Adobe XD Review
Updated · Mar 24, 2022
Best for: Prototyping and web design
What Is Adobe XD?
Adobe Experience Design is a dedicated vector editor for UX designers. It offers a variety of tools for interactive prototyping and wireframing.
So, what is Adobe XD used for?
As the name hints, you can use it to craft the user experience for websites and apps. You will be able to:
- Design your web or app interface
- Test your prototypes
- Generate links, buttons, and sections
- Add interactive elements
- Apply animations
- Collaborate with teams
All in the same interface!
And the best part?
It’s a cross-platform tool. You can use Adobe Experience Design on your Windows or Mac laptop. And for extra functionality, it comes with a mobile app for iOS and Android.
But is it any good?
Let’s start our Adobe XD review with the key specs.
Adobe XD offers features for every step of the web design process.
From initial layouts to final exports, the tools are complete.
Just like in Adobe Photoshop, you can build your website elements on XD through layers and artboards.
On your canvas, you can use tools to complete your interface. Most of them are quite similar to those in graphic design software. You can add shapes, texts, menus, buttons, and more.
The Pen Tool is our favorite – it lets you draw paths and edit anchor points for extra creativity.
Once you have those elements on your artboard, you can group them into Components. Whether you’re using Adobe XD on your Mac or Windows, you can benefit from the editing convenience of this feature.
Once enabled, you can apply changes and variations to selected layers in one go. It makes editing easier and quicker!
And since it’s a vector software, your icons and objects are more scalable. While editing, their quality stays the same.
Unlike Photoshop and Illustrator, Adobe XD has no rulers. This may look like a red flag – but it’s not. Thanks to the Content-Aware setting, you won’t have to worry about consistency. It keeps all your Components intact as you add changes!
Also in this setting, you’ll find a feature called Padding and Stacks. With this, you can maintain the spacing between all the contents on your artboard. So, no more manual adjusting when you add, remove, or resize objects. This AI-powered tool keeps all elements perfectly aligned.
A wireframe is basically the blueprint of every website. It’s a technical illustration of the placement of all page elements and sections.
Designers used to sketch them on whiteboards and stencils. But with the Adobe wireframing tool, you won’t have to do that.
You can instantly execute the visualization of your website or app interface on the program. There are lots of UI wireframe templates fit for every screen size. This way, you can quickly create mockups and layouts for various devices.
Aside from designing wireframes, you can create product prototypes on XD as well. Instead of using traditional media, you can produce a realistic digital illustration of your product.
There are two modes you can work on – Design and Prototype.
In the Design mode, you can use every Adobe mockup tool we mentioned above to build your components. Once you have a complete artboard, you can proceed to the Prototype mode. This is where you can link several artboards together and add animations or interactions.
Designing interfaces have a lot of repetitive tasks, and they can be a huge drag. Luckily, the new Repeat Grid feature eliminates that hassle. In just one click, you can automate repeating elements such as data tables, carousels, buttons, photo galleries, and more.
Once enabled, you can repeat any object vertically or horizontally. It overrides the content, so you won’t have to manually change the texts, icons, images, etc. Lots of Adobe XD reviews praise this tool, and all for good reason.
Adobe is a master of 3D graphics and it shows. In XD, you can easily turn flat objects to three-dimensional elements with the 3D Transform feature. It’s a handy tool if you’re designing experiences for:
You can do this by selecting your individual Components and enabling the 3D setting. After that, just rotate and move the objects with the canvas control.
In Adobe XD, animations are a breeze. You don’t need to learn the techy tools and functions of animation software. Just use the Auto-Animate feature!
It’s an AI-powered tool that’s both intuitive and creative. With the click of a button, you can quickly add motion graphics to your UX designs.
Just group your related Components by dragging a wire. Then, you can add movement and transitions like swipe, scroll, hover and toggle, etc. Making interactive art has never been easier.
Besides Auto-Animate, you can also use Scroll Groups to bring life to your interfaces and prototypes.
