UX and UI tools are gaining a lot of traction on the market as more and more companies build digital products, aware that the look and feel of their apps are paramount to their success on the market. A great idea isn’t enough - what you need is the right design supported by insights into user behaviors, preferences, and trends.
According to a survey from UX Tools, the leading design tools are Figma, InVision, and Sketch. These three were the most popular choices across the industry in 2020. The survey also noted the massive rise in popularity of Figma - in 2019, 37% of designers used it, and one year later, 66% admitted to using Figma.
What made Figma so popular? How does it compare to InVision Cloud and Studio bundle? In this article, we zoom into the top design tools comparison to show you which features they come with, unique pros and cons, and other considerations for picking the right solution for your project.
Table of contents:
- What is Figma?
- What about InVision Studio and Cloud bundle?
- Similarities and differences between Figma and InVision Cloud & Studio
- Figma or InVision - which one is a better choice for your project?
What is Figma?
Figma is a cloud-based design tool available for macOS, Windows, as well as mobile operating systems, iOS and Android.
Figma offers features that cover three critical areas in the job of every designer:
- Prototyping with elements such as wireframes,
- Graphic design, including animated interactions, frontend-ready graphics, and a vector graphics editor,
- Collaboration with real-time editing.
The idea behind Figma is to improve teamwork between designers and thereby increasing the efficiency of the entire design process.
Pros of Figma
- Easy collaboration - Figma combines several stages of software design into one platform. It allows interdisciplinary teams of designers and frontend developers to work on software designs together. This is what makes Figma stand out from the crowd among other UX and UI tools.
- Real-time editing - Figma includes a real-time file editor that allows all team members to collaborate on one file at the same time. All the changes made are visible to others instantly. And thanks to the version history, tracking the introduced changes and deciding which ones to keep is easier than ever.
- Design system managements - The solution includes a flexible and accessible design system directory that helps designers to manage design assets. The built-in analytics are a great perk because they help team leaders to make the right decisions about design system updates and adoption.
- Rich prototyping tools - Figma includes prototyping tools combined with a UI design platform to create a winning approach that allows designers to create more attractive prototypes using a range of animations, interactions, visual assets, and dynamic overlays. As a result, all the stakeholders can instantly see the benefits of the design and provide valuable feedback.
- Easy running and installation - All you need is a web browser to use Figma. This means that the solution doesn’t exclude collaborators with less powerful machines than those used by designers and software developers.
- Great customization - Moreover, Figma allows an unprecedented level of customization thanks to the open-source library of plugins. You can install any available plugin or create and share your own.
Cons of Figma
- Works only online - so you need an active internet connection at all times.
- Limited prototyping options - it lacks advanced interactivity and allows only simple transitions.
- Complexity is the price to pay for flexibility - Users who just started using Figma will face a steep learning curve before enjoying all the features of the platform.
- Too much collaboration - The collaborative nature of Figma might encourage users to add as many comments and contributors as possible to a single file. As a result, they might create overwhelming and possibly repetitive feedback. The version control processes might become more complicated as well.
What about InVision Studio and Cloud bundle?
One of the top design solutions on the market, InVision is used by tech giants such as Netflix, Amazon, and IBM. It offers various capabilities that build a smooth product design process, including whiteboarding, brainstorming, wireframes, prototyping, and development with specifications. All of these modules are then divided into several products: InVision Cloud, Studio, DSM, and Enterprise. In this article, we focus on the bundle of InVision Cloud and Studio.
Pros of InVision
- Great prototyping - Designers appreciate InVision for its extensive prototyping and collaboration capabilities.
- Feedbacking features - Users can easily add comments in threads that are embedded in the prototype. These comments can be easily transformed into tasks. The prototyping and commenting features are available in the cloud, which means that the content is accessible for all the team members involved.
- Handy Inspect future - This feature allows easy handoff from design to development because it translates graphic files into frontend development-specific specifications. Developers can easily see patterns - this accelerates the coding process. Inspect works with various file formats - InVision Studio, Sketch, and Photoshop.
- Integrations with multiple design tools - InVision comes with robust integrations with common design and business tools such as Slack or Sketch. This helps to facilitate the transition between these tools.
- Community - InVision has been around for several years on the market and has gained a steady port of experienced users.
Cons of InVision
- Lack of certain InVision Cloud features in the Studio suite - The Studio suite is available for desktop only. That’s why it makes sense to use these two features in the bundle.
- High price for larger teams.
Similarities and differences between Figma and InVision Cloud & Studio
|Figma||InVision (Cloud + Studio bundle)|
|Collaboration||Real-time collaboration (everybody can comment and design all at once)||Workflow tracking & comments only.|
|Animated prototypes||Poor. Needs integration with Principle for more advanced animations||Hi-fi prototypes with advanced animation features|
|Pricing||Per editor||Per prototype|
|Platform support||Web-based app: Mac, Windows & Linux|
Desktop app: Mac, Windows
|Desktop app: Mac, Windows|
Collaboration in real time
Both solutions offer a wide range of communication and collaboration features. They allow live edits, creating a single source of truth for all the project stakeholders. However, note that the desktop version of InVision - InVision Studio - doesn’t come with the real time element in its collaboration features - this might slow the workflow down. The Cloud version includes Freehand, a handy application for note-making.
Figma comes with adaptable and interactive prototypes. It allows you to deliver an authentic look and feel of a digital product already at the stage of prototyping. InVision Cloud also includes prototyping options, but they’re slightly less flexible. But if you combine them with Studio’s possibilities like advanced animation features, you can achieve a little more within InVision.
Both solutions offer a rich array of features and modules. That’s why using them might be difficult at the beginning. However, both Figma and InVision created lots of educational materials to help users get started. When comparing the two, InVision stands out because of the size of its user community. After all, it has been on the market for a longer time than Figma.
While Figma charges per editor, InVision focuses on the number of prototypes. The number of editors is, in this case, a secondary factor. Both tools include a starter free plan that offers a limited number of prototypes or editors. After that, you can choose a paid plan at two different levels: pro and organization in Figma and pro and enterprise in InVision.
Figma or InVision - which one is a better choice for your project?
Answering this question is difficult because it all depends on the individual requirements of your project. Making a decision about the design stack requires you to answer a few questions first.
- What is your design stack composed of right now?
- Are you willing to switch to a new platform, or would you rather stick to your current choice?
- Are your designers open to acquiring new skills?
- What is your team’s size and structure?
Answering these questions is critical to selecting a design tool that matches your project. In Figma, you can design and prototype. While the prototyping feature is not as extensive as in InVision, you can easily supplement it with a tool called Principle.
InVision doesn’t offer such a comprehensive set of features like Figma, but in a bundle with InVision Cloud and Studio, you can easily design and prototype your product.