Figma vs Adobe XD – Top 5 Differences from a UX/UI Designer Perspective

With Adobe recently acquiring Figma, it seems like Figma may be the main player in the world of UX/ UI design. Having worked in Adobe XD for many years, I’ve recently made the switch to Figma. While there are a lot of similarities between the programs, here are my top five differences between the two:

1. Collaboration

If you are working on projects within a team, Figma offers a more collaborative approach to design. While with Adobe XD you are able to share files through the Creative Cloud, with Figma you are able to work on the same file at the same time, and see other users' activity in real time. This is extremely helpful to gather feedback and make sure everyone is on the same page. 

2. File Organization

My favourite feature that Figma has is Pages. Pages allows you to have multiple work spaces within the same file, this streamlines your design and allows for a more organized workflow. By using pages, you can easily swap between desktop designs, mobile designs, style guides, and any other design spaces you might want all within one file. This is also handy for playing around with ideas on a different page, rather than affecting the main design. To achieve this in Adobe XD, you would need separate files for all of your different designs, which can make sharing files with team members more complicated and prone to error.

Screen shot of the pages feature in figma

3. Responsiveness

While both Adobe XD and Figma offer features to make your design auto adjust to different screen sizes. I find Figma’s ability is more intuitive and easy to use. Both programs require a bit of a learning curve in order to take advantage of this capability, but overall Figma’s responsive tools are more user friendly.    

4. Artboards

When designing multiple views, your workspace is going to be full of Artboards. Figma and Adobe XD both have similar ways to create Artboards, however I find working with Figma’s to be a little trickier. With Adobe XD you can easily move elements around, and as long as a portion of the element is on the Artboard it will show up in the preview of your design. Whereas with Figma, even if the element is visually on the Artboard, in the design preview the element might not show up. This is because Figma doesn’t automatically add the element to the Artboard's layer even if it is on top of the Artboard. This can cause some confusion when you go to preview your design and it is missing certain elements.    

5. Community

The ease of entry makes Figma a considerably more accessible app, and in turn draws a large community base. With Adobe XD you need to have a Creative Suite license just to use the app, which limits the amount of casual users. Figma’s community has a lot to offer in terms of templates, plugins, tutorials, and custom user content. This makes Figma feel more approachable to beginners and very enticing to designers. 

Screen shot of the Figma community website

Coming from designing websites in Adobe XD, there is a bit of a learning curve to Figma. However, overall Figma offers many great features that improve your workflow and design capabilities. Moving forward I can’t say I’d go back to working in XD any time soon.

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