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Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD for web design in 2024

Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD for web design is a strategic choice, integral to the success of your design process. Choose wisely!

14 December, 2023
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Let’s get straight to the point. Choosing the right tool for web design is essential for the success of your project. The tool you select should align with your budget, skill level, specific requirements, and the flexibility and versatility required for your project​​​​.

The right web design tool should not only help you create a visually appealing and functional website but also enhance efficiency, ensure consistency, and provide cost-effectiveness while being accessible and user-friendly.

If you’re here, then you probably found yourself in need of the right tool. Merge would like to come in clutch and offer you this Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD guide as a solid starting point. As one of the successful web design companies, USA and Europe-based, our experience with these tools will prove quite useful. So, enjoy!

Figma

Figma is a cloud-based design and prototyping tool that not only caters to professional designers but is also accessible to beginners. It is a web-based design tool, making it an excellent option for Windows users.

Figma's diverse capabilities span from creating simple graphic designs, including logos, social media posts, and complete websites, to more complex tasks like developing website wireframes and UI prototypes. 

A unique feature of the Figma design system is its community-driven aspect, where users can access many templates, widgets, and plugins, enhancing the creative process and offering fresh inspiration.

Figma operates on two primary fronts: Figma design vs FigJam. Figma design is where the detailed, responsive, and interactive designs come to life, whereas FigJam serves as an online whiteboard, ideal for brainstorming, planning, and collaborative meetings. Both platforms offer different environments and tools matched to the specific needs of the design process.

Pros and cons of Figma

Here's a breakdown of Figma’s pros and cons. First, you can expect the following benefits:

  1. Real-time collaboration. This feature helps multiple users to work simultaneously on the same project.
  2. Robust design tools for WordPress sites. Figma seamlessly converts designs into code, and web developers can directly extract CSS and design assets from Figma files.
  3. Ease of file sharing. Sharing files with clients or team members is straightforward and quick.
  4. Comprehensive prototyping capabilities. Figma supports the development of web prototypes with all necessary tools integrated into the software.
  5. Cloud-based tool. Figma allows access to files from any computer connected to the internet, providing flexibility and convenience.
  6. Extensive range of plugins. Figma offers a wide array of plugins like Unsplash, Iconify, and Content Reel, which enhance the functionality and creativity of design projects.
  7. Figma mirror feature. This feature enables designers to review and analyze their work with continuous improvement and client feedback incorporation.
  8. Versatile selection methods. Figma website design has multiple methods to measure and maintain the spacing between elements in design prototypes.

Now, the downsides of using Figma:

  1. You need an active internet connection. Figma requires a constant internet connection to work, which can be limiting in certain situations.
  2. Lack of global colors. The absence of global colors in Figma can make customization more challenging and less flexible.
  3. Limited search options with local components. Figma’s search functionalities can be limiting for freelancers or those not using team features.
  4. System requirements. Figma app demands a system with at least 4GB of RAM and a high-quality Graphics Card. This leads us to the Figma competitors.
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Sketch

Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD comparison, part 2. Mac edition. Sketch has solidified its position as a long-standing favorite among UX/UI designers, especially for those working in the Mac ecosystem. 

Key to Sketch's appeal is its powerful vector editing capabilities, which allow for precision and control at the foundational level of design. Its intuitive prototyping feature turns ideas into testable formats, fostering a more dynamic design process. 

What sets Sketch apart is its adaptability to various workflows, whether you're working solo or as part of a team. Its offline and local file support is particularly beneficial for those who prefer or need to work without a constant internet connection. 

The value proposition UX of Sketch also lies in its emphasis on efficiency and user-friendly interfaces, enhancing the design and prototyping phases. A significant advantage of Sketch is its optimization for Apple Silicon, ensuring super-fast performance for Mac users. Its customizable toolbars and shortcuts cater to individual preferences, enhancing the overall user experience.

Pros and cons of Sketch

Based on recent reviews and analysis, Sketch has a mix of the following pros and cons. Pros:

  1. Intuitive interface. Its simplicity and ease of use are particularly appealing to beginners.
  2. Integration with other tools. Sketch works well with many external apps and plugins like Zeplin, enhancing its functionality.
  3. Extensive plugin support. Over 1000 plugins are available, aiding in both simple and complex design tasks.
  4. Efficient for prototyping. The application is highly effective for creating prototypes and wireframes.
  5. Affordability. Compared to other tools, Sketch is more affordable and takes up less disk space.
  6. High-precision tools. It provides tools for high-precision design, such as grids, smart guides, and customizable background blur​​​​​​.

