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Design Specs
Design Specs

New Software Spotlight: Adobe XD, May 2018

Adobe has just released the latest version of Adobe XD with the expectation that, as a product, it will become as big, if not bigger than Adobe Photoshop, and with the understanding that user experience (UX) design is redefining work as we know it. Adobe is pushing it forward within the industry because, according to the company, design drives everything from customer service to product development, so developers are in high demand.

Designers’ jobs have become more complex because of all of the intricacies of creating content across so many devices and screens, as well as the great expectations that we all have when using these devices. When you add the new technologies that are coming down the pipe such as augmented reality, it is no wonder there is a need for products like Adobe XD. Adobe has positioned this product not as just a UX design tool, but as a platform to build upon to address future needs as they are rolled out. It is designed to work with other Creative Cloud tools as well as third party tools and other UX/UI design tools like Sketch.

Adobe is focusing XD on three main goals for the rest of this year: extensibility, advanced prototyping animation, and collaboration. XD was developed with the help of working designers using a free beta platform, and continues to be developed with designers working with the product on a daily basis. Now, though, Adobe wants to work with those who can build on top of the XD platform to take it to the next level.

Swap Symbols
Swap Symbols

On May 15 Adobe announced the Adobe Fund for Design program. This provides up to $10 million in grants and investments to build a network of development for Creative Cloud, starting with Adobe XD. Open to individuals, small companies, and teams that are already building products, it’s meant to encourage development of tools and services such as plugins and other interfaces to XD. Visit the Fund for Design page to find out more or to apply.

The next announcement concerns the Adobe XD Starter Plan. This is a free version of Adobe XD for Mac or PC that will give you tools to design, prototype, and share features on the desktop, the web, or mobile devices. You get all of the features that you would for a paid version (either single app priced at $9.99/month, or Creative Cloud All Apps priced at $52.99/month) with the limitation that you can have only one active shared prototype, one active shared design spec, 2GB of cloud storage, and a limited Typekit font set. To sign up or to learn more visit the Adobe XD CC page.

Paste Multiple Artboards
Paste Multiple Artboards

What is new with Adobe XD for May 2018?

• XD has been updated to better integrate with Adobe Photoshop CC so that you can transfer stroke and image effects and import PSD files faster.

• The way Sketch files are opened is much improved. They retain more of their features, such as global color styles. Text position placement and symbol and page separation are improved.

• You can now find and replace all the occurrences of a symbol at one time using a drag-and-drop feature to drop the new symbol from the assets panel onto the one you want to replace.

• You can password-protect your design specs so that you have control over who sees them.

• You can copy and paste an object on to a variety of artboards and have it retain its original position, allowing you to manage multiple artboards in a consistent manner.

Adobe continues to evolve the product to make it more usable and more productive for the end user. The best thing about this release is that you can get it for free to see if it works for you.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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