UI and UX design tools are skyrocketing in popularity as more designers look to innovative solutions that make the design process easier. Two of those solutions are Figma and InVision, both of which offer a suite of features that range from prototyping to whiteboarding to seamless graphic design. In this article, I explore both design tools, compare features, and ultimately conclude which is tool is better for your designer tech stack. Let’s rock n’ roll 👇.
What Are UI and UX Design Tools 🛠️?
User Interface (UI) design is the process of designing software interfaces that are aesthetically pleasing, visually stimulating, and united by a brand’s theme. Nowadays, designers can use UI design tools to produce wireframes, mockups, prototypes, animations, designs, and more.
User Experience (UX) design is focused on the end user’s interaction with the interface. Is it smooth, clunky, intuitive, logical, etc.? Ultimately, user experience is determined by how easy it is to interact with the user interface elements.
What Is Figma?
Figma is a cloud-based design tool that allows you create designs for mobile and web interfaces. It’s features encompass different areas of software design, such as:
- Prototyping (wireframes, mockups, storyboards)
- Graphic design (animations, vector graphics)
- Real-time collaboration (editing, commenting, file-sharing)
Unlike other graphic design software, Figma is browser-based, allowing you to access files and develop on Figma without purchasing additional licenses.
Pros Of Figma
Figma’s main superpower comes through facilitating teamwork and efficiency via real-time collaboration. Similar to why many people love Google Docs and Slack, designers loooove Figma. The top features of Figma that continue to “wow” designers include:
- Real-time file editor: Team members can collaborate on files simultaneously, making edits that are instantly visible to one another. Figma collects ongoing version history so teams can roll back introduced changes at any point they please.
- Versatile design system directory: Manage design assets and view system analytics with a flexible and accessible directory.
- Prototyping tools paired with a UI design framework: By combining the two, designers can create more dynamic prototypes layered with visuals assets, animations, and more. This helps stakeholders more clearly understand the benefits of the design.
Cons Of Figma
Figma’s wide swath of abilities can lead to some drawbacks as well:
- Slightly steep learning curve: Because Figma is so versatile in nature, it can take some time for beginners to find a grasp on all of Figma’s features and benefits.
- Too much focus on collaboration? With the potential of having too many cooks in the kitchen, some designers complain of being inundated with feedback that is complicates the version control process.
What Is InVision?
InVision is a prototype design-to-development tool that helps designers take mockups and turn them into interactive prototypes. InVision supports the entire design process, including:
- Development specs
Pros Of InVision
The design community values InVision for its prototyping and collaboration perks, along with its integrations with Sketch and Photoshop.
- Collaboration mode: Users can add comment directly to a prototype, making collaboration fast, seamless, and cloud-based. Comments can instantly convert into tasks and notify team members on the project.
- Inspect: This product automatically translates graphic files into detailed specs and lets you grab everything you need without opening a design program; including measurements, colors, font styles, code snippets, graphic assets, and text.
- Freehand: This killer tool is a shared online whiteboard that makes it easy for teams to plan, draw, brainstorm, and visually represent their ideas in a collaborative setting. Whether your are mapping out a customer journey or drafting up an org chart, Freehand is a great tool for translating thoughts into visuals.
- Robust integrations: InVision can integration with a plethora of tools such as Adobe XD, Photoshop, Figma, Asana, Confluence, Jira, Trello, Google Docs, Microsoft Teams, Sketch, Slack, and Webex.
Cons Of InVision
Providing a large suite of tools can come with some shortcomings:
- Lack of cloud features in Invision Studio: Certain cloud features are only available on desktop.
- Mainly for large businesses: If you are a small business or freelancer, you could be a bit priced out of InVision. Their tools are used by Amazon, IBM, Netflix, and other large corporations.
Similarities & Differences Between Figma And InVision
Both Figma and InVision include seamless real-time communication and feedback capabilities that enable live edits and speed up the design process. Because InVision Studio is missing out on the “real-time” aspect in collaboration features, I give Figma an edge in this category.
Figma’s prototyping tool is clean, interactive, and provides a realistic feel to your prototype. This advantageous when presenting designs to your client. While InVision Cloud is less flexible on its own, incorporating it with InVision Studio adds animation capabilities to your protoype, giving InVision a leg up for advanced users.
While both design tools have a bit of a learning curve to them, Figma has exploded in popularity in recent years, resulting in tons of user-generated help content, tutorials, and YouTube videos available to the community.
So Which Is Best For You?
Whether Figma or InVision is the right design tool for you – depends! It depends on your team size, organization, experience, and how you prefer to work. If you are a freelancer or apart of small, lean team of designers, Figma tends to be the preferred choice. If you are apart of a larger organization that enjoys a wide array of tools and integrations at your disposal, InVision seems to be the go-to option. Overall, both design tools overlap in some ways and differentiate in others. So be sure to evaluate which aspects what features your design team prefers before making a decision.