What sets Sketch apart from the rest is its well-rounded set of features that cater to my requirements as a UI designer. Sure, it does not have the gazillion functions and filters of Photoshop, the built-in prototyping capabilities of Adobe XD, the collaboration features and vector networks of Figma or the cross-platform capabilities of all of the above. Sketch simply does what I need for the most part, does it well, and has a thriving plugin ecosystem that more often than not makes up for what’s not already built in.
What follows is just a sample of Sketch’s features that make life easy for me and the team at my UX design studio day to day.
ARTBOARDS AND PAGES
For as long as I can remember, my biggest pet peeve with Photoshop was its single canvas. Creating a new file for every page on a website just didn’t make sense to me. Fireworks understood the problem, and its pages feature was a godsend. Illustrator got around this with artboards. In today’s mobile and responsive era, though, neither of those concepts is enough. Sketch has both pages and artboards, and having used the application for a while now, I cannot imagine going back to one that doesn’t have them!
For my web and UI design projects, I use artboards for individual screens and pages for flows. For example, I’ll have a page for the onboarding flow of an app, another for the core actions, one more for settings, and so on. This makes it very easy to keep everything together and organized. You can even nest artboards, so that you can get a big-picture PDF of an entire flow, while at the same time exporting individual screens for prototyping.
MIRROR AND SKETCH CLOUD
There was a time when design was usually handled by an individual designer (or two) who worked on individual Photoshop files that didn’t really have much to do with each other. Today, it is not uncommon to see teams of tens or even hundreds(!) of designers working together on a single product. That makes the ability to collaborate on design files extremely critical.
Sketch has enabled a designer to share a read-only view of the file open in the app for some time now. Simply share a URL, and anyone else on the same Wi-Fi network will be able to view the file you’re working on. This is very helpful when you want to share a work in progress with a fellow designer or developer sitting at the other end of the office or even in the same room, where everyone can see the files on their own screens.