Adobe XD and Building Tools for the Lifecycle of a Design

The future of design tools needs to be frictionless — tools that empower designers to capitalize on their own creativity and express it effectively. The innovation of design tools is about facilitating expression while getting out of the way of the designer. In many ways, it always has been.

When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press (a point of fascination for me), he changed the world by making it easier to create and spread printed materials. He took a clumsy, complicated task, and created a sophisticated tool to simplify the process. This is what we are striving to do at Adobe Design, more than 500 years later — creating sophisticated tools that make it easier for creators to design and share their work.

Adobe XD is a tool that Adobe Design has been involved in designing and battle-testing since its inception. XD is our all-in-one solution to design, prototype, and share beautifully crafted apps, websites, and screen experiences of all kinds. I think three things stand out for me with the product. XD puts experience first, which makes it approachable and easy to use. It is built for performance, meaning it’s fast and responsive. Lastly, XD is being created in partnership with the creative community.

This partnership has pushed XD to become an entirely new way for designers to approach their work. The tools get out of the way so that we can focus on designing and prototyping, and sharing for feedback is quick and seamless. Having an all-in-one cross-platform solution for experience design is just a game changer.

Rethinking the creative tool

Adobe XD is a platform that, at its core, serves designers based on how they already want to learn and work. There is immense pressure in modern UX work to explore and test new ideas quickly, yet many UX workflows involve using several different apps to design, prototype, share, and collect feedback.

Every time a designer must switch tools to complete a workflow, they deal with the friction of importing files, using different shortcuts, and sending comps to others working on the project. With Adobe XD, our focus has been on keeping the end-to-end workflow in one place, with a single tool. Doing so frees the designer to create faster, trying new ideas while communicating and collaborating with others as easily as possible.

By focusing on the entire process — from design, testing, feedback, all the way to delivery to developers — we can empower designers to innovate and create at a level never seen before.

Using Adobe XD to design Adobe XD

There is always pressure to test your ideas with your customers. With Adobe XD, we have been able to prove that the platform’s concept is effective with our very own team. The entire design and development team is now using Adobe XD to create continuous iterations and improvements of it. And we’re using it to design all the experiences across Adobe’s entire product range: Creative Cloud, Document Cloud, and Experience Cloud.

Now that designers are collaborating with their product team partners, using Adobe XD to design future versions of itself, we’ve created a system in which we quickly know whether a new feature is effective or not.

There is something very exciting in “walking the walk” of a product built for fellow designers. We know we’re delivering features that our colleagues across the design industry will use every day — because we’re using them every day. We’ve also developed a discipline that safeguards us from drowning the platform in features. Through our process, designers are aware when a feature serves the bigger picture of a total workflow-centered platform, or if it simply clutters it with minimum payoff.

Also, we’ve found that the feedback from the design community throughout the development process continues to keep us focused on what’s important. The collaboration with designers all over the world — and their insightful feedback — has been one of the most rewarding parts of designing Adobe XD.

A blueprint for Adobe’s next-generation products

XD is far from the only Adobe product to prioritize end-to-end creative workflows. Several of Adobe’s latest creative tools, including Adobe Dimension CC and Adobe Lightroom CC, have been built from the ground up to empower creatives during the entire life cycle of their ideas. And, naturally, XD is being used to create these breakthrough application experiences.

This is just the start. Building on the success we’ve had with Adobe XD, my teams are using it to design, test, and iterate on some exciting new products and reimagined updates to existing ones. While I can’t say too much, we know that Adobe MAX is coming up again this October — so stay tuned.