19 March 2016

All We Are Saying Is Give XD A Chance

All We Are Saying Is Give XD A Chance

First things first, apologies to the late John Lennon for paraphrasing such a great song.

Adobe XD (Preview) was launched this week or to give it its full name, Adobe Experience Design. Formerly Project Comet, Adobe has now entered into the prototype market to take on established companies such as Invision’s Sketch, Balsamic, plus many others out there.

Can your baby walk yet?

StoneSEO are delighted to get to play with this tool in its infancy. Yes we provide free testing for Adobe as a result of this, but we also get to influence the development with suggestions of what features we feel are most important to help with design and development of websites and apps that we produce for our clients.

We have noticed that there have been many who have dismissed the software out of hand without giving it a chance. Declaring what it cannot do and what it limitations are. Adobe have been upfront informing us that this is indeed a very early release and that by getting feedback they will know what to concentrate their resources on. You wont get a finished product right away, but given time, with our suggestions we should have a fantastic product on our hands. It is only by working with the software that we can inform Adobe where the software is failing us and what features work well. Adobe XD cannot run yet, it’s such a baby, that it still cannot walk without help, but that is what us as testers are there for. To help it learn to walk, run and eventually become the grown up software that we want it to be.

I remember version 1 of Indesign

I have worked in advertising and web design for over 16 years and can remember way back when whilst at an advertising agency, Adobe released a new product called Indesign to try to take on the behemoth that was Quark Xpress. After trying out their first attempts, there was not one person in the office who would swap Quark for Indesign.

The shortcuts were different, it wouldn’t work as well with certain features, it was unfamiliar and the whole of the advertising industry were using Quark and so you would have to supply Quark files to printers or other agencies. Some dismissed it outright and said that this would quickly go the way of the Dodo and that Quark is what the industry used and Quark is what the industry will always use.

But for those of us who picked it up and in our free time (sad, I know) worked through it, learning its differences and getting used to interface and nuances etc, we found that it could work alongside Quark for certain projects. From listening to feedback, Adobe kept producing updates to the software slowly chipping away at the Quark wall.

Fast forward all those years and it is surprising when you hear of companies still using Quark, as these are now in the minority. The advertising industry uses Indesign as its main software, along with Illustrator and Photoshop.

Adobe listened to its customers and fixed the bugs, implemented new features, bettered existing one and continue to do so. Do they get it right every time? No, but for most, they do a pretty fine job for us that have to produce advertising in either the printed or digital form. Be it websites, brochures, image manipulation, you know what I mean.

adobe xd prototype for scc

It’s Experience Design, not Experience Development

So what am I getting at? Well the main title says it all, Let’s work with Adobe XD, let’s give them a chance. Don’t expect it to have all the features right away. They will come.

This is not a website development tool, It is a design tool. It is not there to export directly to a finished site. If I showed my customers an extremely sophisticated prototype they would then expect the finished site to be ready almost immediately. The first stage is the design stage, then comes the development stage. If you try to merge them too early, you will miss something and that means you may not be giving your client your best work.

A prototype or mock-up is there to show basic layout and functionality. I used to sketch these on paper and talk through with the client how we envisaged the final website working and coming together. It was during these meetings that we scrapped early designs, came up with new ones and by the end of the meeting, we would know the direction the website should take.

I see Adobe XD as a two stage website design process for StoneSEO. The initial design will be the very basic boxes, text, shapes etc to show elements on a page, depending on the information the client needs displayed on their site. Once they are happy with that, it should be easy to add images, real text, maybe some interaction to show a ‘coloured-in’ version of that early mock-up. After we get the sign-off on that stage from our customer, then it is straight into putting our resources into development mode channeling our energy into coding the website, not to spend too much time in Adobe XD.




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