- Ease of Use - 9/109/10
- Prototyping Features - 7.5/107.5/10
- Screen Design - 8/108/10
- XD for Mobile - 8/108/10
Adobe launched XD in 2016 and there is no looking back ever since. Although a little late in the market where products like Sketch, Marvel, Azure rule the UX/UI designers preferences, Adobe came up with XD offering new features. It is an extremely light and easy application which has increased its popularity. It can be used for rapid prototyping and designing
What is Adobe XD?
As the name suggests Adobe XD is a tool which helps you design the experience through prototyping within minutes. Once you open it you’ll realise how similar its UI is to Sketch. Although unlike Sketch it lacks a few features and has some new ones. It is especially valuable for Windows users as sadly Sketch doesn’t have a Windows version. XD is simple and easy to use even for a person who is using Adobe products for the first time. There are several pre-made UI kits which are available online which XD supports making it easier for the user to switch to XD.
1. Repeat Grid Option
This feature is what makes XD stand apart. You don’t have to go on copying and pasting the same design/text one after the other. With the help of this tool all you have to do is select the design/text you want to repeat in the same artboard and you can easily repeat it vertically or horizontally while managing the spacing. Once a correction is made to one design element it automatically corrects the others. That’s not all, if you wish not to make the changes to all, you can ungroup them and make the necessary changes to only one thing.
2. Adobe XD for mobile (available both for Android and IOS)
One thing that is best about Adobe is that it doesn’t only come up with PC applications but also mobile. With XD for mobile you can view the application on your mobile screens and decide how it looks in real time. An advantage for Mac users is that you can connect your mobile to your device directly and view the screen without changing the fonts used.
3. Publish Prototype
It is very easy to publish the prototype through the application. It creates a link which you can send it to your client or even publish it on Behance as your project.
It offers a record button as well where you can record the entire interaction of your screens. This way one can know the entire duration of its work and easily send the video too.
5. Easily scalable text tool
The text tool in XD has its own features. You can scale the text directly from its source rather than going to the menu buttons and increasing the size. This not only reduces the time spent but also increases the productivity as a designer has to constantly check which size looks good on what text.
6. Curvature tool
Unlike Sketch, XD makes it easy for the user to curve the sides of the shapes in one go without going right to the menu, something similar to Illustrator. Curving the sides of the shapes is sometimes necessary to make them look like buttons.
7. Creating assets
It comes in handy when you have to follow the same style across different artboards, especially the symbols panel. Once a symbol is created and used across artboards they are automatically linked and a change done in one automatically makes a change in others.
8. Work with Sketch and Photoshop files
XD offers you options to work on existing Sketch and Photoshop files, where you can prototype your old work and make them come to life.
Drawbacks of XD
Not all tools are perfect or have every functionality nailed. The same with Adobe XD. The tool, although super easy to use and comes loaded with features, it does have a few drawbacks too.
1. Difficult to add inner shadows to the items, which Sketch offers.
2. The pen tool lacks mobility, and it sometimes gets hard to work with vector art.
3. One cannot crop an image and have to use ‘mask with shape’ option to get the desired result.
4. Offers no animation and have to rely on After Effects.
5. Few shortcuts do not work, like the letter ‘i’ for the eyedropper tool.
Experience with Adobe XD
I’ve been using XD for 6 months now and I must say it is extremely user-friendly. It has incorporated features of Illustrator and Photoshop and so if you are aware of these two tools you can easily make a switch to XD without a doubt. If you aren’t then there are a plethora of tutorials available online through which you can learn in a matter of a couple of hours. Earlier I used to use Photoshop for making screens and with the introduction of XD, my work time has almost become half, which offers me more time to concentrate on the integrities of user experience. Being a light application it hardly takes any space on my PC. It offers me both designing and prototyping and I don’t require any other application to prototype for me. I am quite happy with XD and how it works so seamlessly.
Adobe has an extensive support center for Adobe XD. You can find tutorials to learn the basics, a user guide for beginner and advanced learning. They also have an excellent community where users can post queries and get quick resolution of their questions. At any time, if you need any assistant regarding Adobe XD or any of Adobe’s products, they have a 24/7 online chat support which you can use to quickly resolve any issue.
Being comparatively new in the market this application still has some bugs, which hopefully will be removed in the coming years. Since Adobe has separate applications for different creative purposes, XD lacks a few things not exactly making it the wholesome tool for UX/UI designers. But if one has a subscription to the entire Adobe Creative Cloud then it is the tool for them. Plus XD has some amazing features which other competitive applications do not offer. The upcoming InVision Studio will definitely change the game as it surely is an eye opener with the number of features it currently includes. Hopefully, Adobe will make the required changes which will make XD an indispensable tool. Plus, at the end of the day, it does not matter which tool you use, it’s about your knowledge and skills and how you use it accomplish the given task. So do use whatever tool you are more comfortable with using, ultimately it’s the thought and solution that matters.