It has always been crucial for UI/UX designers to find a single tool that would handle wireframing, prototyping, mockuping, developing, and ultimately creating complete high-fidelity designs. Thankfully, after the release of Figma and the beta release of Adobe XD in 2016, things started looking good. This shifted the traditional process of paper wireframing and mapping for approval, moving to create interactive prototypes in InVision or Zeplin, and then finalizing the designs in Photoshop or Illustrator. Now we have Figma and Adobe XD to cover all of this. However, the big question remains: which one is the better tool? And this is exactly what we’re going to review today. In this article, I’ll make a comparative Figma vs Adobe XD review, based on factors such as pricing, performance, collaboration, functionalities, and everything else that could help you make a decision.
As usual, the purpose of this review isn’t to announce a winner. It’s an objective comparison between the two tools so you could easily discover which one suits your specific needs, workflow, budget, and preferences.
For convenience, the review is separated into 3 parts. In the first part, you will see the quick summaries of Figma and Adobe XD. The second part is the actual comparison between the two tools based on 9 factors. In the last part, you will see the summary of the pros and cons.
Figma VS Adobe XD: Overview
- What is Figma and What is Adobe XD? (Part 1)
- Comparison (Part 2)
- Should You Learn Figma or Adobe XD? (Part 3)
Part 1: Quick Summaries of Figma and Adobe XD
Two excellent designing tools meant to keep design, prototyping, and collaboration in one place. In order to decide which one better suits your needs, better start from the beginning.
Figma Quick Summary
Figma is an extremely fast intuitive cloud-based tool ideal for collaboration with multiple teams. It helps users to create dynamic designs easily with the use of Autolayout which is great when you need to add new layers or maintain alignment as your designs evolve. In addition, the Smart Animate grants the ability to create complex animations.
- Platforms: Browser-based
- Language Support: English
- Features: FIGJAM whiteboard, Component states variants, Auto layout, Smart Animate, Real-time collab, Sharable prototype links
- Imports: Sketch
- Device Preview: iOS, Android
- Plugins: Yes
- App Integrations: Yes
Video by Figma
One of the most favorite features amongst UI/UX designers is the online whiteboard FIGJAM for brainstorming, online presentations, creating diagrams, sitemaps, and team collab.
- Figma depends entirely on an internet connection, so you can’t use it offline.
- The tool doesn’t have global colors in its module, which can make it difficult to customize a file.
- Figma runs only a RAM system above 4GB with a high-quality graphics card.
Adobe XD Quick Summary
Adobe XD is a vector-based tool from the Adobe Cloud which gives it a huge advantage. As a part of the Cloud, Adobe XD works with files from Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects, while the subscription gives you access to Adobe Fonts and Adobe Stock from the same account. The tool works both offline and online for further flexibility. It also integrates with Slack and Microsoft Teams.
- Platforms: macOS, Windows (offline work available)
- Language Support: English, German, French, Spanish. Portuguese, Brazilian. Japanese, Korean, Chinese
- Features: Component states, Repeat grid, 3D transforms, Content-aware layout, Responsive resize, Auto-animate, Video and Lottie playback, Voice prototyping, Real-time collab, Sharable prototype links
- Imports: Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Adobe Fonts, Sketch
- Device Preview: iOS, Android, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
- Plugins: Yes
- App Integrations: Yes
Video by Adobe
Amongst the features that make Adobe XD a popular tool amongst UX designers is the Auto-Animate tool for front-end design. It’s very easy to use for adding motion effects and interaction without coding or using multiple tools.
