Sketch version 1 shipped 11 years ago and has since grown into one of the best UI tools on the market. Sketch allows UI designers to create everything from low-fidelity wireframes to high-fidelity prototypes, as well as vector graphics like icons and logos. In addition, its cloud-based collaboration features facilitate communication between stakeholders as well as handoff of design to developers.
The latest version, Sketch 79.1, was released in November 2021. In this Sketch review, we take a look at the software and see if it still lives up to its reputation as one of the best design tools in the world. user interface.
Sketch offers the smoothest user experience of any UI tool on the market today, mostly thanks to its intuitive keyboard shortcuts and the way it leverages macOS frameworks to make Sketch a natural extension of the system. macOS operating system. When creating mockups with Sketch, which accounts for the majority of the time spent using it, its lightning-fast user experience is its most valuable asset.
Sketch symbols help reduce repetitive actions by turning components into reusable components, and smart guides help align objects with complete precision. The two drag and drop functions are so natural that you feel like you are working with your hands.
Prototyping is arguably Sketch’s weakest feature. “Slide” is the only Artboard transition in the menu, and beyond creating fixed elements and being able to maintain the scroll position between Artboards, there isn’t much else to experiment.
Prototypes can be previewed, however, and Sketch’s companion app, Sketch Mirror, will even let you do this on your own device (iOS), though that’s notoriously finicky.
The lack of prototyping features is not a problem as you can absolutely create a basic prototype with ease, but you might prefer to take advantage of Sketch’s vast library of plugins when a prototype needs complex animations. or functional components.
To give an idea of what’s missing, Figma, for example, offers a larger selection of gestures, animation presets, the ability to create custom relaxations, and even dynamic scrolling for added realism and better instruction to developers. .
Sketch: design transfer
Design transfer, the process of delivering documented design specifications to developers, is not part of the core application. Instead, Sketch’s collaborative tools are accessible via the web so developers (and other commenting stakeholders) can weigh in without having to own a Mac. It’s not a major setback; in fact, the result is a cleaner and more contextual interface.
Although the main application supports copying layer styles as CSS code, the design transfer interface only allows developers to copy the design style. values and does not translate anything into actual code.
Say goodbye to version conflicts, because the latest feature among UI tools to become standard is co-edit / multiplayer. This allows multiple UI designers to work on the same Sketch file in real time. If you think it looks awesome, that’s because it is.
Sketch: linked data
Extracting data from text files into mockups isn’t a new concept, but the way Sketch handles it seems innovative. After writing data to a JSON file (which can also reference local images for that matter), all you need to do is link to the data source from Sketch and then fill the mockup with the data.
By now, it should be clear that Sketch is focusing on the most essential features, which is a red flag for some, but a total dream for minimalist product teams who prefer to customize and upgrade their workflow only by when needed.
For those teams, Sketch’s huge library of plugins can add diagrams, animations, design system documentation, and other functionality to Sketch that can come from other tools. Since not all plugins are free, this may lead to higher costs. See our favorite Sketch plugins here.
Sketch wizards are similar to sketch plugins, but especially fluffy designs for errors like invalid naming conventions, duplicate layers, or insufficient color contrast.
Note: This is easily Sketch’s most underrated feature, especially since no other UI tool has a feature like this!
System requirements for Sketch – macOS
Sketch 79.1 supports macOS Catalina (10.15.0) and later, but naturally older versions of Sketch will work on older versions of macOS.
Sketch doesn’t provide minimum system requirements as it depends a lot on how many pages and artboards you plan to have in a Sketch document, but suggests using a Mac with a powerful processor and a decent amount of RAM.
Sketch costs $ 9 / editor / month or $ 99 / editor / year (saving $ 9 / editor / year). Both plans allow an unlimited number of free viewers, including developers who wish to inspect the design.
There is also a business plan for teams requiring more than 25 editors, but you will need to contact us for pricing. This plan includes features that are fairly standard with today’s business tools, such as single sign-on (SSO).
Sketch: should I buy it?
Sketch is very comparable to similar tools like Adobe XD, with the biggest problem being that other tools support at least Windows. However, Figma has a slight edge due to a few amazing features – built-in audio conversations, design system documentation, and seamless workflows (i.e. design, commenting, and transfer are all well integrated into main application).
Overall, Sketch is best suited for UI designers who use macOS and want to customize workflows to their liking using Sketch plugins. Figma, on the other hand, is better suited to UI designers working across platforms and prefers it when all the features are immediately available right out of the box.
Minimalist UI designers should use Sketch for its beautiful simplicity and the ability to activate additional features only when needed.
Read more: How to model a website with Sketch