Breaking News: Sketch App announces big changes for 2021

Last Modified: May 11th, 2021 - Category: News, UI Design
Sketch App Design changes

Bohemian BV’s flagship product , Sketch App, faces big changes this year.

In an email sent to all Sketch subscribers, the company announced a number of changes, both in terms of features and pricing.

New features in Sketch App

The “new Sketch features” are basically pieces of the same feature: real-time collaborative environments.

This is a long awaited feature by Sketch users and the reason why they lost a good chunk of the market to other apps like Figma, Adobe XD and even InVision Studio (to a much lesser extent).

Let’s remember that Sketch only works for Mac, which already excludes the vast majority of potential users. The lack of real-time collaboration was very noticeable. And not exactly in a good way.

Then it was time for Sketch to respond. And they finally did, with a web application that is actually very good. Its UI (User Interface) is very simple and intuitive, one of Sketch’s signature features.

But apart from being very simple in terms of usability, the user experience is enhanced by the very careful and elegant aesthetic aspects.

About the “rest” of the features, Pieter Omvlee, Co-Founder & CEO and Emanuel Sá, Co-Founder & CDO at Bohemian BV have created a post announcing these features. They are more descriptions of how the one added feature works. Without diminishing its importance, since, as we will see, it is not only much needed and expected, but also a radical change in other ways.

Designing user interfaces in collaborative mode and in real time

Sketch App collaboration preview
Sketch App collaboration preview

At the heart of these changes is real-time collaboration. This means that different designers involved in a project can design and create elements simultaneously.

To achieve this, a difference in access to the application is introduced: on the one hand, the native Mac application that we all know. And on the other hand, a subscription to a cloud application that allows such collaboration between users.

However, Sketch will disappoint those who expect their cloud app to work for Windows or Linux. It’s still an app only for designers who use Mac as a working tool.

What will happen to current Sketch subscriptions?

According to Bohemian’s announcement , Sketch subscriptions can continue to use the native Mac app or switch plans and use the web app.

Subscriptions to the native app will remain valid until the day it is active, as it was until now.

However, the announcement of these changes leaves room for some ambiguity. Based on what is expressed in the various methods in which these announcements were made (newsletter, blog, and social media), the renewal process is not clear.

The current process is as follows: Once the current subscription to the native application has expired, it can be renewed, or the user is left with the last version they had lifetime access to.

But if we go by what Sketch announced today, it seems that the only form of renewal will be the web app (or cloud) format, and that the native Mac app will just not be able to be renewed.

Sketch app changes: email header-

Starting today, if you purchase a new license or renew an existing one, it will be a Mac-only license. This means you’ll get access to the Mac app only, so you can work on local documents.

Licenses will no longer include the option to save or open files from the web app, or any collaboration features (including real-time collaboration). Those features are included in our new subscription.

It’s important to note: nothing happens to your license until its current expiration date. We’ll also send a reminder email 30 days before that date.

As always, if you choose not to renew, you can still use the last version of the Mac app, but you won’t get any future updates, or access to collaboration features.

For more on this change, why we’re making it, and all of your options moving forward, click below to read our license changes page.

From Bohemian’s Sketch Email

How much will Sketch cost now?

Actually, there are no changes. In a way.

Sketch continues to provide access via a monthly subscription for the same price ($9 per month, or $99 per year).

And the same happens with the native app, which will continue to cost $99 per year, with a $79 renewal (which we don’t know will continue to exist now)

The difference is that access to the web app, which used to be free, is no longer free. A subscription is required to access the web app.

This represents a small additional cost, as previously you could only access the web app as a user of the app. And renovations cost $79. That’s an increase of $20 per year, or 25% per year.

Why is Bohemian doing this?

For increased income, of course, there’s no question about that. After all, that’s the purpose of a business.

The problem is that Sketch’s limitation (Mac only) is one that no other tool has.

And these news are clearly motivated by the new changes to Figma. Sketch had no way to raise prices as long as Figma was free. But now that Figma is no longer free (at least for professional purposes), Sketch has a window of opportunity to raise its price without appearing to have gone up.

But … will that be enough to convince users who have already started switching to other applications? Only time will tell.

Summarising the changes in Sketch

ui design tool

As we can see, the changes are not very big. Sketch doesn’t offer anything more than what other apps offer. It continues with the same limitations and the only feature it adds involves a higher payment that can backfire against it.

In terms of the feature itself, it’s very well done. The user experience is simple and pleasant, with a very intuitive interface.

Bottom line: for die-hard fans, these new Sketch App announcements may be what they were waiting for. For the rest of the users, Sketch disappoints by offering what everyone else has for free and still not offering the one thing all UI and UX professionals really expected: cross-platform support.

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