Adobe brings ‘all-in-one’ solution for quickly designing websites and mobile apps

Updated on September 27, 2016: While still in preview, Adobe issued a significant update to Experience Design this week that brings several new features. The primary addition is the ability to preview content on a computer and a phone simultaneously, thanks to iOS and Android companion apps. Multiple phones can be connected to a computer at the same time, and changes made in Experience Design are displayed on all devices in real time. Currently, the apps are only available for phones, with tablet support coming in the near future.

Other new features include improved resizing which can now lock the aspect ratio of an object on the canvas, a new keyboard shortcut to quickly zoom to any selection, new slide transitions, a friendlier user experience, and more. For details, head over to the Adobe blog.

Updated on March 17, 2016: Less than a week after Adobe announced Experience Design, the design beta has had more than 75,000 downloads and trended across the Twittersphere. In 48 hours since launch, Adobe already received numerous feedback – a key reason why the company launched the preview in advance.

“The most popular feature requests are: layers, grids and guides, scrollable areas for prototypes, and an improved color picker,” wrote Adobe’s Damian Borba in a blog post. “I’m happy to report that these features are really well aligned with our backlog of features to land soon. This is great validation with the broader public audience, and it maps back to our private pre-release program where 5,000 UX designers helped us define what features we needed for the coming months.”

Borba added that a team is working on a version for Windows. He says Adobe is choosing a multi-platform approach (versus cross-platform) so that the software can take advantage of each operating system’s best native capabilities, and that XD is the first Adobe software to be developed in real-time based on user feedback.

The preview is free for all to try out, and Adobe is encouraging users to keep the feedback coming via Twitter or the forum. Read the original story below for details on the new program.

Last October, Adobe gave a glimpse of a new vector-based design application, code-named Project Comet, for creating websites and mobile apps with dynamic user experiences and interfaces. On March 14, Adobe unveiled the official name, Experience Design (XD) CC, and is making a preview (unfinished) version available to all UX designers. It’s available now as a free download for Mac OS X (10.10 or later, and Adobe ID required), followed by iOS, Android, and Windows 10 versions at a later date. Adobe says commercial release is scheduled for later this year, but adds that the roadmap is contingent on user feedback. Project Comet/XD seems to be Adobe’s evolution of the discontinued Fireworks application.

Unless your job involves designing websites and apps, XD will have little use for most consumers. With that said, even users unfamiliar with UX could start building as it doesn’t involve coding. For designers, however, XD lets you quickly design and prototype by using tools and workflows similar to those in other Adobe CC applications. It lets users build apps and websites on the fly, and easily update them when required. Designing happens in real-time, and users can share their interactive prototypes (with animation) with the public. With XD Preview, a step-by-step file familiarizes users with the software, as well as tutorials and a set of UI kits; a forum has been set up via Adobe’s website for more info. (An FAQ can be found here.)

“This first Preview release includes focused and intuitive design and layout tools; a dedicated prototype mode for defining interactive hotspots and transitions; desktop preview mode for testing prototypes and seeing changes in real-time; and built-in sharing that enables stakeholders and teams to access prototypes in their browser, on the desktop or from mobile devices,” Adobe says. “Designers are able to bring in existing assets from Adobe Illustrator CC and Adobe Photoshop CC, key desktop apps essential to UX design workflows and once designs are finalized, assets can be easily exported to developers for production work.” Down the road, expect to see tighter Illustrator and Photoshop integration and support for CC Libraries and Adobe Stock.

Check out the in-depth tutorial video below, which gives you an idea of how an XD workflow works.

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