When it comes to UI/UX design, Figma, Adobe XD, and Zeplin stand out as three of the most notable tools. The question is: which one of them is the best? To better find out the answer, let’s take a look at each options’ features – and make comparisons wherever possible.
What is Figma?
Figma was created as the first UI design tool that allows collaboration between team members in 2016. As it operates directly in the browser, Figma is a widely popular choice among designers. No need to install specific software to use it – instead, any person can view/adjust the project’s design from any computer.
- Web-based app.
- Intuitive interface.
- Compatible with Mac and Windows.
- Event-based prototypes.
- Prototyping, design files, and comments all in one place.
What is Adobe XD?
Developed as a vector-based tool by Adobe Inc, Adobe XD is specifically created for the purpose of prototyping and UX design. It helps address problems that previously could not be solved by other Adobe products such as Photoshop and Illustrator.
Instead of spending time designing screens in Photoshop/Illustrator and creating PDF presentations, now you are able to generate interactive prototypes with XD – thereby saving a lot of valuable time.
- Interactive Prototypes
- Reusable elements/components
- Repeat Grid
- Import Adobe files
Adobe XD’s app is available for both desktop and mobile devices.
What is Zeplin?
Zeplin is a tool created for the collaboration between UI designers and front-end developers. Unlike the two options above, it is not an independent design tool itself – users have to import designs from programs such as Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma, Photoshop, etc. to Zeplin. Thanks to its integration with Slack, Sketch, and Adobe XD, Zeplin provides a great way for your design and development teams to stay connected.
With Zeplin, it becomes possible to share designs from team to team – and make seamless adjustments without having to rely on back-and-forth Slack messages/emails for clarification.
- Compatible with many devices
Design Tool Comparison: Figma vs Adobe XD vs Zeplin
Now that we’ve learned the basics of the three softwares, which one should we stick to? Let’s explore the differences in more detail.
|Platform||Browser-based app||Desktop and mobile app||Tool-based app|
|Operating system||MacOS, Windows, Linux||MacOS, Windows, Android, iOS||Windows, macOS|
|Collaboration||Real-time collaboration||Real-time collaboration synced to the cloud||Organizing features|
|Share||Interactive prototypes||Interactive prototypes||Static designs|
|Plugins||Growing library||Growing library||Growing library|
1. Platform & operating system
When it comes to operating systems, Figma is basically cloud-based, even though there are apps available for Windows and MAC.
For Adobe XD, it is a desktop app that works by syncing with Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
Zeplin, on the other hand, is not a standalone design tool. Rather, users have to rely on other tools such as Figma and Sketch – in order to import data into Zeplin. The app itself is not a web tool; however, it is capable of running on both Windows and macOS. A web version is available – mostly for developers.
Figma is a typical example of a collaborative app for larger projects. Anyone – including the dev team, design team, and customers – are able to make real-time edits (all are recorded then) and leave comments/feedback. All of these are achievable without the need to download any specific software. As a result, it eliminates the risk of miscommunication and creates opportunities for scaling.
Adobe XD features a Coediting tool for members to save information in the cloud, and to invite others to make real-time edits together. Edits can be made across Windows and Mac computers – all in all, it’s a good option if you care about flexibility, but not as great as Figma.
Zeplin falls behind in terms of collaboration. In Zeplin, only the assets are shared; hence, members will have difficulty collaborating with each other.
Adobe XD offers both native and third-party plugins. While Adobe has offered plugin integration for longer than Figma, its library of options is significantly smaller. If there’s a particular plugin you can’t live without, this could dictate your choice of design software.
With both Figma and Adobe XD, plugins are built directly into the app. This means you don’t have to search for and download a plugin from the web in order to use it.
Figma uses vector networks; as a result, users are able to connect multiple lines to a single point. This allows teams to speed up the production of vector drawings.
Adobe XD utilizes vector paths, which restrict you to a sequence of connected points (nodes).
Figma and Zeplin both come with a free version. For the former, 3 Figma and 3 Figjam files are provided with the free version – in addition, there’s no limit to the number of personal files and co-editors. For the latter, only 1 project is free, and a total of 6 members are allowed to work on the same one.
If you are willing to spend, Figma offers a Professional package ($12-15 per editor/month) and an Enterprise one ($45 per editor/month). With Zeplin, you can either choose the Team solution ($6/seat/month), the Organization one ($12/seat/month, min 12 editors) or the custom-pricing Enterprise package.
Adobe XD does not have a free plan – instead, you are allowed to experience a free 7-day trial. After that, the monthly fee is $9.99.
Which design tool should I pick?
If you are dealing with a large project that involves lots of teams (and the client is likely to give continuous feedback), we suggest sticking to Figma. For those who are already familiar with Adobe interface and would like to get on board quickly, Adobe XD is certainly not a shabby option to jump the curve.
In case pricing is a factor to be concerned about, we suggest choosing Figma’s free version for smaller projects that don’t involve a lot of complicated tasks – so that you can cut costs while still being able to include many members in the process.
Zeplin might not look appealing – however, its benefit lies in its specialization (i.e: the ability to design handoffs perfectly and organize projects into separate nodes clearly). In that case, don’t be shy to take advantage of Zeplin – alongside other standalone design tools.
Are there any other options?
Figma, Adobe XD, and Zeplin are not the only tools available for UI/UX design. InVision Studio is another great choice that can ensure the most optimal workflow and collaboration. Other picks for you to consider include Balsamiq, Marvel, Maze, Azure, and so on.
We hope that our quick analysis above should give you an idea of the best design tools to implement for your business/project. In case you are looking for a software development agency to help with your web/app’s UI/UX design, don’t hesitate to reach out to JSLancer – our team will be more than happy to provide a FREE consultation on how we can help you visualize your goals.