How does Adobe always succeed in giving its XD users what they want? It’s actually really simple. Let’s find out more.
One of the best things about Adobe XD is that it introduces new features on a monthly basis. What’s more, the new features always seem to be just what its user base of UX designers wants. How do they do it? In a brand new webinar, Stephanie and Anita, Adobe’s XD evangelists, gave us the answers. In this article, we’re going to look more at Adobe XD and some of its super-useful new features. We’ll also find out the secrets behind its success. Let’s go.
The four pillars of XD
XD is Adobe’s UX design tool for web and mobile app prototypes. It’s designed to help forward-thinking designers and developers, with fast-paced, iterative design, prototyping and sharing. What’s great about it is that with every new release, XD takes repetitive tasks out of the user’s hands, meaning they can spend their time thinking creatively.
Adobe is designed around four key pillars. These are:
– Collaborative – With XD, designers, developers, stakeholders and their organisations can work faster together
– Future-proofed – XD keeps up with the latest trends and developments in technology. Whatever designers design on, XD’s got it covered
– Industrial-grade – XD is enterprise-ready, with native Mac, Windows, iOS and Android applications
– Connected – XD works seamlessly with other apps in Adobe’s Creative Cloud. There is also a community-powered ecosystem of XD plugins
Adobe’s engineers have been busy building new features for the app, in alignment with the four pillars. There are too many to list in one place, but let’s focus on the best three capabilities that save time for designers and boost opportunities for creativity.
1) Voice prototype
With the rise of Alexa, Google and Apple’s voice-controlled devices, voice is the new frontier of UX. XD is at the forefront here, enabling designers to create voice prototypes which eventually become voice apps. An example of this would be a voice app for IKEA, prototyped in XD.
In XD, voice is treated as a trigger action from the user, exactly the same as it would treat a tap on a phone screen. Therefore, you design for voice in the same way you would design for anything else. It’s super simple.
You can also trigger speech playback in XD, which is handy for testing. When you download the XD mobile app, you can play it straight from your phone into your voice-controlled device.
2) Integration with the Creative Cloud
XD has always played well with Adobe’s other Creative Cloud apps, such as Photoshop and Illustrator. However, recent XD updates have given designers even closer integration between the apps they use every day, saving even more time.
For example, you can now drag and drop designs you have created in Illustrator straight into XD to add to your prototype. When you do the same to images from Photoshop, you don’t lose any of the quality in colour or resolution. It’s easy to export anything you create in XD to After Effects to add animation.
3) Master components
You may think that this kind of integration, moving between apps to amend your designs, would lead to confusion, where you don’t know which version of your work is the right one anymore. To reduce this problem, as well as eliminate duplication of work, XD now has a master component facility.
When you make one component the master, every change you
make to that master is replicated to that component, wherever it is and however
many times you are using it throughout your project. This can save a
significant amount of time. For example, you spent a long time designing a pink
shape and have used it many times in your prototype, but now you think it
should be blue; you only have to change it once.
The power of the community
So, now to answer the question in the title. How does Adobe always seem to provide what its users want when it comes to XD features? It’s simple. They ask them!
Adobe’s XD developers have a deep relationship with its users and are super-engaged with the XD community via their User Voice Platform (https://adobexd.uservoice.com/).
Here are some examples of how Adobe lets its users drive innovation:
– Users can leave feature requests for XD on its website
– Adobe publishes details of all the new features it is considering, or working on, on the site. The community can vote on ideas they would like to see
– Adobe is nurturing a large community of XD developers creating plugins for the app. These plugins can be shared between users on the Plugin Manager (redesigned in the latest release).
An example of a great new feature that has come from the community would be the plugin, World Ready, that automatically translates your designs into different languages.
It’s only through engagement with its users that Adobe and XD continue to innovate in this way. Many tech giants do not have this relationship. It’s a remarkable thing that will continue to lead to significant advances in the future.
Join Adobe XD Evangelist Stephanie Maier for her workshop on all things XD at this year’s Mobile UX London Conference.
At the workshop, you will learn more about key features that can save you time and make prototyping easier, including:
Responsive Resize – easily resize groups of objects on your artboards for different size
screens while maintaining placement and scalability.
Repeat Grid – quickly replicate lists, visual cards, and other elements across your artboards while ensuring styles and spacing stay intact.
Auto-Animate – automatically animate changes between artboards to create micro-
interactions or interactive content in your prototype.
Assets panel – manage your colours, styles and components centrally.
Stephanie will be sharing the latest updates to Adobe XD just unveiled at Adobe MAX – The Creativity Conference in early November.
All attendees of the workshop will receive an exclusive copy of Hack the Design System, a collaboration between Idean and Adobe filled with tangible perspectives and recommendations around building design systems.