With this tool, you can easily add scrollable sections to maps, charts, and dashboards – vertically or horizontally. It’s a quick way to set up interactions between your Components.
Adobe XD Interactions are truly impressive, especially when you get your hands on the voice interaction tool. Fun fact – XD is the first UX design software to offer voice functionality. And it works wonders!
With it, you can add voice commands with built-in audio and speech playback. So, you can use this program when you want to create user flows for voice assistants.
Take Alexa and Google Assistant, for example. You can prototype the voice experience in these platforms and preview them instantly.
If you’re working in teams, great news – you can use Adobe XD for collaboration. It has a Coediting feature that lets you set up work collaborations in real-time.
Just save your work in Adobe’s cloud storage to unlock the related tools. You can invite other designers, developers, and clients to work on your wireframes or prototypes.
In addition, you can create custom links for sharing your designs. It scales the viewing experience of other collaborators based on purpose. It can be design reviews, slide presentations, user tests, and more.
Aside from the Adobe XD web design tools, their document management features are impressive, too. When you need to access graphic files and their previous versions, just go to Document History. As long as your work is saved in the cloud, you can easily revisit your designs.
Both Adobe XD for Windows 10 and Mac offer a huge mix of plugins to enrich your designs. Just head over to the XD Plugins Manager!
In this window, you can search for free and paid plugins to enhance your workflow. From add-on features to complementary tools, you’ll find great options there. Some examples are:
- Anima - automatically exports prototypes to HTML
- Overflow - turns your ideas into diagrams
- UI Faces - generates avatars and profiles
- Whiteboard - provides visual collaboration tools
To use them, just click ‘Install’ and you’re good to go.
If you plan to use Adobe XD for collaboration, you can maximize its integrations for a better workflow.
It works seamlessly with other Adobe programs like Photoshop or Illustrator. If you’re using those programs to design your UI elements, you can import them to XD with a simple drag-n-drop.
Aside from the Creative Cloud, you can also integrate it with several productivity tools. If you’re using Teams, you can set up the XD + Microsoft Teams integration. There’s also a Slack integration you can use for team communication and file sharing.
Adobe XD Ease of Use
XD has a simple and straightforward interface. And it’s a pleasant surprise, considering Adobe’s rep as a pro-grade graphic creator. Its overall navigation is different from other apps in the Creative Cloud. The tools, menus, and functions, however, are quite similar.
So, if you’ve used Photoshop or Illustrator before, you’ll feel right at home using the program. The same goes for a newcomer who has zero ideas about how to use Adobe XD.
It’s light and user-friendly software. If you’ve never tried it before, but you know the basics of UI/UX design, you won’t feel lost.
The fact that you can create your projects from different presets already makes the job so easy. You can choose artboards that are crafted for specific devices like smartphones, tablets, or the web. And if you’re starting from scratch, there’s a step-by-step guide that gives you a walk-through of XD’s navigation.
Keep in mind – you need internet connectivity for registration, installation, and validation of subscription. But other than that, all the features, tools and functions work offline.
All in all, Adobe XD for PC or Mac is a good place for users on both ends of the spectrum. It’s a good place for beginners to start learning it. At the same time, it’s a handy tool for pros who want to streamline their design process with quick and easy tools.
During our tests for this Adobe XD review, we had zero issues navigating the solution.
Adobe XD System Requirements
Before using XD, it’s important to check your device's compatibility with the software.
Here are the minimum system requirements for each OS.
Adobe XD for Windows:
- Windows 10 (64-bit)
- 13 inches or larger display with 1280x800 resolution
- 4 GB of RAM (8 GB recommended)
Adobe XD for Mac:
- macOS X v10.14 or later
- 13 inches or larger display, 1400x900 resolution (Retina recommended)
- 4 GB of RAM (8 GB recommended)
Adobe XD App
Great news, mobile users – you can use XD on your smartphone or tablet. But heads up – it’s just a companion app. You can use it to preview your UI designs and test your prototypes.
