The future of web design is here. Adobe XD is an excellent tool that allows web designers and developers to control aspects of the user experience when creating apps, websites, and an array of digital products. Available for both Mac and Windows computers, along with iOS and Android mobile devices, the applications of this UX design solution are seemingly endless. Below are a few critical details outlining who will get the best use out of Adobe XD (you!), and just how you can put it to the test!
What is Adobe XD?
Adobe XD, known in 2016 as Adobe Experience Design CC when released in its beta stage, is one of the many trailblazing design tools in the Adobe Creative Suite. For the last four years, XD stole many web and mobile designers’ hearts with ease of use and understanding of the workflow between designers and developers. It is a vector-based design tool that can be used to create products at any stage, from prototypes and mockups to final designs all the way to user testing.
Adobe XD is presently the industry’s fastest UX (user experience) design solution. Whether your team is composed of 5 or 5,000 people, you can build design systems, share and develop your XD projects together.
You can test the user experience, design, and functionality of your mobile application, or website.
The possibility of creating impressive mobile app prototypes and testing them directly on your phone is something you will definitely love.
Who Would Benefit from Using Adobe XD?
XD is an excellent tool for independent designers, and small and large web development teams. The software enables users to collaborate on design projects. You can keep all your colleagues on track and organized in a single project without losing track of progress and the necessary tasks.
We all know what it’s like to work in large team settings. It’s inevitable that, at some point, you’ll wind up crossing wires with a colleague and accidentally work on a project that’s already been completed. (Nope, it’s not déjà vu!) Adobe XD will help you optimize your workflow and daily practices to ensure you produce your best work with as much organization as possible!
Most Notable Uses of Adobe XD
What I love about Adobe and its products is the community of amazing designers supporting each other and sharing experiences. If you are just starting with web design now, make sure to visit Behance Live and follow their live sessions on UI and UX design. Following the channel will help you identify the best professional practices, design tips, and workflow techniques to produce your best work. The primary types of work this tool can be applied to include:
Information Architecture (IA)
Information Architecture (IA)is the art and science of organizing and labeling the content of mobile applications, websites, and other digital media software to help support usability and findability. IA has a tremendous impact on product design by making it easier for users to find relevant information. When designing your app or website for an excellent user experience, you should consider the components of information architecture in UX. Adobe XD can help you enhance your digital products’ performance and extend the accessibility of your products and website to a broader audience.
Wireframing is of particular importance in both the navigation and visual appeal of your digital products. Think of this as your drawing board, where you can begin imagining your prototype in real-time with wireframe templates, and tools to optimize site or app responsiveness.
You can get from basic wireframes to beautiful designs in no time. You can work on the look of your user interfaces with vector drawing tools, grids, guides, colors, character styles, etc.
- FREE Adobe XD resources – With the software, you can download countless UI kits and use in your designs: Apple Design, Material Design, Microsoft UWP Design, IBM Design Kit, Adobe Experience Manager Core Components, and many other custom-made for XD components. You can find them online and download as many free XD projects and templates as you need to understand how the software works and how others use it.
- You can create content-aware layouts – this is especially useful when working on bigger projects, and you need consistency throughout the project. Adobe XD can be set to recognize the relationships between different objects and automatically make adjustments as your designs change. For example – we need all buttons to have the same padding, no matter how long the text is inside.
- Components- You can create design elements to reuse across your XD file, or multiple XD files and push changes to all of them by changing the master component.
- Responsive Resize – XD helps you resize groups of objects or components for different size screens and maintain relative placement and scale between objects.
- Vector drawing tools – Who loves vectors? Me! 🙂 I am hoping that you love them too. Adobe XD has a basic set of drawing and shape tools, Boolean operators, blend modes, and other vector editing features. They are perfect for creating components, wireframes, icons, and many more design elements.
- Precision design tools – artboard guides, layout grids, nudge and resize shortcuts, and relative measurement features, you name it!
- Repeat Grid – Replicating one design element as many times as you want but also updating one item to modify all the grid automatically together with adjusting the padding to import your data from the TXT file.
- Asset export – Preparing the file for development is as important as the actual design. You can quickly mark elements for export, or include them in Design Specs for developers to download.
- Edit in Photoshop
- Adobe Fonts integration
- Sketch, Photoshop, and Illustrator file import
- And many more
When you’re ready to progress to the next stage of development, Adobe XD will turn your vision into reality by creating a prototype. This tool will provide you with ideas to create a high-fidelity prototype to improve the accuracy of initial test results with your target audience. You will be able to transform your static designs into rich user experiences. Add interactions, triggers, scroll positions, motion, animation, and more. This part is my favorite, as it gives so many possibilities to work in-depth on the design and create a feeling for a real experience with the final product. You can preview your prototype directly on-screen – tablet, computer, phone, and see how it actually would perform in the future. Not only does it help you develop an excellent user experience, but it helps all participants in the process to understand the product better, give feedback, and improve the product before the actual development.
Test your new application, software, or website with your target audience to confirm its potential within your market. Identify the weak points of a product’s performance and use Adobe XD to optimize for even better functionality. I can not stress enough how important is user testing and the possibility to do it with XD. There are plugins available for XD, especially for user testing, but you can also perform your own research.
Share design for review – Generate links to get feedback on your designs, or embed the prototype on Behance or a web page. Reviewers can comment directly on your prototypes.
XD powers collaboration with your team, getting feedback, but also working with developers:
- Share design for review – in this case, would help the developers understand how your design should work.
- Share for development – Sending the developers a link to design specs that include the sequence and flow of your artboards, measurements, colors, character styles, downloadable assets, and CSS code snippets that developers can copy into their codebase.
And even more…
- Coediting (beta)
- Document history
- Share for review and development
- Design Tokens
- Invite to edit
- Private invitations
- Cloud documents
- Record preview
- App integrations
Scaling with design systems
To maintain brand consistency across experiences and work faster, you can create and manage your team’s design system in XD. If you are just starting and don’t know how to create a design system, have in mind that you can have a sneak peek at the actual Adobe Design System – Spectrum. Adobe released its Spectrum for free use during the MAX conference this year. You can download it here.
A platform that grows with your needs
- App integrations
- XD Plugins
- Plugin API’s
Adobe has always been known to produce virtual tools that are both on the technological cutting edge and even ahead of their time.
The cherry on top of all XD’s potential applications, is the control web developers are given over the design field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). This highly complex aspect of web design involves concepts of human psychology, computer science, and more – all elements that are integrated into Adobe XD’s capabilities.
Although the free version of Adobe XD is limited to 1 shared project, you will get a good idea of what XD can do. You can download Adobe XD for free here.
The paid version would give you many more possibilities, and if you are a web designer, or starting now, I would highly recommend it.
In addition to improving your workflow in the behind-the-scenes matters of digital product development and web design, Adobe XD is one of the best available tools to enhance your digital product’s visual quality. With the modern UX tools provided by this software, you will be able to improve the user experience with all the aspects of the virtual experience.
Below you can see one of my favorite Adobe XD FREE courses for beginners: