Web design is one of the most important parts of any business, especially since social media and constant internet exposure have become more popular and prominent. It’s a necessity for a company to have a good website nowadays, and there are so many programs that are designed to make building websites easier. Adobe XD (or Adobe Experience Design) is one of those web design programs.
Adobe XD is good for web design. This program was made specifically for web design it is lightweight, has an intuitive user interface, ability for collaboration, and prototyping. Adobe Experience Design is a simple but capable vector graphics editor for web design.
Adobe XD is clearly a very good program for designing websites, but understanding why each feature is so great will help you discover the potential of XD. By fully understanding what XD offers, you will be able to decide whether XD or another program is best for any web designing needs.
What is Adobe XD?
Before we get into the details of Adobe XD, it is helpful to understand what it is. That way, knowing how it works will make a lot more sense. Adobe XD is not just another Adobe program with a different collection of features and functions, it is a whole new way of designing that is more suited to the specific job of web design. Adobe XD is made up of three important elements that make it so capable of web designing. These elements are vector graphics, a good user experience, and wireframing.
Adobe XD, at its base, is a vector graphics editor. Vector graphics are images on a computer made from many points on a 2-dimensional plane with coordinates. Each point has its own set of coordinates, and each point is connected by lines and curves to make shapes.
The greatest benefit of vector graphics is that they maintain the data and quality of a graphic regardless of the size it is stretched to. Vectors can be scaled up or down with no warping or pixelating. Vector graphics will always look sharp & clean without blur, no matter what size or resolution you view them in.
The user experience is the next important part of why this program is good at what it does. Adobe prides itself on the user experience of XD, which is precisely the goal of XD. Adobe XD has tons of tools that make it easy to design websites and more. These include tools to quickly sketch wireframes and mockups, create high fidelity designs, collaborate, and prototype.
Wireframing is a part of both being vector-based and the user experience of XD. A website wireframe is like a blueprint for website design. It functionally is the skeleton for a website because it includes the functionality and placement of each element without adding any final typography, color, or graphics. The wireframe helps build a better website by mapping out the website before filling it with content.
You can present the wireframes as mockups when you show your ideas to clients. They can see how the website will look structurally with layouts along with navigation and hierarchy. In Adobe XD you can show them the wireframe and collaborate with them for feedback, make changes, and continue to the next step with prototypes.
Now that we understand all of the basic elements that make up Adobe XD, we can go into detail about why it is such a good program for designing websites. This section also includes the practicality of each feature.
Made for Web Design
Adobe XD was specifically made for web design. While some web designers have used Photoshop and Illustrator to design their websites in the past, these programs are heavy, require a great amount of knowledge and experience to navigate, and are not intended specifically for web design. Because the existing Adobe programs were not quite cutting it for web design, Adobe released a beta version of XD that has continued to be updated and improved so that it is the web design machine that it is now.
This reason is just a precursor to the rest of the reasons XD is so qualified to help people design websites, but it is definitely the most important. Being made for web design is the obvious and crucial first step for Adobe XD being a good program for web design. The following three elements I cover that makeup Adobe XD are what make it so good for web design.
The vector base of this program makes editing vector files and graphics, which are best for simple images in web design, much easier. This alone is a great reason for web designers who use a lot of simple illustrations, animations, and graphics to use Adobe XD.
Adobe uses artboards in a lot of its programs to help creators design different elements in a single file. An artboard allows the designer to try out different ideas for the same page with an easy-to-follow organizational structure. It also allows the designer to see how cohesive each page of the website is altogether. Because of the wireframing feature, these artboards are automatically organized in a way that makes the designing process easier and more user-friendly. They have artboards and layouts for any kind of website, including mobile.
One of the most coveted features of Adobe XD is how lightweight it is, especially for a design program. Other Adobe programs that designers have used to design websites like Photoshop and Illustrator are much heavier data wise which makes them take longer to load and are more difficult to send across a team.
By using vector graphics instead of raster graphics, which take up more data because it needs to use data to render all of the necessary pixels, XD runs faster and performs better which greatly increases the user experience.
Collaboration is made possible by the lightweight platform on XD enabling people to comment and edit work without the overwhelming complexity of heavier web design programs that may be more intimidating. So those who may only have a role as a critic or client rather than being an actual designer can easily contribute feedback to make the work much better.
Lastly the lightweight platform of XD has made it possible for a mobile application that can be used to test all prototypes. This is essential to any web design that wants to be done correctly in order to succeed online today and in the future.
