If you are looking to design a website or mobile application, you will need a design tool like Adobe XD. This tool is also suitable for people looking to create a high fidelity infographic or flyer. And lastly, Adobe XD also has prototyping capabilities so that you can build a lightweight application experience for your customers or potential users.
My Experience with Adobe XD
I have used XD on two different projects. I used it to design and prototype a mobile application that allowed people to quickly send money to charities based on current events. The great thing about Adobe XD is that I was able to design the entire user experience and set up the prototyped version so that people I knew could interact with it before a line of code was even written. Adobe XD has a great feature that allows you to save your prototype directly to your phone. This allows you to bust out your phone wherever and whenever to show off your design and get valuable feedback.
What do I mean by prototype? A prototype is essentially just a bunch of different screens/designs that I built. Using XD, I added logic that says if a user taps on a certain part of the screen, then show them a different screen. It allows a designer like myself who doesn’t know how to write application code to wire up every screen to show a user how the experience will work.
By using the prototype feature, you can answer many questions before ever handing off the designs to a software engineer. Will users respond well to your layout? What will they expect to happen when they click a certain button? Will they intuit what the call to action (CTA) is on each screen they see?
You can also use XD to make people think you are more professional than you actually are. What do I mean by this? I built a successful personality test by using just Alchemer (formerly Survey Gizmo), Adobe XD, and email.
While I didn’t have a beautiful website or anything fancy, I sent the personality test results in a beautiful pdf flyer that I created using XD. Here’s an example of what I used:
What are the main features I like about Adobe XD?
- 3D transforms. This is a relatively new feature that Adobe XD launched. You can now select elements on your 2D grid and turn them into 3D elements. It’s very cool!
- I think it’s safe to say that Adobe has finally developed a tool based on UX & UI design. It’s similar to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, but without the bloat. They are finally putting UX and UI designers first with this tool and building a competitor to Sketch.
- The Artboard feature of Adobe XD is cool. It also means that the same Adobe XD project helps you to build screens for different platforms (e.g. smartphone + web). It also helps that Adobe XD is very fast, so you can work on projects with a lot of screens (100+).
- I really like the prototyping feature. It means I don’t have to use multiple applications ( Sketch + Envision) to launch a basic prototype to test with users. You can easily link screens together with simple point and click logic.
- The repeat grid role is great. Duplicating large quantities of content in this manner is easy. The fact that spacing between elements can also be altered at one go is fantastic. Finally, you can drag and drop images and text directly into the Adobe XD canvas, which will automatically update the repeat grid content. This saves me a lot of time while building out repeat designs.
- The software lets you collaborate and give feedback to each other. Because design has a lot of subjective parts to it, this is a great feature for people within your company to give feedback in a collaborative approach.
- Adobe XD has a lot of good UI Kits that are available, plus you can import your own with ease.
- Last but not least, it’s Free!
What are the drawbacks of Adobe XD?
- It’s a little annoying that there aren’t any text editing options. For example, there is no underline option; instead, you must draw each underline with a stroke. That means you then have to select and group the text with the underline when you want to duplicate or move that element around. It’s weird, and it slows me down. The same is true when changing text to, say, all capital letters, title casing, or anything similar.
- There is a need to resort to image editing tools such as Photoshop from time to time due to a shortage of image editing tools.
- As a Windows user, it would be good to see more love for older versions of Windows, such as Windows 8, rather than just Windows 10.
- Some of the keyboard shortcuts are a little weird at first. They feel unintuitive. But eventually I got the hang of it and you will too.
Easy to learn
What’s the best thing I like about Adobe XD? I learned it in about a day. Sure, there are certain features that took me a lot longer to learn. And there are some that I probably haven’t found yet. But all in all, this tool is very intuitive and easy to pick up. Even if you are not a designer at all and have only been using wireframe tools like Balsamiq, I am willing to bet that you’ll pick up the basics within a few days and be off to the races on your first project!
To get started, you can download it here.