Written by: Sarah Bond
XD has changed the way I design for good
For several years, Adobe Photoshop has been my tool of choice for wanting to create websites, mobile apps and user interfaces in general.
I’d always heard of Sketch, but it would never be my tool of choice as I was so used to using Photoshop; it was alien and why would I stray away from a program I was so used to using for something new and something that would probably take me ages to get on board with?
Also, as I’ve always had an Adobe subscription, Sketch would always come at an additional cost.
So when and why did I switch to Adobe XD?
When Adobe launched their own version of a UI interface builder back in early 2016, I heard it mentioned around the office but didn’t really acknowledge the BETA version. At the time it didn’t seem impressive, and again, I didn’t see the point in moving from something that I was so used to using; Photoshop. It was actually a developer that changed my mind, almost demo-ing the program for me and showing me all the features. I was astounded and read a whole lot more into it.
A lot of time had passed since Adobe released the BETA, and now a full version was available with all new features.
Adobe XD has the advantage of a simpler interface and ease-of-use compared to Photoshop. Because Adobe XD was constructed and developed on the premise that it should be used for screen design, you will quickly notice that the interface is very minimal compared to Photoshop’s robust amount of tools, panels, and configurations.
Now, all of the bells and whistles Photoshop has to offer is great to have, but most of those features are unnecessary and impractical when designing for websites and apps.
As for the features that Adobe XD does have, there’s a handful of great ones that warrant recognition:
- It’s a vector-based platform, which makes editing SVG logos and icons a seamless process.
- Third-party integration is more like an added bonus. As good as XD is, there are still some aspects the app can’t do (yet, at least). It’s Zeplin export integration is as easy as it gets, which is a key platform our team uses when handing off from design to development.
- The assets panel is extremely handy and can also be included under ‘Convenience’. Having the ability to save colors, character styles, and Components allows me to create a style guide within the project and keep things consistent.
- The Repeat Grid is a gamechanger. Although I’m probably saving minutes off my workflow, it feels like I’m saving an eternity when using this tool. I’m able to quickly repeat elements on an artboard with a few clicks and drags, while still having the flexibility to adjust spacing.
Prototyping is a key element in a website project that benefits all parties involved — from the developers (who will be building the site), to the clients (whose website will be the one affected by the design), and the designers (who are the ones that’ll be receiving feedback from the client and handing off the project to the developer). It helps to illustrate how the site will ultimately look like for the client, and ultimately allows everyone from both parties to be aligned on the final product.
As a whole, XD has made design so much simpler and easier.
I’ve used it for every project for the past year with Steadfast Collective. As a result, I feel that my design is speedier, consistent and organised. Using XD and knowing it comes from Adobe gives me confidence that it will be my web design platform-of-choice for the coming years as it continues to evolve.
With its third-party integrations, monthly app updates – based on customer demand, prototyping features and lightweight usability, Adobe XD has surpassed Photoshop when it comes to web design in my eye.
I’d always get frustrated with having to remake a lot of assets using Photoshop – I would always look to see if there were easier ways to make productivity faster when it came to starting new designs.
I never in my wildest dreams thought how my life would change when I started to use XD and their components and character styles – functionalities I was using within Indesign had now come to a well-suited user interface system.