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Software review: AdobeXD

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By Sarah Preston

AdobeXD (Experience Design) preview has been available for around a month, after spending some time ‘playing around’ with the available features, I can now say I am, or will be once the full software is available, impressed!

It has a great simplistic, app like feel, which differs hugely from Photoshop’s almost complex look. The design encourages the user to utilize keyboard shortcuts; something that helps speed up workflow – if as a designer you don’t use shortcuts you should definitely look into doing so.

Although a lot of features aren’t available yet it’s already looking promising. With drag and drop and active prototyping, for me it’s basically at the stage where I can start using it for client work with the help of other Adobe products to ‘fill in the blanks’ whilst the rest of the features are being built.

Design highlights

Basic text editing may not seem like a feature to celebrate but since having to use Photoshop which, let’s be honest, is not at all built for quick speedy text edits, it’s clunky and slow! Being able to just double click in, then double click into the next one straight away is an absolute dream!

Another great design feature, which is a HUGE time saver, is the ability to create a repeat grid. This feature allows you to create on instance of an item and then repeat however many times you need, great for consistency and great for speed. No more copy and pasting blog or product listing.

My prototyping highlights

A big benefit of using AdobeXD is that you have both your design and prototyping software in one and you can work with them simultaneously. Constantly tweaking and testing is a great way to make sure your designs are something that are truly intuitive and work with that extra finesse designers pride themselves on.

Experience Design has the ability to not only test on a separate window but also create a link so you can test in browser, tablet or mobile to make sure the experience is 100%.

With responsive design being so important now, and the vast increase in requests for app design and development, it’s important to test the design on the device it’s going to be used on and AdobeXD allows you to do this with ease.

You can even create videos of the UX that could be great for presentations when pitching to clients, or even just a case study to give your portfolio something extra.

You can click around a prototype I have made here:

Future release features?

In future releases I am looking for features that make quick editing and design. Having features similar to InDesign’s master page that allows you to ‘store’ the areas that stay the same across the whole design, giving the opportunity to only edit them once for every page to change. Also, something like ‘symbols’ from Fireworks, which enabled you to create an instance of an area or asset, and again had the ‘mass update’ to any instance of that symbol within the given file.

On the prototyping side of things, it needs ‘sticky’ areas to enable you to position fix the header for example, whilst everything else on the page scrolls.

Conclusion

I have to admit, when I heard Adobe were discontinuing Fireworks, I had a famous designer paddy! Then when I heard Adobe were working on something new to fill the gap I had no faith in it at all.

However, my overall conclusion is…when can I start using it?!

It’s a great product that I cannot wait to start using on client projects, at the moment it has features that are missing but it is only the preview stage and I am certainly looking forward to seeing where this product goes in the future.

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