The XD files that are saved onto a device are significantly smaller than any Photoshop file. They send over email easily instead of requiring a cloud, as many other web designing programs do. To achieve this type of lightweight data, XD does not have the plethora of tools and features that Photoshop does, but it does not need them. Adobe XD includes all of the necessary features to design an effective and thorough website without being bogged down by features unnecessary for the job.
The intuitive user interface is such an important feature of Adobe XD. Without the easy-to-use toolbars and interface designing something as complex as websites and apps would be difficult.
In any program, website, or app, user experience is a huge factor to consider. When any software like this has a poor user interface, a direct outcome is a poor user experience. When users have lots of issues with the program, they are much more likely to look for a different program to fulfill their needs. The same goes for web design programs as there is competition between Adobe XD and similar programs. This competition makes having a great user experience extremely important.
The ease of wireframing is such an important part of Adobe XD’s UI. As explained before, wireframing is a blueprint for a web designer to follow for a web page. The UI recognizes the elements of the wireframes, so it can provide relevant tools for each element on the right side consistently.
XD also uses technology that is content aware helping the user align all of their desired elements on the page in a pleasing fashion relative to existing elements already in the file. This saves time that would be wasted adjusting and calibrating things to line up so users can focus on the actual web design.
Prototyping is one of the most important parts of web design. It is a necessary function that allows the designer to see how the website will look and function without uploading or rendering it to the internet. A prototype is a high-functioning mock-up of a website meant to show the designer how the flow of the website will be to the user. This step of prototyping prevents the designer from building the website and then noticing major, unfixable problems.
The purpose of mentioning prototyping as an important part of web design is to highlight a feature of XD that not all web design programs have. Adobe XD has the prototyping feature conveniently set within the program. These prototypes can show transitions between screens and how animations look on the site.
Including prototyping within the program is such a great benefit because it negates the need for a separate prototyping program and the hassle of sharing the project with different programs. This feature is one of the most highly praised features of XD as it also allows for easy sharing to a supervisor and allows for comments to be made on the document which leads to our next point.
Adobe XD was not only made with the designer in mind; it was made with the whole team in mind. XD has so many features that make sharing and collaboration much easier so the whole team can easily be involved in the design process. Features like smaller files, easy feedback, and built-in prototyping make collaborating with a lot of people quick, easy, and painless.
The greatest and most helpful sharing feature of XD is how small the files are. Like explained before, vector graphics are responsible for the small, easy-to-share files that are unique to XD. Because the vector graphics do not take up nearly as much data as raster graphics would, the files created in XD are much smaller (so small they can be shared through email).
Adobe XD knows how important it is for a team of designers and programmers to communicate with each other. They have considered this fact and implemented ways for commenting on shared documents. If a URL is shared with someone and commenting is enabled by the original owner, the person that receives the document can make comments as needed and the sender can receive those comments quickly and make the necessary changes.
The built-in prototyping comes in handy with collaborating with a team as well. While it is very easy to send the original file to anyone who needs to see it, prototyping can make this even easier. Instead of having all of the editing tools available to the recipient, the owner can send a prototype, which is a more accurate representation of the website anyway, to a team member, and it will be even easier to send and work with than the original file.
For more information on Adobe XD visit the official page here.
Why People Prefer XD
There are so many other web design programs out there besides Adobe XD. Some are within the Adobe creative cloud, while others are from completely different companies. Programs like Photoshop and Illustrator have been used by many designers to design websites. A program called Sketch is one of the top competitors to Adobe XD. Even though there are plenty of other alternatives to Adobe XD, designers still choose to use it over and over again. Why is that?
The Program keeps Improving
Adobe XD was not always the web design force that it is now. It was once a program with the very basic features of web design and few people enjoyed it. However, the developers of Adobe XD have made many improvements to the program and continue to do so. With the improvements, more and more people have switched over to Adobe XD because they recognize that it will keep getting better.
As even more proof of the developers’ desire to make the program better, they have created a forum where people can post their feature requests for XD. They want to hear what their users have to say and have given them a specific place to express any concerns and desires for the program.
It is Free*
Adobe XD is a free* program! While professional use costs money, personal use had been made free so that designers can see if they like it or not. As it is free, some features are limited but the program works the same way for the most part. Some of the most important limits are only having two PDF exports and one shared link, for more info and to download the free version go to Adobe’s website. Adobe XD being free has made it more popular than other more expensive programs for beginners.