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Adobe unveils Sketch-rival Project Comet for UX design

Neil Bennett | Oct. 7, 2015
Combining wireframing and interface design tools, Adobe's new UX design application Project Comet is coming in 2016.

Combining wireframing and interface design tools, Adobe's new UX design application Project Comet is coming in 2016.

There are many areas of the creative industries where Adobe's software rules unrivalled - with competitors either annexed (Macromedia) or pushed back to the hinterlands of enterprise document layout (Quark). But one plucky tool remains favoured by Web and app designers around the world: Sketch.

According to the 2015 Design Tools Survey by Subtraction.com (which is run by Khoi Vinh, who recently joined Adobe). Sketch is the web-design community's favourite software tools for wireframing (beating Illustrator and HTML/CSS), interface design (beating Photoshop, HTML/CSS and Illustrator) and even brainstorming (though a long way pencil and paper).

Project Comet - which was announced on Monday but won't ship until 2016 - is a brand-new software application for wireframing and interface design, and also prototyping with live on-device mobile previews in a way similar to tools like Marvel. You can see it in action in Adobe's video above.

Like Sketch, Project Comet is designed to be fast and focussed on UX design. In the past, Adobe might have tried to build Project Comet's features into Illustrator or Photoshop (like Photoshop's Generate feature for those creating web mockups) but the application is an acknowledgement that much of the reason for Sketch's success is that it wasn't trying to be a tool for everyone - and that made it faster and better for UX work, especially for quick-and-dirty early designs.

Project Comet has two main workspaces: Design and Prototype. Design lets you create interfaces using vector design tools - and some innovative ways to create grids of content that I'm sure we'll see in future versions of InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop too.

Screens/pages are connected together using visual links (the blue lines in the above screengrab) that allow you to build working prototypes (with transitions). These can be tested on-screen or on mobile devices using a companion app.

While not mentioning Sketch by name, Adobe's announcement clearly has one eye on trumpeting what it believes it can deliver that Sketch can't - for example, interoperability with Photoshop and Lightroom. There's also a not-so-sly dig at Sketch's stability, highlighting UX designers' need for a tool that offers "quality and stability that you expect from Adobe."

 

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