When designing digital products such as websites and apps. there are many apps to choose from. Which one is right for you? In this article we’ll talk about Adobe XD, Sketch, Figma, and Adobe Photoshop.
XD is the newest of these apps, and Adobe is putting a lot of effort into developing it quickly. Updates are released every 1–2 months, and XD has come a long way since the first beta versions.
XD aims to be the all-in-one solution for UX/UI design from wireframes to visual design, visual prototyping, voice prototyping, animation, and more. Despite XD being a relatively young app, it has some features (such as voice prototyping and repeat grid) that are not found in its competitors. While it is more advanced in some ways, it does lack some essential features. For example, there is no color management so on Display P3 monitors (like iMacs and Mac laptops use) the colors are not accurate, you can’t add multiple fills/strokes, and text styles are merely a find/change for formatting, just to name a few. Not having true styles severely limits their use because you’ll accidentally change things you didn’t intend to. There are no graphic/object styles, and exporting features are poorly implemented. Keep in mind that each app in this list has pros and cons, so none of them are perfect (Sketch and Figma also have their own set of limitations with styles for example).
Because XD came later to the game, it can open up Sketch, Photoshop, and Illustrator files and convert them into fully editable XD files. This makes it easier to switch to XD from those other apps. Being an Adobe app, it also integrates better, allowing you to edit photos in Photoshop and send an XD file to After Effects (if you need something beyond the animations you can create within XD).
XD has gained enough features that designers and companies are now starting to use it. Especially on small projects, some of the missing/poorly implemented features won't be much of an issue. However on larger projects, those limitations might become a bigger issue. Adobe has been rapidly fixing things and adding features, so we’re seeing more and more people choosing Adobe XD.
Overall XD is quick and easy to use. We like the integrated design approach Adobe is going for, and we look forward to seeing XD continue to improve. It’s especially strong in UX design, prototyping, and animation when compared to the other apps.
You can use XD for free to see if you like it. The free version of XD gives you the full app, but with some limitations such as only one shared link (for prototypes and design specs) and no ability to save local files. If you need any of the premium features (such as multiple shared links or the ability to work with local files), you can get XD for $9.99/month (USD) or XD with all the CC apps for $52.99 (USD).
Learn more in our Adobe XD classes.