Designing Out Loud: Announcing Support for macOS Voice Control in Adobe XD
By: Cameron Cundiff
One of the most exciting progressions in human-computer interaction is the introduction of Voice Control in macOS Catalina, which allows users to control their Mac using just dictation and voice commands instead of other inputs like touching, tapping or typing on their device.
With Voice Control, people have a whole new way to navigate and interact with software, and this can be particularly empowering for people with physical or motor disabilities that have difficulty interacting using their hands.
At Adobe, we’re always looking for new ways to enable creativity for all and empower creatives of all backgrounds, experience levels, and abilities to make incredible things with our products. That’s why, today, we’re extending that vision to Adobe XD with support for Voice Control on macOS.
The February 2020 release of Adobe XD adds improved accessibility support with enhanced labelling, which gives users of Apple’s Voice Control technology access to Adobe XD features. Innovative technologies like Voice Control help us enable an entirely new group of creatives like never before, some of whom may have not previously had the opportunity to express their creativity with existing tools.
Using macOS Voice Control with Adobe XD
To use Voice Control with Adobe XD, you’ll need to enable Voice Control in the Accessibility section in your System Preferences for macOS Catalina and update to the latest version of Adobe XD. Once you’re set up, you can say “Open XD” and let your creativity flow!
You can use Voice Control to access all of the core design features of XD, including drawing tools, layers, properties in the Property Inspector, and the XD application menus. For example, you can say “Click layer one,” “Select all,” and “Click Distribute Horizontally” to activate a layer on the canvas, select all the objects within that layer, and distribute them horizontally on the canvas.
Voice Control can also be used to create prototype interactions in Prototype mode. With two artboards ready, say “Click Prototype,” and then use Voice Control’s grid to target the “+” button in the Interactions section in the Property Inspector. Then, you can select the target artboard, configure any options using the names of the menu items, and say “Click Desktop Preview” to preview your prototype. Support with macOS works for multiple languages, as long as the OS language and XD language are set to the same language.
You can also create custom commands in your Voice Control settings for quick access to menu items in XD. For example, you could create a command to say, “Create component,” which would group selected objects and convert them into a component, instead of having to navigate through the application’s menu.
With Voice Control and Adobe XD, you can design and prototype websites, mobile apps, voice interfaces, games, and so much more — all with your voice. We’re excited about the possibilities of support for Voice Control in Adobe XD and supporting users with accessibility needs. If you have feedback or suggestions for how we can better support your needs, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can use Voice Control with Adobe XD by downloading the latest version of XD or updating XD using the Creative Cloud application. You can learn more about using Voice Control on your Mac in Apple’s macOS support documentation.
More new features in the February release of Adobe XD
The latest release of Adobe XD also introduces other new features to help you create rich experiences and go from idea to experience faster. In addition to supporting Voice Control, you can now set or unset a Home artboard in your prototype, allowing you to publish all artboards to a shared link.
Additionally, customers on the Creative Cloud for Enterprise plan can also connect their organisation’s directory with XD so you can share links and cloud documents with groups in your address book, as opposed to adding individual email addresses.
Cameron Cundiff is a Software Engineer at Adobe, working on voice and audio technology. His passion for accessibility and inclusive design has spanned his career in tech. These days he’s working on the voice and speech features in Adobe XD.