Native vs Cloud Based Design Tools

By Jack Evans | 4th August 2017

Digital design is constantly evolving over time and it isn’t always easy to keep up with the latest trends. This typically relates to design and UI trends but it can also apply to the latest software designers use to create bold artwork and beautiful interfaces. For a while the big debate was “Photoshop vs Sketch” and since they both have their own pros and cons every designer has their own preference for which tool they prefer.

As for me, I recently made the switch from Photoshop to Figma which is similar to Sketch but it is accessed and used completely within the browser (which I was a little sceptical about at the start). Figma is a vector based design tool which runs on the cloud boasting unique features such as real-time collaboration making it perfect for designers working as part of a team. You are probably wondering why switch from a tried and tested tool to something new? Well I’m going to explain my experience switching from native to cloud and why I think it’s the best decision I have made in my career.

 

Why I choose Figma as my No 1. Design tool:

Prototyping in Figma:

Figma has its very own prototyping tool which gives you the ability to stay in just one tool and still test that the usability is spot on for users. This saves constantly exporting and importing between design and prototyping tools.

Built for UI:

Figma has a very fast and simple interface which lets you create your designs without the hassle of searching for buried tools, I would definitely vouch that having a minimal UI design tool really speeds up workflow.

 

Fast Production:

Figma is not only helpful for designers to use, it also improve the efficiency of the team interacting with the project. Developers have the ability to inspect UI elements where they can copy the CSS directly from the design file so you can be sure the live version of the project will be practically identical to your design.

 

Team Libraries:

Linked UI components make it easy to quickly change multiple instances of a UI element. For example changing a button in the library will update that object throughout the design. You can also share your components so other designers you are working with can maintain consistency within the project by using the same UI components.

 

Version History:

Figma has the ability to restore your designs after you have made an infinite number of changes using detailed version control. This means you’ll never have a problem if you want to retrieve something from your project history.

 

Take a look at some of the features here:  https://www.figma.com/features

 

Native VS Cloud:

Having experienced both a native & cloud design tool I would definitely say I prefer using the cloud app. Using a native app seems a lot more restrictive and heavier in a way, offering limited collaboration options and eating more resources from your PC than a cloud-based tool. From my experience I feel like using a tool which is cloud-based provided a far more streamlined experience, improved team collaboration and made it easier to work – saving files is never a problem due to autosave and version control so you can never lose your work! The change has definitely helped improve the efficiency of our team.

 

Should you make the switch too?:

Well I can’t completely convince you to switch to a cloud based tool but I would definitely recommend giving it a try. Figma is becoming more and more popular with many designers striving to make their workflow more efficient and more collaborative. Whilst the Adobe products aren’t going anywhere anytime soon I think the future of design will move away from native apps towards more flexible cloud-based tools.

 

Even better Figma is not just Mac only it works on Windows, Mac & Linux:

Make the switch? https://www.figma.com