Both Canva and Photoshop were initially launched as applications, the former a native web application, and the latter an installable computer programme. Quite likely due to Canva's runaway success, CC Express (formerly Adobe Spark launched 2016) was launched in 2021. Both Spark and CC seem designed to emulate the interface of Canva, but there are differences, which I will outline at the end.
Initially I thought the applications would be for the same purpose, with different interfaces but I did not
realise how similar they were.
All four are freemium, single page applications, although it could be argued that Canva low multipage, with increased assets and effects for paid subscribers. Users must be logged in in each instance, creating an account, with email, Google, Facebook or for CC Express, an Adobe ID. Canva had a large-scale data breach in 2019 involving 4 million accounts (Canva.com, 2021), and Adobe in 2013 with 38 million users affected (BBC News, 2013). Both use an emailed 6-digit code to complete user registration. Adobe also use multi-factor authentication on paid accounts.
All four applications are designed with beginners in mind, that may never have used a program like Photoshop or InDesign previously. They are powerful enough to satisfy mid to expert level users for simpler tasks however, due to their design options and ability to upload assets.
Canva Web and CC Express web use alerts and arrows as inductive wizards to highlight functional areas first time users may need, thinking of popular user roles. Both have a learning and tutorial sections on the site version, Canva is much more detailed and has many times the options that CC Express does, as Canva is standalone, while CC Express is part of a larger Adobe Ecosystem. This extends to the mobile application, to the point where Canva seems cluttered by comparison.
Bruce Tognazzini, one of the founding fathers of interface design, says, "Present the illusion "that users are always in the same place, "with the work being brought to them." If you can make your interface do this, you're probably on the right track for an inductive experience.
|Canva Web||Canva Mobile||Adobe CC Express Web||Adobe CC Express Mobile|
|Launched||2013||2016-2018||2021 (2016)||2021 (2016)|
|Platforms||All web||Android/ iPhone & iPad-specific||All web||Android/ iPhone & iPad-specific|
|Target User||Beginner to casual work use||Beginner to casual work use||Beginner to casual work use (CC for Pro)||Beginner to casual work use (CC for Pro)|
|Aesthetic||White Background Colourful, Fresh, Rounded||White Background Colourful, Fresh, Rounded||White Background Colourful, Fresh, Rounded||White Background Colourful, Fresh, Rounded|
|Customisable (Widgets/Font size etc.)||No||No||No||No|
|Sync Mode with Theme (dark/light)||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Authorization||Email, Google, Facebook, Manual Log Out||Email, Google, Facebook, Mobile, Manual Log Out||Email, Google, Facebook, Apple, Adobe ID, School Account, Manual Log Out||Email, Google, Facebook, Adobe ID, Manual Log Out|
|Additional Security||Enter 6 digit code||Enter 6 digit code|
|Launch Induction||Alerts/Wizard tour of basic tools||Suggested projects & templates||Alerts/Wizard tour of basic tools||Suggested projects & templates|
|Frequency of Use||Weekly +||Weekly +||Weekly +||Weekly +|
|Assets||Free images, backgrounds, shapes, stickers, user uploads. Premium assets for paid.||Free images, backgrounds, shapes, stickers, user uploads. Premium assets for paid.||Free images, backgrounds, shapes, stickers, user uploads. Premium assets for paid.||Free images, backgrounds, shapes, stickers, user uploads. Premium assets for paid.|
|Premium Features||Resizing, extra effects, extra assets.||Resizing, extra effects, extra assets.||Brand, resize, convert to/from PDF.||Brand, resize, convert to/from PDF.|
|Other Features||Video & music assets, record VO & camera presentation, graphs/charts, animation. Free desktop (web) app.||Video & music assets, presentation, graphs/charts, animation.||Text and image animation. Specialised individual power apps.||Text and image animation. Specialised individual power apps.|
|Ingest||Menu+ and Drag & Drop, 20+ integrated services (Dropbox, Youtube, Google Maps, Bitmoji etc.)||Menu+ and Drag & Drop, 20+ integrated services (Dropbox, Youtube, Google Maps, Bitmoji etc.)||Menu+ and Drag & Drop, Adobe Assets||Menu+ and Drag & Drop, Adobe Assets|
|Gestures||Drag, nudge, pull corners||Drag, nudge, pull corners||Drag, nudge, pull corners||Drag, pinch canvas, nudge, pull corners|
|Guides and Sanp||Guides & Snapping||Guides & Snapping||Snapping||Snapping|
|Exporting/Saving||Download file img/pdf/video/gif/ppt, share to social, collaborate, print service, link to view||Download file img/pdf/video/gif, share to social, collaborate, print service, share service agnostic, link to view||Download file img/video, share to social (laggy), collaborate, link to view, Google drive||Download file img/video, share to limited social (buggy), collaborate, link to view, save as template|
|Progressive Disclosure||Only in save/export||Only in save/export||Only in save/export||Only in save/export|
|Internationalisation/Language||Yes, in settings||Yes, in settings||Yes, in settings||No|
|Response Time||Fast, export file can take time||Fast, export file can take time||Slow to open, buggy, multiple attempts, export instant||Mid speed, export instant|