Adobe XD - The Ultimate Design Tool
Written byBranko Krstic
Updated · Oct 07, 2022
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- Fast and efficient
- Has a decent free version
- Good for responsive design
- Offers very good support
- Could have more features
- Mobile preview feature doesn't support Android
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind regarding website and software creation? Most likely it’s web page design or some other form of coding and probably not user interface or user experience design. Yet, these are the base of each successful website or application.
Fortunately, they are becoming more popular, and so are prototyping and wireframing apps. One of the newest, most popular tools for user experience and interaction design has to be Adobe XD. If you’re wondering what is Adobe XD CC, you’ve come to the right place. In this Adobe XD review, we at Web Tribunal are going to cover not just that, but also what makes it so good.
What Is Adobe XD?
Adobe Experience Design, available for Windows and Mac, is prototyping, user interface, and user experience design tool. Thanks to its simplicity and free version, it’s good for designers of all levels of skill.
Some of its main functions are:
- Responsive design
- Vector design
- Repeat Grid
- Integration with other software
- Voice design
How Does XD Work?
This Adobe software uses prototyping for creating interactions between pages and artboards for UI and UX design. This makes Adobe XD a great mockup and wireframing tool. It also lets you leave comments, create usage showcase videos, and share your work with clients and project coworkers.
Ease of Use
Adobe XD is a straightforward and user-friendly program. Its interface is different than that of other Adobe software, but it has the same tools and similar shortcuts. Even if you haven’t used a single Adobe application up to this point, but know UI and/or UX design basics, learning how to use Adobe XD will feel like a breeze. Previous user interface design experience is desirable, but at the same time, XD is a good place to start learning it.
How to Use Adobe XD?
This is not online software, meaning you will first have to download it from the Adobe website. Unless you already have it, it will first install Creative Cloud Desktop, which serves as an application manager for the Creative Cloud Suite. Fortunately, finding XD and installing it from there couldn’t be easier.
When running it for the first time, Adobe XD will help you review your UI/UX design experience. This is used to adjust the interface, and eventually courses, to your skill level.
Most of its workflow comes down to using artboards, which are the canvas that you are working on, as well as layers. In Adobe XD, the Layers menu lets you manage artboards and everything inside of them. This makes work on individual artboards and objects much easier.
Once you are done with your Adobe Experience Design project, you can review what you have done by testing either a mobile or a desktop version. All that remains afterward is passing on your work to others, which can be done very quickly.
Adobe XD Features
Adobe XD is a powerful tool for creating layouts through collaboration and collective effort. Here are its best features.
This feature is the core of interactive design and something that every Adobe Experience designer should rely on. Prototyping in XD is a means of connecting your artboards and creating various interactions between their objects.
To initiate these interactions, you can use a mouse, keyboard, game controller, touch gestures, and even voice commands. These usually include moving from one page or object to another, animating objects, and audio file playback. Adobe XD can also create a drop-down menu and many other animated objects important for UI.
With just a few clicks, you can edit, create, and delete artboards. Its responsive design, along with the numerous size templates make this Adobe app creator a great tool. Not to mention that you can set up responsive design options for your website users. Most notably, by changing up a desktop version of a project, the same modifications can be applied to a mobile version automatically.
Just like Adobe Illustrator, Experience Design primarily relies on vector graphics. This complements responsive design well, as changing up vector shapes will not affect their quality.
The lowkey centerpiece of each Adobe Experience Design review, this unique feature is also very useful. It lets you create any number of copies of a single object or group of objects. As soon as you create a Repeat Grid, scaling it up will create copies and vice versa.
Once you’re done wireframing in Adobe XD, you can save the end result as a Cloud Document and invite other designers to work on it with you via email. Older versions of the document stick around for 30 days before deletion unless you bookmark them to keep them indefinitely. XD assigns colors and avatars to each editor so you can see who’s working at the same time as you are.
You can create a URL and share it with clients and other project members to review it with the Adobe XD Share mode. Another good feature for collaborating is that XD allows you to integrate apps such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. That way you can include thumbnails and short project descriptions in message overviews so that coworkers can see what you’re sending immediately.
Integration With Other Apps
This wouldn’t be an Adobe app if it didn’t let you integrate projects made in other Adobe software. XD in particular lets you import Photoshop and Illustrator projects and keep all of their objects and layers. This allows you to stick to the web design principles.
The best Adobe XD plugins can greatly hasten your workflow and add numerous visuals, making the app even more powerful. From HTML code export to adding various graphics, there is nothing these can’t do. Amazingly, nearly all of them are free or have free versions.
To understand what a kit in Adobe XD CC is, you can make an analogy with templates for website design platforms. This program doesn’t really have templates, but these are rather similar, as they will help you get more ideas for your new user interface. They can also enrich XD with text styles, fonts, colors, icons, and even menus. If used correctly, these can easily make Experience Design feel like one of the Dreamweaver alternatives.
The official Adobe website is a great starting point for kits as it offers lots of them for free.
Adobe XD Weaknesses
Adobe XD is a powerful tool but not without limitations.
Can’t Export CSS
While Adobe XD is a UI/UX design software, not a website creator, it’s still sad to see that there’s a plugin for exporting HTML, but not CSS. This would make it significantly better and more powerful.
