Why are dumb apps like Figma and Sketch overtaking Axure in popularity?


Over at the Reddit User Experience sub, I get downvoted constantly every time I respond expressing that I use Axure. Most of these folks seem to be Figma or Sketch users. What the hell? Why are these less-than-capable than Axure apps taking over? Axure is by far the most powerful and useful app for not only UX prototyping but for all the static stuff that those other apps do. I’ve been using Axure for over ten years and at this point, I don’t even feel a need for other support apps like Photoshop, etc (sometimes I have to deliver high-fidelity prototypes).

At the risk of sounding snooty (and i sincerely hope I don’t), it seems like the more junior crowd is using these apps (I’ve been in the industry going on 20 years). And their answers to my questions are typically just stupid lol.

What is your opinion on the situation?


I came into Axure kicking and screaming from sketch and after 1.5 yrs, I too love Axure…but also am saddened by its slow rate of evolution. (see my other posts on frustrations with Axure).

I think for the most part the crowd effect comes down to these 3 major points.

  1. Not as trendy as sketch and Figma (current Design darling)…for numerous reasons. But I think for Figma… creator collaboration, web editing (and storage), and of course tonnes of plugins and templates. (which reflects the size of the community). Add to this that “everybody loves…what everybody loves” and it’s not hard to see how we’ve ended up here.

  2. Pricing… Figma is free to get started… Sketch is paid as is Axure. For most junior designers… that low price has an impact on quality perception. I’m sure many f them also shun Adobe for the same reason.

  3. The damn steep learning curve. Lets face it… ‘mastering’ Axure, is not too far from Mastering Photoshop. The learning curve is steep especially if you not from the early prototyping world

  4. Prototyping is only recently entered the mainstream as design tools being to move closer to the space. I admit… Macromedia Fireworks is still my altimeter favorite design & interaction app. But I remember the days on Invision and keynote for interaction prototypes. Many of these tools today still only do the tap and effect interaction. One of the few I do have tool envy for is Protopie. They are innovating in the space at a crazy pace. (one which I wish Axure was closer too)

Plus lets not forget the Figma and Sketches are Design-first tools. Not interaction-first. I do like the vector tools in Axure, but it definitely isn’t the same fidelity as some of the things you can pull off in F&S. And of course not being able to export design assets in the same way, has its limitations.

So for me… Axure is the place to bring to life flow->interactions->content (with majority of design needs covered). The only tool I use more is Keynote for even more rapid layout mocking.

I WISH Axure would create a way to export production code or allow me to use its logic approach to build real apps. I think their approach to interactions is by far one of the best in the industry. (I’ve tried like them all).

So It hurts that I can essentially ‘program’ anything I can dream of…(flow->interactions->design->content). but not actually develop it to life…but that’s just the ‘maker’ in me. Not necessarily Axure’s mandate.

…and…since your title intrigued me…Axure has rarely ever topped F.


Fun how Figma was more popular than Axure for several years before it was founded. :slight_smile: I do suspect the steep slope starting in about 2017 is attributable to the software, though.


Axure is far better for prototypes. Sketch and Figma can prototype interactions, but you can’t respond to entered text, etc. I’m a huge Axure fan.

However, Figma is better for wire-framing than Axure for many reasons, largely due to their recently improved “auto-layout” model. You can make a page fully responsive (not using breakpoints) with wrapping text pushing things downwards (in design mode, I mean: maybe in prototype mode as well, but I don’t use that). You can rearrange modules or tabs or anything just by selecting one and using the arrow keys. Type in a tab and not only can it size to the new text (even if it consist of multiple objects), but the tab’s neighbors reposition themselves to accommodate the new size. I barely ever use (x,y) to position anything: instead all widgets’ positions are based on the size or position or padding (!) of something else. It’s a learning curve to think this way, but you get fast at it, and it saves so much time when editing, As a side-effect, my wireframes are super tidy and accurate.

What else… It’s components (masters) model was recently improved and it’s a huge productivity gain. The app is super fast: no lags, ever, and I’ll have 80 wireframes of various screens (50-thousand-plus objects) on a single Figma page. Multiple people can work in the same file and even on the same page: you see their mouse cursors moving and watch as they draw things: no check-out or check-in needed. Their plug-in API is comprehensive and easy to code to if comfortable in javascript. (The code I just now used to count the objects on a page was two lines.) It’s miles ahead of Sketch as well, though I like Sketch, too.

That said, Axure is my go-to if I need a highly interactive prototype. It’s the best for that by far. I don’t (can’t) use Figma for that.


I agree with @josephxbrick and think it all comes down to the purpose. I use Axure to architect solutions and my goal is to make a prototype as functional as possible. 90% of this work is back-end, so high fidelity designs are usually not as relevant, but the ability to program cases, repeaters, and interactions is golden. I have been using Axure for ~7years and I have not seen anything close on the market that can handle these tasks besides possibly justinmind (but I think Axure handles repeaters better). With this being said, none of the UI designers I ever worked with would take Axure over Figma/Sketch/PS. Different tasks = different solutions.


(Axure RP 10) may have the answer to all our questions … I hope …


they definitely need a leapfrog upgrade with A10. Autolayout would be significant. It will hopefully not simply be a ‘rewritten from scratch for better performance’ upgrade.

