Design | 7 min read | 01/05/2017

A year with Adobe XD. Am I in love? Part 2

In this post I’m going to outline the issues I currently have with Adobe XD. At the time of writing this, XD is still in Beta mode so it may well be that these issues get resolved but for now these are my beefs! If you haven’t already, please read part 1 of this blog as that lists all the pros of XD.

Room for improvement

XD is great but it’s not perfect! No software is. Below are a few things that get my goat. Let’s hope with regular updates some of these bugbears will be resolved.

Symbols

A symbol is an object that can be reused multiple times across artboards in your document. For example, I make a blue button and I turn it into a symbol, I can then copy that button as many times as I like. If I decide I want to change the colour of the button from blue to green I only need to change the colour of the symbol to make a global update all over the document.

This is a nice feature but I’d like it to be expanded. I’d like to give a symbol different states. What does that blue button look like if I hover over it or click it? If I could add states to the symbol that would be very useful.

Why does my symbol library have to be localised to the one document? If I had a global symbol library I could change the colour of my blue button across multiple documents.

Prototyping improvements

I love the prototype tool but it can be quite time consuming if you have several artboards with repeating elements. Say for example you had an e-commerce design with a breadcrumb trail. I have to manually link each breadcrumb link to each page. It would be a real time saver if I could copy and paste the breadcrumb and it would also copy the prototype links.

Animations

I’d like the prototyping tool to be taken one step further. I’d love to be able to animate elements within the program. Currently when I want to show a developer how I expect a element to interact within a design I use Principle to demonstrate it. If I didn’t have to leave XD to do it then that would streamline my process even further.

Type formatting

Why, why, why can’t I underline my text! Why just why? My current work around for this is to draw a line underneath the text. That becomes a particular nuisance when I want to change the breakpoint of the text and the line is left behind.

Live responsiveness

This is the biggest ask but would make the software invaluable to me. If I could ascribe a function to an element such as telling a rectangle to be full width with a margin of 10px to the artboard then I could resize the artboard and that rectangle would apply those rules. That would be a huge selling point.

Interesting competition

I love Adobe XD, it is a delight to work in, we have a beautiful relationship together. But I am however giving sideward glances to some very pretty competition.

Proto.io looks to have most of the same features as XD but with an added animation function with it’s prototyping tool. It also boasts a superior feedback system with integrations into UserTesting and Validately.

UXPin

UXPin also looks to have most of the features XD offers. Other pros include a library management system and CSS code generation of any elements created.

Subform

Not currently available but hopefully coming soon Subform looks to be potentially a really exciting product. It's prophesying that it will offer the holy grail of UI design - live responsive artboards!

Conclusion

Since adopting Adobe Experience Design as my design tool of choice it has probably doubled my day to day output. If you have been living under a rock for the past few years and you are still prototyping in photoshop or illustrator I would implore you to give XD a go. It’s part of your creative cloud licence so there are no extra costs.

I do think however XD has a long way to go to become the leader in this space. I think they could have capitalised on the market had they moved earlier instead of allowing competition to grow in this sector.

Am I in love with Adobe XD? Currently yes, but I’m a complex designer with nerdy needs!