Using Adobe XD for the first time.

While I have lots of experience designing apps, I have always used Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator to design interface. Since last year, Adobe XD has been taken out of beta, so I decided to give it a go as its sole function is to help designers create and prototype apps and websites.

When opening the interface for the first time, I found it is very welcoming and looks simple to use. Unlike when creating apps in Photoshop, there is no clutter or unnecessary panels that you don't need. The layout of the app reminds me of Apple's Pages, Keynote and Numbers which have a side panel containing all of the formatting tools and options.  This is extremely useful if you are new to the software, as I was with XD, as you know all of the design options can be found in one place. There were times when I found the interface too simple and limited in features and would often Google if something was possible. Usually it was, however, the way to do it was different to the way I would have previously done it in Photoshop.

 In my opinion XD is like an assembly line for apps. You type all of your text somewhere else where it can be spell checked as XD  has no spell check feature.  I was typing my text in the notes app, or for longer pieces of writing using Grammarly as it's spots many more errors and can detect tenses, and many other grammatical errors. You create your imagery in Photoshop, as PS has all of the image editing tools needed and once you have your Image perfected you can drag it into XD.  Icons are designed in Adobe Illustrator and vectors imported into XD. What's great is that you can edit lines and colours of your Illustrator vector shapes, meaning you can design an icon once and change the colour of its states in XD with ease.

 When you start designing it is incredibly fast and can handle lots of artboards at high resolution with ease. The experience is smooth and zooming in and feels like gliding over a webpage; there is no lag.  I did have one major problem which I didn't discover until the final stage of my website design. Unlike Photoshop, XD has no colour profiles. It simply uses the colour profiles of your computer screen, in my case a 2017 MacBook Pro with Touch bar. When I exported my screens as JPEGs colours came out undersaturated as they were saved with a different colour profile to the one I was working on in XD.  This meant I had to put images into Photoshop afterwards and oversaturated them to create the desired look I was used to seeing in the editing mode.  XD is so new, a lot of these issues such as the colour profile, spell checking should be fixed fairly soon as Adobe is regularly releasing updates.

I really enjoyed this process of using XD, it felt much lighter and faster than Photoshop yet and had all the tools I needed. It takes a bit of getting used to as there was a slightly different workflow and somewhat different way of doing things however once I got the hang of it it was super quick and easy to make multiple screens.  I will be using XD in the future when creating interface designs.

FMP, PracticeAdam Marsh