Adobe has made a name for itself in web design for a very long time thanks to Flash (now defunct), Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign (and many other phenomenal software). However, Adobe has long been missing a crucial piece of software in its line up: a real software designed for web design.
Appearing in 2016 to compete with Sketch (released in 2010), Adobe XD is a software specialized in web design that can be used equally well by the UI designer (responsible for the aesthetics of the site) and by the UX designer (responsible for the layout and user experience of the site). Adobe XD has an advantage over Sketch: it is nominally free (but with crucial features locked behind a paywall that you need a subscription for). It is a great piece of software that allows all collaborators on a project to use it concurrently, whether it is the UX/UI designer, the developer, the project manager or the client.
Adobe XD First Impressions: Developed with Web Design in Mind
The first thing that strikes you when you open the software is the simplicity of its interface: there are few functions, only the most essential ones are displayed. One might think that Adobe XD is a simplified version of InDesign. Although much more intuitive in its use than the latter, it is, however, less rich in features.
If your primary purpose when using the software is a web design, however, you won’t miss those features because almost all the unavailable ones aren’t there because they don’t really apply to web interface design.
And, even then, if you wanted to use one of the missing features, there is nothing to prevent you from creating/retouching images in other software and then integrating them in JPEG, PNG or SVG format into an Adobe XD project, as the software, makes asset importation very smooth and straightforward.
Designing in Adobe XD
The design of an XD project is done in two parts, there is first of all the “design” part which includes the creation of the interface of the website. During this phase, you integrate the fonts, shapes, colours, icons and images, all laid down in the manner in accordance with how the real website will look. The creation of the interface is simple and customizable: you can take care of the mobile, tablet and computer interfaces all at the same time, with Adobe XD featuring many pre-programmed presets that aim to emulate the screen size of the most common devices on the market.
When you start a new project, you’ll immediately realize that, like most other Adobe products, XD has a layering system. Its layer system is closer to the After Effect system than it is to the InDesign one with its components system (a block of frozen elements that can be reused with a simple click). What you can understand about Adobe XD after a few hours of use is that it is very compartmentalized and requires a certain amount of rigour in terms of organization, otherwise the project will quickly become unimaginable.
Prototyping in Adobe XD
Once the design is complete, we can move on to the “prototyping” part which includes the layout of the site. Prototyping in Adobe XD is like the process of assembling a Lego set: you lay down the foundation first, then assemble the main component, and finally, you add some finishing touches to bring everything together.
It is the same with Adobe XD, once the design is “finished” (corrections always end up happening) it is time to make it come to life. To do this, Adobe XD offers an interface dedicated to helping you create a mockup system for your design. You can add links that allow you to navigate, insert a “pop-up” window anywhere on a page, change the page with a scrolling or opaque transition, go backwards, make a window appear when we drag the cursor over an element, leave an element fixed during scrolling, and much more. The choices are not numerous and combined, you can reproduce most user interactions you can find on a typical website.
Turning Your Adobe XD Design into a Real, Fully-Functioning Website
After prototyping is done, it is time to turn your great design into a fully functioning website. Sadly, to do that, you have to rely on tools and applications aside from Adobe XD, as the program is solely responsible for the design and UX.
Don’t worry, however, you don’t need coding knowledge, especially if you choose a CMS like WordPress to carry out your conversion. WordPress will allow you to create a responsible, functional, and true-to-form website from your Adobe XD design. And if you have trouble doing it yourself or lack the necessary skills, you can always rely on the Adobe XD to WP conversion service from Acclaim Agency.