I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve been searching for a new design tool that suits our workflow for almost two years. And just when I was about to settle – Adobe released a preview of Experience Design CC, and I got very excited.
To understand why, I’ll go back a bit.
In the beginning
When I first joined Daymedia, I was introduced to Adobe Fireworks. Some of you may cringe at the thought, but Fireworks actually served me greatly throughout the years. In just one application I could create wireframes and turn them into full visuals. I could export the assets I needed and even create basic clickable prototypes.
Long story short, Adobe discontinued Fireworks back in 2013 and a lot has changed in the web industry throughout those three years.
Where did that leave me?
Despite discontinuing Fireworks, I still managed to do what needed to be done – for a while anyway. But certain processes became laborious, for example exporting assets. SVG is commonplace on the web nowadays but low and behold – Fireworks doesn’t support SVG. Bummer.
This is just one example of how my good friend Fireworks wasn’t up to the challenge anymore. It was time to say goodbye. 😥
Let the search begin
Finding a tool to replace Fireworks was challenging. There’s so many good tools out there but none of them ticked all of our boxes like Fireworks did. I found I could take wireframes to full visuals – but I couldn’t turn them into a prototype. I could create a basic prototype – but the design tools weren’t up to scratch to create full visuals.
One of the most popular tools out there at the moment is Sketch – and Sketch is great! You can even now prototype within Sketch using Silver. But – and this is a small but to some and big but to others – it’s only available for Mac OS X.
At Daymedia the design and development teams work together very closely and there’s often a lot of cross over. More often than not (in our case anyway) it’s handy for the developers to be able to open up the source file of a design so they can see what font a piece of text is, or what colours are being used.
Sadly Sketch isn’t available for Windows, nor will it ever be according to the website so switching to a tool that isn’t readily available to both Mac and Windows just isn’t feasible for our workflow – even if it is a great tool.
By this point I felt like I was asking too much…
Along came Adobe XD!
Although Adobe XD is in its very early stages, it shows great promise of being the ‘all in one’ tool I’ve been searching for. Okay so I can’t create a gradient right now but it’s in the pipeline.
The UI is familiar, clean and easy to get to grips with (so far). Prototyping and sharing your work is super easy. And (although it isn’t right now) it will be available for Windows later this year. As with any tool I’m sure it will have its pitfalls and perks, but the point is it shows promise of suiting our workflow.
Obviously Adobe have their own set of features to come, but they’re listening to the design community via their Feature Request Forum, and that gives me great hope that this application could turn out to be what I’ve been looking for. ?
To find out more about Adobe XD and what it has to offer simply head over to their website.