Problematic Mobile Preview Function
With the live preview feature, you can test the mobile versions of Adobe XD projects on Mac and iOS devices. Setting it up on Windows is much harder, and neither Windows nor Mac versions support Android smartphones.
Unsupported Older Versions of Windows
As far as Windows is concerned, Adobe XD works only on Windows 10. The reason is that it uses its new computing platform called Universal Windows Platform.
This is a new program and it shows. It still lacks certain features, primarily animation-related ones, and doesn’t have many plugins.
Adobe XD Pricing
For what it does, this software is priced pretty reasonably. It even has a free version.
But is Adobe XD really free, or does it force you to pay for it?
Unlike most Adobe apps, this one has a free version that is actually good. For starters, it doesn’t limit the software’s functions. The document history retention period is limited to 10 days and cloud storage—to 2 GB. There are fewer font families and its co-editing features are limited. You can only add one editor to your project and share a single Adobe XD document for review. Regardless, this leaves you with more than enough room to properly test XD.
For this amount of money, you’re getting rid of the coediting limitations, and the document history’s availability period goes up to 30 days. Additionally, you will get 100 GB of cloud storage and full access to Adobe’s font library.
This is an absolutely stunning deal if you’re also using, for example, Photoshop, Illustrator, or any of the other 20 Adobe programs at your disposal. If budget is not a problem, this is a deal worth going for.
Adobe XD Support
Adobe Experience Design support is hard to review because hardly anyone ever needed to contact an Adobe employee. This is a widely used program, so there’s a multitude of tutorials and courses available, especially on the official site. Still, should you need to chat with an Adobe representative, you won’t be disappointed with their response speed and helpfulness.
All Adobe software is known for its good support, and this is no exception. Like the rest of Adobe tools, Adobe XD has a Reddit community, its own forum, and a FAQ section on the site’s help page. Too bad the official subreddit only counts around 3200 members.
Adobe XD User Reviews
Finding a negative Adobe XD review on Reddit or anywhere else is no small feat. Most experienced users love how fast and simple Experience Design is, while beginners appreciate the number of tutorials and courses are available online.
The most common complaints have to do with its learning curve and the fact that it’s different from other Adobe software. However, being a UI and UX design program, Adobe requires a different approach. Another common complaint is that XD has poor animation features. Other than that, there’s no major issue one can’t get around.
When to Use Adobe XD
Adobe XD is rather simple itself, yet it offers enough freedom for professionals to hand out high-quality wireframes and mockups. Not all of its features are beginner-friendly, but with the many tutorials and a help section, for people with no prior UX design experience, Adobe XD is still an okay choice.
It’s still rather new, so it doesn’t have as many features as it should, meaning veteran designers might not like it. But there is a free version of Adobe XD, not a trial, so you can give it a try before buying it.
Adobe XD Alternative Options
For some, the specialization Adobe XD provides may be ideal, but others prefer to have greater creative freedom. Here are some of the most popular Adobe XD alternatives.
Adobe XD vs Photoshop
These two Adobe programs can’t and shouldn’t be compared, but rather used together. Photoshop is an image editor, making it a perfect complementary tool for XD, and XD allows you to import Photoshop files. The same goes for Illustrator, Adobe’s vector graphic design tool.
Adobe XD vs Webflow
Webflow, one of the best do-it-yourself website builders and alternatives to Dreamweaver, is another software that is completely different than XD. Webflow might not be the best DIY website builder, but it’s good for responsive design, just like XD, so they can also be used together. Check out our Webflow review for more info.
Adobe XD vs Sketch
In the long term, Sketch is a cheaper program and it used to have way more features than XD. However, Adobe XD has a version for Windows, which makes it one step closer to outclassing Sketch.
In Mac’s case, we would call it a tie. But Experience Design is likely to become the new industry default and XD could become better than Sketch in the near future.
Figma vs Adobe XD
At the moment, Figma is the only real competitor of Adobe XD. Sketch has somewhat fallen behind, leaving this the only program that can beat Adobe XD in terms of features. Figma is better overall and supports more operating systems, but is more expensive and isn’t part of the Creative Cloud. If you don’t care about these things, however, you’re better off getting Figma, but both are great for setting web design trends.
Our Adobe XD review for 2022 shows that, even though it’s new, XD is among the best user experience design tools on the market. It’s not very hard to use, it’s fast, stable, and has a free version. Its prototyping is great, and so is its Repeat Grid.
The Adobe XD user interface design app is part of the Creative Cloud, and that comes in cheap if you’re using several Adobe programs. If you’ve found yourself in this group, Adobe XD is a great choice. It could use more features, but it is apparent that Adobe is taking great care of it, improving it every month.
It is a prototyping and design tool that can help you create mockups and wireframes in minutes.
This software is primarily used for user interface and user experience design.
Adobe Experience Design does have a free version which, despite its limitations, is more than enough to experience its overall look and feel.
For a low price of $9.99 per month, you’re getting one of the best prototyping tools that you can use to stay in touch with the latest design trends. It is most definitely worth it.
Experience Design is the only one with a PC version here, but these two have similar Mac versions. As we said earlier in this Adobe XD review, this tool is more likely to become the one true industry standard, so we’re inclined to give it an advantage here.
Branko is a round-the-clock tech geek and loving it. His ideal vacation destination is the Akihabara District (or really any place he can take his computer). If there’s a server out there, count on him to find out what it’s made of… and tell you all about it.
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