Adobe XD Disadvantages:
- No real-time collaboration
- The mobile preview feature doesn’t support Android
Part 2: Comparing Figma VS Adobe XD
In the next part, I’ll compare Figma vs Adobe XD based on the following factors:
- Platforms and Availability 🖥️
- Pricing 💸
- Learning Curve 📚
- Design Tools 🎨
- Animation Tools 🎥
- Prototyping 🔧
- Live Collaboration 🤝
- Hand-Off 📦
- Plugins and Extensions ➕
🖥️ Platforms and Availability
Figma is a browser-based tool, which means you can run it on any operating system of your choice. This includes macOS, Windows, Chrome OS, and Linux. In addition, there’s a beta version of a Figma desktop app for macOS (Sierra or later) and Windows (Win 8 or later, 64-bit) with the same features you will find in the browser version.
There’s also an option for mobile devices if you feel like installing additional apps. Figma Mirror allows you to view your designs from the Figma desktop app live across all of your devices running iOS and Android. However, you will only access the View Only version of your files.
- Figma is a cloud-based app with a desktop beta version app for Windows and Mac.
Adobe XD is a desktop app for macOS and Windows part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. It works offline which means you don’t need to constantly rely on an internet connection. For the moment XD doesn’t support the viewing of shared design specs on Win 7 and Win 8 as well as on mobile browsers.
Same as Figma, Adobe XD offers a mobile app to preview prototypes on your devices running on iOS and Android. Again same as Figma, you can only preview your files and leave the editing part for when you have access to your desktop.
- Adobe XD is a desktop app for macOS and Windows. synced with Adobe Creative Cloud.
Figma offers three payment options. The Free Starter tier is forever free to use and includes 3 Figma and 3 FIGJAM files alongside unlimited personal files and unlimited collaborators for one team project.
For the Professional tier with unlimited projects and all the perks, the cost gets $12 per editor monthly if billed annually or $15 on a month-to-month basis.
Adobe XD doesn’t have a free tier in the general sense, as it comes with 20+ other Adobe programs (including Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects) if you decide to subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud for $52.99 per month. Your Cloud account will be available for two devices at the same time.
If you want a stand-alone Adobe XD, however, you can do that for $9.99 per month with 7 days Free Trial.
📚 Learning Curve and User Interface
Both Figma and Adobe XD have very similar and intuitive UI which makes them easy to learn. It’s even easier if you decide to make a transition from one of the tools to the other.
There are a lot of learning materials for both tools such as short written lessons and exercises for Figma and step-by-step guides and video tutorials for Adobe XD.
You can find the official 12 lessons by Figma to get you started and proceed with the collection of exercises to quickly solidify your knowledge.
In order to get started with Adobe XD, you can choose between 4 categories from the official Adobe XD step-by-step-guide.
🎨 Design Tools
Both programs offer intuitive design tools, starting from the standard set: line, rectangle, oval, polygon, pen tool, and text box. Since they have a similar implementation, you can control corner radius, change color, adjust object position, apply shadows in the same manner.
Another thing both tools have is the ability to create your own design system. This is a great advantage on both sides as UI/UX designers can save time and keep consistency.
It’s important to note that Figma uses vector networks. This means you can connect multiple lines to a single point. In Adobe XD you can use a sequence of nodes.
Figma also supported animated GIFs and enables them to go live in presentation mode.
Here’s where we should mention Figma’s biggest advantage over XD for this category: Auto Layout. This property lets you create designs that grow to fit or shrink-to-fit as content changes.
In order to understand how powerful this feature is, you could watch the following video on how to create an Auto layout button.
🎥 Animation Tools
Figma and Adobe XD have their own solutions when it comes to animations and transitions. Let’s have a look at each.
Figma Smart Animate seeks matching layers, recognizes the difference, and animates layers between frames in a prototype. With this feature, you can create loading sequences, parallax scrolling, touch gestures, expanding content, sliders, toggles, switches, and other advanced UX animations.
Adobe XD Auto-Animate, on the other hand, completely skips the learning curve and lets you create advanced animations with a single click. All you need to do is drag the wires to connect the artboards and let the AI do the rest. With this feature, you can also combine with component states and add beautiful hover, toggle, scroll, swipe, pull-to-refresh, and other animated interactions. Not to mention engaging animated icons, stunning effects, and simulating the drag experience of touch-enabled devices. Adobe XD definitely takes this round with the round.
