Adobe XD

Since learning UX Design I’ve been bombarded with a myriad of software that can build prototypes of apps, pages and presentations; the main contenders being Sketch, InVision and Adobe XD. It’s like starting a new school and deciding which friends to hang out with – your decision could affect the outcome of your future and the choice feels heavy. I’ve learned how Sketch is every UX designer’s dream – an unbelievably easy to use interface (clearly designed by UXD’s themselves!), fast, intuitive and powerful. An equal amount of praise goes to InVision, which is the go-to place for building functioning prototypes once your artboards have been “sketched”. InVision adds those essential smooth and fancy animations that add a specific user-centered feel to the final design, which let’s face it, is what this is all about.

Then comes along the rich kid, Adobe XD. Adobe is loud, powerful, persuasive, influential and known to be a bit of a bully. Newer to the block compared to its competitors, Adobe XD originally lacked the array of options that Sketch and InVision offered. But beware – Adobe has big plans for this piece of software, and I quote, “In the future we expect Adobe XD to be bigger than Photoshop.” They have drawn a line in the sand and passive-aggressively said, “We want Adobe XD to be the top application for digital designing”. Imagine going for a job interview and competing with a handful of other candidates. This is often not a competition for who can do the best job, but who can do the best interview. This is not a test of which application has the most features, because right now both Sketch and InVision have established features, resources and communities that Adobe XD is still building up. This is a test of who is able to saturate the market, gain the most users and win the game of monopoly.

I love Adobe. I have always loved Adobe and am choosing to invest my time in Adobe XD.

History of competing technologies

Betamax was the first video format on the market and was superior to VHS, but it was VHS that eventually won the battle and became the household name (millenials are like, VHS?). Same story with Blu-ray vs. HD DVD; I worked for a CD/DVD making company back then and I always had my money on Blu-Ray with more marketable name). Remembering the fate of Macromedia’s Freehand, Fireworks and Director, all taken over by Adobe, leaves a familiar aftertaste. Some successfully integrated into Adobe’s portfolio, whereas others have been scrapped. Those who have been in the print & page-layout business long enough will know that Quark used to be the industry standard, not Adobe InDesign. There’s a clear signal out there – Adobe have their plans to retain their dominance. I predict another elegantly strategic acquisition in the midst for 2021 that will boost Adobe XD into first position and leave other contenders behind.

One of the most important things to consider is the use of plug-ins with Adobe XD. Adobe have created a basic application, which on first glance looks like it’s for kids. But hidden behind the skin is the ability of everyone around the world to build, code and program plug-ins that is creating a culture of its own within the Adobe community and catapulting the evolution of Adobe XD further and quicker than Sketch and InVision ever could have hoped for.

Check out the Wikipedia page that lists Adobe’s past acquisitions. If you’re a trekkie, you’ll know this is similar to The Borg, “We will add your technological and biological uniqueness to our own in order to improve our own perfection.” In the Linked In Learning training videos I hear experts recommending Adobe tie-in features such as share and collaborate, online libraries, and the seamless experience a user has once subscribed to the suite. Adobe XD is free, but deep underneath this free choice comes a lifetime of dedication and commitment to Adobe that will spread to friends, colleagues, teams and businesses. I was assimilated 25 years ago and it still feels good.

Sketch + InVision + Zeplin = Adobe XD 2021

Other features that Adobe XD could improve on is the ability to create moodboards, style guidelines and an integrated design system that creates the perfect developer CSS handover. It’s all about the workflow from ABC to XYZ that is going to get people hooked for good and that’s where Adobe envisages a golden future. There’s one last thing that absolutely cemented my allegiance to Adobe XD – that it can be a replacement for the athlete’s foot of graphic design, Powerpoint. I have always hated Powerpoint with a passion and it has followed me around my career in print and graphics like a disease. To use Adobe XD as my one stop shop for prototypes and presentations is all the motivation I need to adopt Adobe XD as my new digital baby and never have to use Powerpoint again.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not slating Adobe for their aggressive chess strategy on the digital-design tool market. I love Adobe. I have always loved Adobe and am choosing to invest my time in Adobe XD. I’m going against the grain by NOT using Sketch and Invision, because I can see where the market will be in years (or months) to come. With my subscription to Adobe CC I want to invest in the applications that I already have. I’m an advanced user of Photoshop, have been using Illustrator for over 15 years and know my way around After Effects. I’m determined to realise my dream and become a Remote Freelancer UX Design All-Rounder and Adobe XD is my arsenal of tools that’s coming along for the adventure.

Photo by Mika Novo on Unsplash

Next: Berlin Service Design Jam 2023

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