Until we switched to Figma, NearForm generally worked with a combination of Sketch, Abstract, Zeplin and Invision , with occasional forays into Adobe XD .
With Sketch, you can create your design and then upload it in JPEGs to InVision to create a prototype that allows you to simulate the end product on a device and create clickable hotspots. Prototyping is an important part of the design discovery process at NearForm. We use discovery workshops to reduce the time spent on discovery and provide our clients with comprehensive product prototypes at the end of the process.
The design tools market is an active one, with constantly shifting trends and new players entering, dominating and leaving it on a regular basis. Sketch proved itself to be a good tool for user interface/user experience (UI/UX) designers working in the Mac environment, but it has faced growing competition in recent years.
Figma emerged in 2016 as a cross-platform, browser-based design solution specifically created for UI design and quickly distinguished itself as a serious contender in the increasingly crowded market. At the time, Sketch simply wasn’t adding new features as quickly as rivals such as Figma. Following several iterations and the addition of numerous new features, Figma became more stable and emerged as a potential replacement for Sketch.
One of the most compelling reasons to move to Figma was its strength as a collaborative tool. Sketch did add Sketch for Teams to cater for designers working together, but it remained a product in which users worked and made their changes in isolation and shared the outcome when it was ready.
Sketch has since added real-time collaboration, but until recently Figma was the only design tool that allowed separate users to work on the same document at the same time. The experience was completely interactive, allowing designers to work in a truly collaborative fashion at the same time.
For teams working across timezones, it’s a huge benefit to be able to jump into the same file with someone as you work on it together. And it’s not just useful for designers; developers can access files at a much earlier stage of the process, allowing them to be part of the process sooner.
Integration with Storybook , an open source tool for developing UI components, also enhances the designer/developer workflow