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


#1

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?


#2

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.


#3

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.


#4

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.


#5

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.


#6

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


#7

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]


#8

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.


#9

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.


#10

agreed.

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.


#11

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.