool for designing, prototyping, and developer hand-off. Its main strength however lies in its prototyping abilities. Its animation and motion design features allow designers to create lifelike experiences without any coding.
- Another upside to this tool is its version history which keeps a record of your past screens so you can have a complete history of your design.
- The potential downside to InVision Studio is that the user interface can be a bit clunky and unresponsive at times, making it difficult to navigate. The ease of use is also not as high as some of the other tools mentioned so beginners may struggle a bit here. Additionally, while its features are great, there is still a lot of room for improvement regarding its integration with other tools.
- Adobe has long been known for its stamp on the design industry. From its array of tools in the Creative Cloud suite, it has been and still remains a true powerhouse for designers.
- Adobe launched Adobe XD in 2016 to try and compete in the UI/UX design market. It too is a design platform similar to the other ones mentioned above with its main selling point being its seamless integration with the rest of Adobe’s Creative Cloud software suite.
- The future of Adobe XD however is unknown since Adobe recently acquired Figma towards the end of 2022 for a whopping $20 billion. Before this acquisition, it was clear to see that XD was losing its steam in the market with both Sketch and Figma being more popular options.
Predictions for the Future
As technology continues to progress and new tools emerge, it’s hard to predict what the best prototyping tool of 2023 will be. We may see Figma continue to dominate the scene with its robust features, intuitive UI, and parent company behemoth Adobe funding the operation, or a new tool could come out of the woodwork and challenge the existing market. We will have to wait and see how this progresses as we move deeper into 2023 – but one thing is for sure, whichever tool emerges as the best prototyping tool of 2023, will need a strong focus on collaboration and team workflow. As designers continue to work more remotely and across different time zones, tools that facilitate real-time collaboration and seamless handoffs between designers and developers will become increasingly important.