A UX designer requires multiple tools to complete several stages of the UX workflow, right from designing to prototyping and handoff. If you work with a PC, you would probably have got irritated till now by the constant mention of Sketch.
Not to mention that, if you are a UX designer, you would already be quite acquainted with Sketch, a popular and streamlined vector graphics editor with countless useful plugins. In a very short span of time, it has become an industry-standard but, here comes its limitation that- it is only available on Mac OS. Which means, unless you have an Apple device, you are left out. But Adobe is actively working on a proper cross-platform and competing with Sketch (and a lookalike), known as- Adobe XD.
What is Adobe XD?
Adobe Experience Design CC, also called Adobe XD, is a lightweight vector graphics-editor and prototype tool. It was launched for preview in March 2016 as part of ‘Creative Cloud’, and these days it’s in beta-phase, receiving updates almost every month.
Earlier, Adobe had been adding features for UX designers on great tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator. Over the years, and especially after 2013, Adobe Fireworks (the classic web-oriented prototype tool derived from Macromedia)- most of the UX designers felt that Creative Cloud could not match market expectations. So, they approached to Sketch.
Although, Adobe’s response to this mass migration was a bit late (Bohemian coding launched Sketch about 6 years back). But it’s worth the wait, especially if you’re limited to use less-adequate equipment on your PC.
Let’s have a fair discussion to make a comparison between Adobe XD and Sketch-
User Interface and Exclusive Features
When you open Adobe XD for the first time, you get an impression of familiarity with the interface, whether you are a sketch user or a long-time Adobe fan.
As expected, Adobe departed from Creative Cloud’s dark buttons and menus and offered the best of two worlds. Now, you will see a set of tools on the left side of the screen on Adobe, but also, you’ll see the similar pattern in the form of long layers panel and dynamic properties on the right as in Sketch. It is quite simple to learn and easier to use (without much effort), no matter which device you used before.
Here we are talking about Adobe XD and UX Sketch. Both tools are work towards the same objective, but they are different. How different and which is more preferred? The below image attempts to throw more light into it.
Unlike Sketch, you won’t require any third-party plugins to create an interactive prototype in Adobe XD. Adobe Prototype Editor allows designers to connect interactive screens to other screens visually, using wires and transitions.
Once the interactive prototype is ready, you can publish and share it, which you can view with the web or Adobe XD mobile apps. XD Prototyping, however, does not provide support for fixed classes yet such as gestures or headers, like Sketch does with ‘InVision’ and its other prototype-only tools.
According to August 2017 report, Adobe added the Assets panel to bring together an interactive style guide having a complete pack of colours, character styles and symbols. Whenever something changes in the assets panel, every use of it in your artwork follow the change. Sketch contains character styles, colour variables and symbols, but all of them are limited to their own panel.
Adobe announced the extending of features in the Assets, the features which will allow the designers to publish the project’s style guide with downloadable fonts, assets & colours hexadecimal code as well as interactive prototypes. There are assumptions for an inspection feature in future to support the developer’s survey of elements inside the prototype which is called “handoff for developers”. This feature was already available in in Sketch (and Photoshop) using plugins such as Zepplin. Another feature being teased in the future is the real-time collaboration within XD, which resembles the collaboration feature of Google Docs and is already available on other UX design tools such as Figma.
Adobe XD is the first and foremost choice for Windows users and Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers. Many UX designers are already migrating to XD, either because they believe in XD’s potential that it will set the next standard or they are Creative Cloud subscribers even on macOS. If you are an experienced Sketch user, you will enjoy overall better interface, unique XD features, but also have to deal with current limitations and lack of plugin support. In any case, you should try it out and share your views with us!