Photoshop was deemed to be the standard tool for web design and app design for many years. Designers would work in Adobe on the whole, although you might occasionally see the odd file sent over as a PSD file or an illustrator file. Things have started to change in the last few years though, and there has been a shift away from Photoshop towards some other exciting and fruitful applications. Photoshop isn’t dead, but designers do have a much greater range of choice than they’ve ever had before, and things will only continue to get better in this regard.
It shouldn’t be looked upon as a bad thing either. Any good website designer knows that there are different challenges to face with each client, and if they have the means to utilise a different approach when required, this will only help to improve the final product.
Let’s have a look at some of the different options out there for designers and how it makes the world a better place for you guys, the customer. With so much choice and competition driving improvements, customers are seeing better design results than ever before.
Sketch was released back in 2010 and has slowly been taken in by the design community. It was first designed as a direct replacement for Illustrator and Photoshop and has become known for its simple interface that is great for the user. The idea was to strip out all of the extra functionality that you saw with Photoshop and to increase speed of design, its sole purpose being for web and app interface design. It also has additional tools that makes it easy for web developers to use and allows for exporting of styles and assets straight from the design. The problem that Sketch has is that it is Mac-only, and this isn’t going to change. Designers can use Sketch and work effectively with third-party developers such as Zeplin and Avocode though, to gain great results, but it is losing market share to Figma and XD with their superior prototyping.
Vector-based – There are a few benefits to Sketch. Everything is vector-based, meaning that your artwork can be any size and it won’t lose quality. In Photoshop, as a direct example, if you create a small icon and then scale up, it can look hideous. You never have this problem with Sketch.
Export at various resolutions – There is no need to create a 1x and 2x version of a website, as with Photoshop. The design is drawn once, and then can be exported into as many resolutions as is needed per project. You can work out the required dimensions at a later date without compromising quality. Sketch is also has an excellent SVG export function, which was not available through Photoshop when Sketch first launched a decade ago.
Multiple pages and style – Pages allows for better organisation of your work, allowing you to be as responsive as possible during any design project. On top of that there are responsive text styles that help you repeat styles within your software and use it in multiple places.
Speed up the workflow – The act of sharing your work in Sketch is simple. When you add this process to how easy it is to export to SVG and the simple CSS attributes, and you’ll see how much smoother and faster your work processes become.
The start-up Figma raised millions from investors in Silicon Valley right out the gate. It helped to build an effective browser-based photo editing tool that has become an incredibly popular tool for designers in recent years. Instead of being reliant on a compatible OS, as some other software such as Photoshop, Sketch or XD are, Figma can be used in a browser without the need of a desktop application. The cloud-based design tool has changed the game in many ways, making it a great tool for collaboration in the modern design world and simplifying design processes. Figma is now the leader in the field due to its cross-platform apps in Windows, Mac and Linux.
Multi-platform compatibility – Any operating system that runs a web browser is compatible with Figma. There is no other design tool that operates in this way, making Figma a unique proposition and a great tool for modern web designers. Whatever system you are using, you can open, edit, and share Figma files.
Improves collaboration – In simple terms this improves collaboration straight away. It can often be a drag to a project if there are different operating systems in play, making it difficult to convert files into different formats. Sharing in Figma is as simple as in Google Docs, you can see who is editing, where and when with real-time collaboration.
Slack communication – When you are designing live and sharing files, it is vital that communication is clean and clear. Figma uses Slack as a communication channel, meaning that any comments or design edits are shared in the right Figma channel to the rest of the team.
Better feedback quality – In-app commenting for both the design and the prototyping modes allows for greater feedback quality for all designs within Figma. You don’t need to publish PNG files or keep updating things to get the next set of feedback. Real-time feedback and comments allow for fast resolution of problems and effective project movement.
Launched in 2016, Adobe XD was a response to the success of Sketch. It is a desktop application and has a version on both Windows and Mac and it also allows designers to collaborate between the two (although there were some variations in both versions which makes collaboration not as straightforward as it should be). The prototyping function within XD was superior to others, but it has since been caught up by Figma. With updates and the inclusion or layers management tools, XD became a much easier tool to use.
Perfect for designers – Multiple pages are found in one file, encouraging a consistency or design, and simple edit processes. You’ve got access to a live preview, file storage and use on multiple devices and operating systems. It is a much faster process to design than Photoshop.
Smooth web development – XD allows for smooth note taking and inspection with multiple pages in one design file. Smart guides and grids increase efficiency and exporting is really simple, including the exporting of multiple sizes at the same time without compromising quality of resolution.
Maintain clear project guidelines – You can provide the client with a good idea of what the user experience will be like with prototypes instead of static designs. If you are in a meeting with multiple contacts from the same client, you can allow multiple views at the same time, with comments visible. Wireframing and content map kits are a simple and effective addition.
Web Design in Liverpool and Manchester
Photoshop was the standard for so many years when it came to design and web design, but times change and with the improvement in tech and ever-changing trends, there are now a few different alternatives that offer a fantastic toolkit to create astounding websites. At Candy, we always stay on top of the latest trends and know which way the wind is blowing in terms of which software to use and what gets the best out of our website design teams.
If you would like to book a consultation with us, we’d be happy to discuss your options and to show you some examples of the incredible work we have done for our clients and how we could help shape the digital marketing of your business over the coming months and years, beginning with an incredible website design for your business. Contact Candy today on 0161 826 0123 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.