For years screen design industry relied on using Adobe Photoshop to design user interfaces. Some do to this day (heck I'm more or less one of them). Psd to html used to even be it's own mini industry. So there is no arguing that Photoshop has had huge effect on pixel pushing industry. If you are interested in more indepth writing about this subject, I'd highly recommend a post by a fellow Finn Viljami Salminen called "On Design Tools and Procesess".

A few years ago when I was doing a round of interviews at a bunch of tech startups in Helsinki. On one occasion I was asked about a design software called Sketch. My reaction was like what is that? Turns out Sketch is a Mac only design software that has taken the Silicon Valley (also known as San Francisco area startup scene) by storm. At that time I thought people only used Photoshop for web design, especially since Adobe had introduced a service called Extract for Brackets the previous year. The service allowed developers to get information and content from psd files while inside the text editor.

The problem with Photoshop was that the files took alot of space. As a result vector based design tools like Sketch became more appealing for its small file sizes, performance and simpler user interface. Today Sketch has introduced groundbreaking features like shared styles and reusable components with content overrides, which would surpass what Photoshop can offer. As they say, time is money. Also what makes Sketch so powerful is the large community of 3rd party plug-ins such as Craft by InVision which provides prototyping, library and place holder tools.

As Sketch became the dominating design tool in the product design world, other companies started to play catch up and introduced competing products to the market. At first Adobe introduced features like art boards to Photoshop to stay more relevant. In the end Adobe decided to introduce a new design tool called Experience Design, Adobe XD in short. The app was fast and had interesting prototyping features but basic design features lacked. By the end 2016 Adobe released a beta of sorts for Windows 10 version of Experience Design. Unfortunetely Windows 10 version was milestones behind the macOS version.

To date most promising newcomer is this piece of software called Figma by a startup of the same name. Figma introduced its self in 2016 with open beta. Figma is a web based UI design tool that focuses on collaboration. Since it is a web based (with macOS and Windows wrappers available for desktop use), they are currently the only truly cross-platform UI design tool in the market. The software even supports Sketch file import, meaning you could design in Sketch and then collaborate with clients via Figma in browser. When necessary, this is how we collaborate with our clients. In terms of features Figma is still behind SkechApp's smarter features but I hope to see the day when it becomes the only design tool in my workflow.