Creating Truly Collaborative Design Workflows with Perficient

Group working in office.

The Perficient team collaborating in XD. In colored circle photos from left to right: Joe Andretta, Creative Director; Marti Gukeisen, UX Director; Wendy Marques, Lead User Experience Architect; Maxx Morgan, Associate Creative Director.

by Tor Gundersen

posted on 07-30-2020

Perficient is a global digital consultancy specializing in imagining, creating, engineering, and running digital transformation solutions that help leading brands exceed their customers’ expectations, outpace the competition, and grow their business. With 33 office locations around the world, and a design team spread out between them, collaboration and communication are essential elements for success for the design team at Perficient.

“We pride ourselves on our creativity and innovation. You need effective collaboration and co-ideation to achieve that when you’re working on an international scale,” said Maxx Morgan, associate creative director responsible for creative direction, including the production of compositions, prototypes, and design systems for Perficient’s growing client base.

With ongoing demands to design digital solutions for the web, mobile, and apps from concept to product launch, Maxx and his team have adopted Adobe XD as a platform for facilitating communication and enhancing productivity within design teams. “XD has changed the way I work by giving me a platform rather than a tool,” said Maxx. “I can use the canvas as a thinking space, gathering references and resources, whiteboarding and brainstorming with colleagues in real time, specifically our UX architects. We jump on a Slack call and dive into the XD file with Coediting turned on and we’re instantly collaborating.”

Michael Adamson and Maxx Morgan of Perficient Digital collaborate using Adobe XD.

Michael Adamson (Director) and Maxx Morgan (Associate Creative Director) collaborating using XD

Work together in real time with Coediting

The Perficient team were early adopters of the Coediting beta, and Maxx says it has fundamentally changed how they are designing, especially when creating design systems. “When I first experienced live Coediting, it just felt natural. Knowing that the design file I’m looking at is the latest version gives me peace of mind,” said Maxx.

On any given project, Perficient likely has two to three designers as well as multiple UX architects working together to deliver. This means each member of the team works on a single file using Coediting. “The performance, features, clean UI, and an ‘all in one’ solution for design, prototyping, commenting, and sharing design specs for developers is excellent. It definitely makes XD my favorite platform for design and collaboration,” said Maxx. Working with Coediting has allowed the Perficient team to move away from Axure, Sketch, and InVision, and instead work on one central platform, not having to worry about version control when sharing files and working remotely.

Screen grab of an Adobe XD file being worked on collaboratively by Perficient team members with coeditor icons magnified.

Dana and Maxx collaborating using Adobe XD on a pursuit.

Improved workflows and design collaboration

Maxx highly recommends XD for any team that needs to share assets and collaborate remotely. “For design and UX, Adobe XD with Coediting is my first choice,” he said. Combining XD with Slack, and Zoom, each great tools for team collaboration and communication, can level things up even further. “We’re experimenting with the new Whiteboard plugin for XD to further our collaboration efforts,” said Maxx.

Prior to using XD, Maxx and the UX design team were using a combination of various tools, emails, and shared folders to collaborate, but they found they were still stepping on each other’s toes and often ended up duplicating efforts. “On any projects I’m on, I always recommend we use XD and totally shift to collaborating with it,” said Maxx.

Sample work from a fuel app designed by Perficient Digital using Adobe XD.

Coediting has resulted in saved time and improved workflows for Perficient. The consultancy’s UX architects are brought in at the beginning of every project and work within the same design space as the designers themselves. “Coediting improved our workflow and added a level of collaboration that didn’t exist before,” said Maxx. Invited collaborators are assigned an avatar color and a bounding box – the matching color appears on the elements they edit, so it’s clear who’s working on what. In addition to being able to collaborate on the same file, project teams can review design revisions and document histories.

A recent proof of success for Maxx and his team was a collaboration with Dana Hawes-Davis, an agency manager and Perficient lead UX architect. Working under tight deadlines, they successfully used Coediting to ideate and design. Dana was tasked with creating wireframes for the project, which demanded a quick turnaround, with Maxx immediately jumping in to start designing – all within the same file. “Dana would see what I was designing and we were able to offer feedback to each other instantly,” said Maxx, “We worked like this until the night before the presentation.”

“Within the first day of utilizing Coediting and XD, I wholeheartedly embraced the experience possibilities and magic it afforded us to explore,” said Dana. “Maxx and I were able to quickly ideate and workshop concepts together as well as with other team members. We could then switch to our respective roles in order to create wireframes and compositions. It was delightful, easy to use, and productive. Count me in for more!”

“We’re seeing huge efficiency gains with Coediting and cutting our timelines by more than 50 percent,” said Maxx. “With collaboration in XD, we avoid issues that add time and stress to a project, like designers working off of outdated designs or unknowingly doing duplicative work.” Coediting allowed the Perficient team to eliminate the need to wait for handoffs during project phases and enables team members to create in-sync and view revision histories.

Sample work from the Sunbrella design project by Perficient Digital using Adobe XD.

Collaborating in XD for our work with Sunbrella.

This collaboration workflow has never been more important than it is now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The design team at Perficient was able to transition seamlessly to remote work. Luckily, Perficient already had a good work-from-home policy, with teams being distributed and working from home all across North America and elsewhere. In short, everyone was already used to working remotely with each other.

“The shift for everyone having to work remotely happened quickly, but business continued as usual for us, and we’ve been busy with project work, meetings, emails, Slack, and of course, Adobe XD with Coediting,” said Maxx.

Supporting remote work

Communication and collaboration for remote teams is paramount for companies, especially when it comes to maintaining business continuity during the global coronavirus pandemic. It’s important to be able to facilitate communication and enhance productivity through shared designs and prototypes, whenever possible, and Adobe XD’s Coediting feature has made it easier than ever to keep design teams connected.

For organizations looking to ramp up their remote collaboration, like Perficient, XD provides design teams with the ability to create centralized, shareable design systems and prototyping via collaborative workflows. “It’s a game changer,” said Maxx.

“Adobe XD provides our teams the ability to collaborate in real-time throughout the entire life-cycle of a project; from whiteboarding to wireframing and design, all the way through development. It also allows us to easily share UX and Design deliverables with our clients, making commenting and communications an integrated part of the process.” — Joe Andretta, Creative Director at Perficient

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Topics: Creative Inspiration & Trends, Digital Transformation, COVID-19, Customer Stories

Products: Creative Cloud