Cons:

  1. Mac-only compatibility. One of the biggest limitations of Sketch is that it's only available for Mac users.
  2. Performance issues with complex designs. The application can become slow and consume significant memory when handling intricate designs or large numbers of artboards.
  3. Limited community and support. Sketch’s community is not as large compared to some of its competitors, which might be a challenge when seeking help or tutorials.
  4. Limited print design features. While Sketch is excellent for screen designs, it lacks some capabilities for print design.
  5. No web version. The lack of a web version can be a limitation for those who prefer or need cloud-based tools.
  6. Lacks advanced image editing. Sketch’s image editing capabilities are not as advanced as some other tools like Photoshop.
  7. One device per license. This is a drawback for users who work across multiple devices​​​​​​.

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Adobe XD

Adobe XD, developed by Adobe Inc., is essentially a vector design tool. One of its standout features is its ability to create user interfaces for both mobile and web apps. For instance, it has a repeat grid function that's super useful for creating lists or photo galleries. 

Then there's the prototype and animation aspect. Adobe XD allows you to link artboards and create animated prototypes. This is crucial when you need to give a client or your team a feel of how the final product will function. 

Adobe XD plays exceptionally well with others. You can open files from Illustrator, Photoshop, Sketch, and After Effects in XD. This interoperability is key in a workflow where you might pull assets or ideas from different sources. Plus, it integrates with other tools and services like Slack and Microsoft Teams, which is essential for collaborative projects.

For those worried about the technicalities, Adobe XD is available on Windows and macOS, and there are versions for iOS and Android that let you preview your designs directly on mobile devices. It also supports responsive resize, automatically adjusting content for different screen sizes, which is crucial in today's world, where your design needs to look good on any device.

Pros and cons of Adobe XD

Adobe XD excels in collaboration and integration with other Adobe products. Here's a more detailed breakdown of its pros and cons. First, the nice things:

  1. Ease of use. Adobe XD is known for its easy and flexible wireframing, making it an accessible tool for beginners. Its user interface is clean and intuitive, perfect for prototyping and UI/UX designs.
  2. Integration with Adobe Creative Suite. For those already familiar with Adobe's ecosystem, XD integrates well with other Adobe software, allowing for seamless asset creation and usage. 
  3. Real-time collaboration. Like Figma, Adobe XD heavily supports collaborative work, making it easier for teams to work together on projects. 
  4. Cloud storage. The cloud storage integration in Adobe XD is a great advantage, allowing users to store and share design files with their team, regardless of location.

The not-so-nice includes:

  1. Limited prototyping on mobile devices. One notable drawback is the inability to test a mobile prototype on an actual mobile device, which might affect the user experience for some designers.
  2. Lack of advanced animation features. Adobe XD has no built-in animation timeline, limiting the scope of creating complex animations without external plugins.
  3. Plugin dependency. Some functionalities in Adobe XD rely on third-party plugins, which may not always be free, adding to the overall cost and potentially complicating the workflow for beginners.
  4. User interface limitations. While the user interface is generally user-friendly, some users feel that it lacks in comparison to other tools like Sketch. 

Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD: a comparative analysis

When it comes to choosing between Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD for your UI/UX design projects, it really boils down to the specific features and functionalities you need. 

If you’ve skipped all the previous chapters about each tool separately, we’ve got you covered. 

Here’s a summary of each, followed by some practical advice from our Merge team on which one will suit better for your needs. And a cherry on top - a table comparing the best features at the end.

Figma is a versatile, browser-based design tool ideal for collaborative teams, offering extensive prototyping capabilities and an impressive range of templates and plugins​​​​.

Sketch stands out with its vector editing and pixel-perfect design, suitable for detailed UI/UX work, but it's limited to macOS and lacks advanced collaboration features​​​​.

Adobe XD offers advanced prototyping tools and seamless integration with other Adobe products, making it a strong choice for users already embedded in the Adobe ecosystem​​​​.

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Practical advice on which tool to choose

In terms of practical advice:

  • If you're working in a collaborative team, especially in a remote setting, and need real-time feedback and cloud-based file management, Figma would be the go-to choice.
  • If you're already invested in the Adobe ecosystem and need advanced prototyping features with seamless integration with other Adobe apps, Adobe XD is your tool.
  • For pixel-perfect design work, especially if you're working solo or in a small team and don’t need extensive collaboration tools, Sketch might be more suitable. However, keep in mind that it's limited to macOS.

As promised, here's a table comparing Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD across various features like UI/UX design capabilities, prototyping, resource libraries, file management, and collaboration tools:

Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD features comparison
Figma vs Sketch vs Adobe XD features comparison

Conclusion

In conclusion, choosing between Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD for web design hinges on matching the tool to your project's specific needs, team setup, and personal workflow preferences.

Remember, there’s no universal solution. Each tool offers unique features, and it’s worth exploring them in the context of your specific project needs. The decision is a strategic one, integral to the success of your design process. Choose wisely, and be open to adapting as your needs evolve.

P.S. Stay tuned for the next useful piece in our Merge blog - what are the current trends in website design.

author

CEO and Founder of Merge

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

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