You maybe have seen our post earlier this year about how Adobe Creative Cloud is losing out to new applications like InVision and Sketch. But several months later, the jury is still out on which is the best. But we have an answer for you: it depends. Having used all of these applications, DCDS has come up with the benefits and drawbacks of using Adobe, Sketch, and InVision.
From the Beginning
Adobe Creative Suite has been the industry standard since the software was rolled out in the 1980’s. It was originally used as image editing software but with the development of the web, most interface designers and developers used it for prototyping websites. But because it was made for editing images and photos, Adobe is not exactly built for handling the more complex interacts and designs one would see in websites from 2018. Sketch on the other hand started in 2008, but really picked up speed in 2012. Its original intention was to aid in UI/UX design and prototyping, therefore it gives the user more tools and features for web design that you wouldn’t get with Adobe, such as smaller files, easy translation to CSS, automatic vectors, built in grids, as well as being cheaper than Adobe. InVision is also a player in this game. InVision was originally used to enhance Sketch files and bring them to life through transitions and animations, which really give your clients a working prototype. In addition to this, in January 2018, InVision also release InVision Studio, which allows you to also physically design your file before adding animations, thereby more directly competing with Sketch and Adobe (though you can actually open a Sketch file in Studio, in case you didn’t know).
So has Adobe been left in the dust? Adobe released Adobe Experience Design (XD) in 2016, which many believe is a direct competitor of Sketch and InVision. The UI of Adobe XD is very different from that of PhotoShop and Illustrator and is more similar to Sketch. But it is important to note that while this application might be similar to Sketch, that’s simply because it is specifically designed for UX designers, unlike the other Adobe applications that are more suited for logo design, print design, graphic design, etc. It is safe to note that both applications have infinite canvases and layers and properties in sidebars to the left and right, but there are also a good number of differences between them.
Sketch vs. InVision vs. Adobe
So what does each application have going for them? Here is a short pros and cons list for Sketch, InVision, and Adobe:
- On the cheaper side- Sketch only $99 a year and if you don’t renew you still get to use the latest version you downloaded
- Creates smaller files
- Design rendering can easily be translated to CSS
- Has built in grids and an easy to use measuring tools
- All elements are vectors by default
- Autosaves your work
- Limited illustration abilities (usually need another application for this)
- Cloud sharing resolution isn’t good
- Doesn’t work on PCs
- Great for prototyping
- Studio allows you to design and add advanced transitions and animations to create a very interactive design
- Can save a prototype to InVision and send a link to colleagues and clients for them to see
- Allows other to make comments and draw on
- Is a bit expensive for the limited actions it has ($22 / month for the yearly plan)
- Limited customer support services
- Software can be a bit slow
- Not good to use for wireframe
- Application can be a bit complicated and there is a big learning curve
- Time and energy- It is likely that if you are in the web design industry you are already using Adobe, and it’s time-consuming to learn new software
- More uses- can do many actions with just Photoshop as opposed to paying for another software
- Works on PCs and helps you design for PCs
- New(ish) Adobe XD also works well for UX design
- Wasn’t originally intended for UI/UX design
- Have to pay on a subscription basis (ends up being more than Sketch)
- Hasn’t caught up to the maturity of Sketch and InVision tools and prototyping
- Harder to share with colleagues and clients
What Are They Best For?
While these applications have their pros and cons, it is also important to note that some are better for different parts of the design process. At DCDS, this is what application we recommend for each step of the designing a website:
- Wireframes- Sketch
- Image and Photo editing- Adobe Photoshop
- Website Design- Adobe Photoshop
- Prototyping (with animations)- InVision
What we want you to take away is that there is no “best” application to use when you are working on UI/UX design. Whether it’s Sketch, InVision, or Adobe, they all have the benefits and weak points, and the best decision you can make is to do your research and try them out. Different applications work better for different people so don’t be afraid to experiment and watch lots of YouTube tutorials before you pick the best one for you.