I’m still wishing for ‘Axure now is your no code app builder’, but will definitely be happy for an autolayout , or export to code for different platforms (especially if it includes interaction logic). [yes, I know thats a big dream]


I hope so too. From the functional/interactive prototyping side of things, A9 was very disappointing compared to A8 and the repeaters. Seems like Axure was trying to catch up with the mainstream UI tools, instead of strengthening the part related to interactions, repeaters, custom logic - the instruments that make them truly unique.


Bit late to the party on this but just doing some research. The project I’m working on has Figma as the weapon of choice and I’m the one creating prototypes from the Figma files.

  1. Ask your Figma fanboys to create a prototype with a form that passes a variable from one page to the next
  2. Import a page from Figma to Axure and look at the structure. It’s awful. I’ve had a single text box nested 9 levels deep with nothing at any other layer - might be an issue with the way the designers are using it, or an issue with Axure. I don’t know, but it’s a nightmare.

I do a lot of user testing on very interactive prototypes that simulate user journeys as closely as possible to real life. Lots of form filling. You can’t do any of that with a Figma prototype. All you can do is create hotspots that take you from one page to the next.



As an interaction prototyping tool…Axure wears the crown.

As a graphic design tool… maybe not wearing the crown…but definitely close enough to tell the story.


I agree. Lack of auto-layout is the Achilles Heel of Axure right now. Breakpoints are a clunky way to do responsive design. You need breakpoints combined with auto layout.


Totally agree. I’ve used auto-layout in Figma and it really help me save a lot of small adjustment.


There are several reasons why design tools such as Figma and Sketch have become more popular than Axure. I try to convey my message in precise manner and I hope it will fix your issue.

  1. User experience: Figma and Sketch have a more intuitive and user-friendly interface, which makes them easier for designers to learn and use. These tools have a more modern and streamlined look, which makes it easier for designers to create and share their designs with others.
  2. Collaboration: Figma and Sketch are cloud-based, which allows for real-time collaboration between multiple designers. This makes it easy for teams to work together on projects, and for designers to receive feedback and make updates in real-time.
  3. Integration with other tools: Figma and Sketch have a strong integration with other design tools and platforms, making it easy for designers to integrate their designs into their workflow.
  4. Flexibility: Figma and Sketch offer a wide range of design tools and features, making it possible for designers to create a variety of different types of designs. They are also flexible enough to accommodate changes and updates, making it easy for designers to adapt their designs to meet changing needs.
  5. Focus on design: Figma and Sketch are designed specifically for design and prototyping, while Axure is a more general purpose prototyping tool. This focus on design has made Figma and Sketch more appealing to designers who want a tool that is tailored specifically to their needs.

In conclusion, the popularity of Figma and Sketch can be attributed to their user-friendly interface, collaboration features, integration with other tools, flexibility, and focus on design. These factors have made Figma and Sketch a popular choice for designers and teams looking for a more modern and efficient way to design and prototype.

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Thanks for your comments. I agree with all your points. And since posting this back in 2020 I’ve gone on to master Figma and use it daily. But I’m still very dissatisfied with Figma’s inability to produce proper, dynamically-driven prototypes. It’s a shame that an app so capable is not able to support even the most basic logic-driven user flows. And yes, some of what Axure can do Figma can do as well, but it takes a ton more time to develop the same prototype in Figma and at the end of the day it feels like a cheap slideshow.

Now that Adobe has acquired Figma perhaps we’ll see a lift in its prototyping capabilities. But if they are planning to use XD for that then the app won’t be much better because XD is also not a very good app, either.


Perhaps it’s because of support emails like this:

Thanks for contacting Axure Support! Our support specialists are currently out of office. Our normal business hours are 2am to 6pm Pacific time Monday through Friday.

Axure support staff may be intermittently available from February 7th through February 15th due to a company event. Please anticipate potential delays. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

In the meantime, feel free to reply to this email with any additional information, screenshots, logs, or Axure RP files that are related to the issue you’re reaching out about so that we can better assist you.


Axure Customer Support

My use of Axure is mission-critical and they’re too busy to provide support for paying customers because they’re having an event? I’m going to start looking very seriously at Figma.


I don’t blame you. But sadly, Figma offers nothing more than glorified slideshow capabilities. It can’t handle logic at all.


I have been saying for some time that there are weaknesses in Axure related the the “style manager” - I have several suggestions for the Axure dev team on this that will help with dev integration if there is anyone listening from Axure :slight_smile:


Figma and Sketch are designed specifically for design and prototyping, while Axure is a more general purpose prototyping tool. This focus on design has made Figma and Sketch more appealing to designers who want a tool that is tailored specifically to their needs.



ux design student here.

besides the fact that figma, xd and others seem more usable as a software themselves (one big canvas instead of being forced into another tab for every page, no external browser for previewing, how to move a page visually and much more),

the main reason many use figma, in my opinion, is because it’s ‘hip’. That’s it.
I’d love to use axure for some projects but since most other students including my group members ‘heard that figma is just better’ they all want to use figma. (no matter what other software we’re talking about) - the only ones not doing this are those in the other bubble: the adobe (xd) bubble. Most can’t tell you why but more or less pressure everyone else into using their software, instead of looking for the actual best option for their use case and instead having insanely complicated boards at the end of a simple project, because unlike axure, figma and xd don’t have variables and other stuff. Instead of switching the software, many seem to be ok with just ‘faking’ functionality instead of having it and are happy with a very limited but [maybe good looking?] prototype.

I guess, as so often, many just don’t want to use sth they don’t know yet.


@DRC How do you feel about Figma since it upgraded its prototyping capabilities with variables, expressions and conditionals earlier this year? Has your opinion changed?