Figma offers a set of tools for tapping, dragging, hover triggers, and transitions. It comes with shareable prototype features and embedded comments. On the downside, you can’t link pages and do transitions as seamlessly.
Adobe XD, on the other hand, lets you link one page to another with plenty of animation templates, as well as multiple artboards in a single project to give your prototype a realistic sense of the final product in its final stages. You’ll know exactly the elements that will react to the different events, without a writing single line of code. This is great for bigger projects with a large number of pages.
On the downside, viewing the prototyping live of smartphones on real devices works only with macOS.
🤝 Live Collaboration
Both Figma and Adobe XD offer a solution similarly: create a project, invite your team, go wild working on the project. They both require Figma or Creative Cloud accounts respectively. So what’s the difference?
In XD, if two people work on the same project file at the same time, every time one of the users saves their file, the other will have to sync. This might cause some of the progress to be lost. With Figma, you are always in sync with the other users and you can see what they’re doing in real-time.
Figma’s advantage in this category is FIGJAM. This collaborative whiteboard for brainstorming, planning, and everything else solves the need to use other tools for brainstorming.
When it comes to passing your final files to the developers, both tools got your back. In Figma, you invite the coders as Viewers with a single link. This way, they will be able to explore your work, leave comments, and export assets.
Adobe XD has a Development share option. It allows you to make specific design files and assets for export so the developers can download them.
➕ Plugins and Extensions
Both tools benefit from great communities that will support you with countless plugins and resources that will improve your workflow and enhance the functionality of your projects.
Figma has had its own plugin library since 2019 and since then the community build thousands of design systems, and custom plugins and widgets not only for Figma itself but also for FIGJAM.
Adobe XD offers a full arsenal of free and paid UI kits from both native and third-party developers. It enables deep integrations with external tools to improve the workflow of UI/UX designers.
For both tools, the extensions are built directly into the app.
Part 3: Should You Learn Figma or Adobe XD?
Time for the final verdict. Based on the comparison review, let’s summarize what we’ve learned so far, so you could make a decision easily.
Let’s start with Figma.
✔️ You Should Learn Figma if:
- You need to access it from everywhere on your browser: Figma is a cloud-based AIO solution for UI/UX design and prototyping built for the browser so it can be accessed on all major OS.
- You need real-time collaboration with a big team: It’s built specifically for collaboration so you can edit your projects in real-time, see current changes, embed comments and feedback directly in the design. Figma shares live-embed code snippets
- You need permission-based sharing of files.: In addition, there are bug-tracking tools and community software for developers to share exactly what is needed.
- It has Auto-Layout for dynamic designs and easy-to-use constraints.
- FIGJAM creative space for brainstorming, team collab, user flows, and mapping.
Light button – Figma Animation by Yup Nguyen
Now let’s move to Adobe XD.
✔️ You Should Learn Adobe XD if:
- You already have Creative Cloud.
- You need to use it offline on the desktop.
- It Supports website wireframing.
- Great prototyping ability for interactive components. Superior Auto-animate feature.
- It has Repeat Grid feature
- Anima plugin support for exporting CSS within Anima
- It has Voice audio recording
As you can see, it’s almost impossible to make a concrete conclusion on which design tool is better than the other. Both Figma and Adobe XD are splendid AIO solutions that will help you design, wireframe, prototype, share, and export without the need for additional tools.
However, in order to make a decision on which tool is better for you, think about the specific of your workflow and your priorities. Do you need to use your tool in a browser or do you need it to have an offline option? What about UX animations and interactions? How many people do you work with on the same project? I hope this Figma VS Adobe XD comparison review helped you to sort it out.
In the meantime, why not have a look at some more inspirational and insightful articles on the topic of UI/UX design: