UX Toolkit Series Part III – Adobe XD Review

Adobe XD is a new product in the Creative Cloud lineup. I’m a huge fan of the Creative Cloud, even since the early days of its rollout. Early on it was much maligned by the design world – but the ability to simply obtain new enterprise-class software by clicking a checkbox and paying nothing more has really become an enjoyable experience.

XD is trade language for Experience Design. For years I’ve relied on Balsamiq and Axure as prototyping tools but I’ve been excited to try out XD now that it has officially shipped (it was previously an R&D alpha effort called Project Comet).

For rapid prototyping on location, it has a really nice set of simple features. Unlike other tools with too much emphasis on flashy UI, Adobe XD’s user interface is intensely simple and clean. Its two modes (basically design and presentation/IA) are easy to toggle between and the presentation mode is very clean. The default wires are beautiful, much prettier than Axure’s, even if it’s lacking in functionality by comparison.

And the reality is, even though it’s actually less feature rich than even Balsamiq, the emphasis on a clean appearance, simple, easy-to-use tools, and smooth transitions has already made it a go-to tool in my kit.

If Elaine Chao Finnell and the rest of the XD team can keep the focus on incrementally improving the app but keeping it simple, I think it could easily supplant Axure some day. Balsamiq’s napkin-esque UI makes it preferable for very low fidelity design work, so it will remain a key tool for me. But I’m excited about XD’s future! Give it a test drive, after all – it’s free with CC.

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Creative director and technologist. Lover of light and maker of things!

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