I was really hoping somebody would ask this question!
I’ve used Adobe XD (and I wrote about it here at SitePoint), it’s definitely shaping up to compete with Sketch. Photoshop just wasn’t cutting it. I think XD still has a long way to go, but there’s a couple of features that indicate that Adobe XD doesn’t just want to catch up with Sketch, it wants to surpass it. I think this kind of rivalry is going to mean huge things to the UI/UX community.
“Vs” is definitely the keyword there. As I said in an earlier answer, Adobe XD still has a long way to go but I’ve reviewed it and there’s a few features (like Repeat Grids) that are simply outstanding. What caught me off guard is the move tool, which Sketch doesn’t have. It feels like an Adobe app and it doesn’t, but as long as Sketch continues to be intuitive, simplistic, I’ll carry on being a user. I would imagine that Windows users would certainly see some value in trying XD out though, but if you’re a Mac user, Sketch is definitely the more seasoned on the two.
Adobe XD still has a long way to go but I’ve reviewed it and there’s a few features (like Repeat Grids) that are simply outstanding. What caught me off guard is the move tool, which Sketch doesn’t have.
@Mittineague this would be something interesting for you to note. Adobe XD may be a better option for you.
My book actually comes with a complete keyboard shortcut cheatsheet, else there’s a video on SitePoint Premium that tells you everything you need to know. If you don’t mind decorating your Mac keyboard, you could even give SketchKeys a try, which is basically a set of printed stickers to place on top of your keyboard to help you remember Sketch shortcuts! 100% recommend!
Repeat Grids is the one that stuck with me. Essentially you select a number of layers and click “Repeat Grid” in the sidebar. After that you’ll see two pullables handles, move those to tile that component horizontally or vertically. You can also drop multiple image assets into the repeat grid and Adobe XD will crop, tile and position the images correctly (think CSS background-position or background-cover). You can drop text files into the canvas as well, which I thought was pretty cool.
My advice? Either start with the internal webpages or try not to overthink it - consider having all of that on a single webpage. Select your 3 best works instead of an entire body of work, say one memorable thing about yourself, and have a tiny form that only asks for your name, email and message. Simple is best, but you already probably know that from using an app as minimal as Sketch! Think about colours and typography, but less about features and fancy layouts. If it doesn’t need to be there, scrap it. Hope this helps!
Move/select tool. When I tried to use Adobe XD it took me forever to work out why I couldn’t select layers. I feel like everything in Adobe requires 1 or 2 additional steps.
In Sketch, layers tend to feel quite tangible. I’m almost moulding layers with the mouse like a piece of plasticine, so the approach to designing feels a lot more hands-no. Plus, because of all the plugins, I’ve been introduced to a tonne of new apps, and for me this is going to improve significantly when Atomic release their plugin. I use Atomic to prototype interactions and user flows because their interface feels a lot like Sketch to me.
Well there’s Fluid, which adds a certain degree of responsive design to artboards, and then there’s Send to Slack which helps me keep everybody in the loop about how designs are coming along.
For me, Photoshop is for photos. I never thought that Photoshop was the tool for designing UI, which is why I learnt to code. Before Sketch, I designed with code in the browser and I think Adobe know this too, hence why they built Adobe XD. Sketch could improve their bitmap editing tools, and they could certainly add Smart Object functionality, but I can live without them personally.
Illustrator does do a fantastic job of it, for complex illustrations I still think Illustrator rules, the SVG performance is superior. Sketch offers kerning options too, but again I think you’ll like Illustrator better for that as well. Like you said, Sketch offers the essentials, whereas Adobe goes all out. They’re almost at opposite ends of the spectrum. What Sketch lacks in illustration tools, it gains in simplicity.