Intro to Adobe Experience Design (XD)

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What is XD?

Adobe Experience Design (XD) is a new cross-platform app for designing and prototyping websites, mobile apps, etc.

Who Is It For?

It’s for UX/UI and digital designers currently using Photoshop, Sketch, Illustrator, InVision, etc.

XD aims to be the single app you design and prototype in.

Why Make a New App?

Photoshop and Sketch are today’s most popular UI design apps.

  • Photoshop has gained UI design tools, but it’s a photo editor!
  • Avocode’s 2016 Web Design Trend Report shows Sketch has overtaken Photoshop.
  • Sketch is not an Adobe app.
  • Adobe realizes they need a new app designed for today’s UX and UI Designers.

Photoshop Isn’t Perfect for UI

  • Large file sizes.
  • Not vector-based:
    • There are issues when working on hi-res designs (@2x): type sizes are doubled, etc.
    • Drawing icons, etc. are harder than they should be.
  • Not object-oriented so it’s harder to quickly navigate, move, or adjust elements.
  • No built-in prototyping, but integrates well with InVision.

What About Adobe Illustrator?

  • No system anti-aliasing (for accurate type display).
  • Not easy to preview your design live on mobile devices.
  • No built-in prototyping and does not integrate as well with InVision. (Photoshop and Sketch integrate better.)

What About Sketch?

  • Sketch is a great app for UX and UI design. We really like it, but it’s not perfect either.
  • Mac only, which limits its appeal to some companies.
  • No built-in prototyping, but integrates well with InVision.
  • InVision’s Craft is a plugin that will bring prototyping into Sketch. The current beta is only for apps, not websites.

XD is built for UX/UI Design

  • Design and prototype in a single app.
  • Preview your design live on mobile devices.
  • XD’s minimal interface is focused on UX/UI design, so you can work faster.
  • A fast app with small files.
  • Object-oriented (so you can quickly navigate, move, or adjust elements).
  • Vector-based, so it’s easy to draw icons, etc.

No App Is Perfect

  • XD is a completely new app written from scratch. It’s still in beta, so numerous features have not been implemented yet.
  • Mac version is ahead of Windows, but eventually they’ll be equal.
  • Getting people to switch from PS or AI may take time, but XD is included in Creative Cloud so it’s easy to try at no extra cost.
  • XD is different from other Adobe apps. It’s more like Sketch, so it’s an easier transition for Sketch users.

Let’s See XD in Action!

Live Demo

What’s Missing?

  • No guides (will be coming).
  • No text or graphic styles (will be coming).
  • No JPEG export (will be coming).
  • There’s only basic prototyping: No fixed headers/footers, no modal pop-ups, no scrollable areas (whole page scrolls).
  • Does not have the ecosystem of plugins, third-party integration, etc. (but should in time). Example: Facebook’s Origami Studio only supports Sketch.
  • ... just to name a few. Read More

What’s Coming?

  • Co-Editing: Multiple designers can work on a file simultaneously in real-time (like Google Docs).
  • Live Style Guides & Libraries.
  • Specs (for developers).
  • Visual Versioning (a timeline of your changes).
  • Updates have been coming out every month or two. Refer to What’s new in Adobe XD for updates.

Learn More

Learn XD in our hands-on class:
Adobe Experience Design (XD) in a Day

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