For this function, there are two features you can maximize:
- Real-time Preview via USB
This tool lets you hook up multiple devices to your computer via USB. So, you get to integrate it with your mobile device.
For instance, you can work on your designs using all the tools on the desktop, and preview them instantly on all the connected mobile devices. After reading up some
Adobe XD reviews and testing it ourselves, the display is real-time, indeed.
If you’re previewing using a USB on Windows 10 though, be sure to install the latest version of iTunes on Win 10.
- Loading Adobe XD Cloud Documents
If you’re working within the cloud on Adobe XD for Mac or Windows, you can open your files on the mobile app too. You get to load previous and current designs from your desktop onto the XD app. So, you can quickly access your work in the Cloud Documents section.
iOS users can download Adobe XD for iPad or iPhone on the App store. Note that it requires an Apple iOS/iPadOS 13.0 or later. Android users can get it in the Play Store and install it on any device running Android 8.0 or later.
Adobe XD Pricing
So, Is Adobe XD free?
Well, it used to be. The XD Starter plan offered a free version with limited features, storage, and document history. That’s not available anymore. Instead, you can test the program through the 7-day free trial.
Then how much is Adobe XD?
Like other Adobe programs, there are several subscription-based plans for both individuals and teams that you can choose from:
Includes unlimited documents and editors, 30 days of Document History, 100 GB cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio access, and full font library.
Includes all-access to 20+ Adobe programs, 60 days of Document History, and 100 GB cloud storage
Includes single app features, plus onboarding webinars, admin console, advanced technical support, and one-on-one sessions with Adobe product experts.
While there is no longer an option to use Adobe XD for free forever, the limited free access is still worth a go. It gives you the opportunity to try all the tools within the 7-day trial period. All features unlocked!
Adobe XD vs Sketch
Now, to further enrich our Adobe XD review, we compared its features to Sketch – its closest rival.
Sketch is a creative software for making vector-based digital graphics. Just like XD, designers create user interfaces, experiences, and prototypes of websites and mobile apps with it. It can load file formats from XD, too, so these two art programs can work together.
They are also similar in terms of asset exports, layout grids, symbols, and styles.
You can only use Sketch on a Mac, however. Adobe XD is a little more versatile, since it can run on both Windows and macOS.
XD also has several exclusive features. Those include Auto-Animate, Repeat Grid, and Responsive Design. Real-time collaboration is also lacking in Sketch.
So, between Adobe XD vs Sketch – who wins?
The obvious choice would be XD, mainly because of the latter’s device restrictions. While Sketch is cheaper at just $99/year, the tools and features in XD have more value. And lastly, it’s lighter and easier to use compared to Sketch.
Adobe XD vs Figma
Figma is another vector graphics editor. Specifically, it’s an online graphic editor that focuses on prototyping. It offers a bunch of collaborative features as well.
Both have quite similar tools for designing prototypes. One of them is the Pen Tool, which allows you to draw paths and shapes in freeform.
Figma also has AI-powered tools, such as the Auto Layout. The program can automatically execute resizing, fitting, adjusting, etc.
Still, it doesn’t come close to XD’s interactive prototyping. The Auto-Animate and 3D Transforms tools are just some of the impressive features exclusive to XD.
So between Figma vs Adobe XD, what should you choose?
If you’re on a budget, Figma is a good alternative to XD. It has a free plan that is not as limited as Adobe’s.
It’s also worth noting, however, that Figma is web-based. You need an internet connection to use it. Besides that, it’s a standalone app, so you get minimal integrations compared to XD.
Adobe XD Review - Verdict
Is this tool worth a go?
Based on our Adobe Experience Design review experience, it definitely is. It’s extremely light and easy, which makes it a great place for budding UX designers. You can create all your web design elements – even without coding skills.
Thanks to automated tools like Repeat Grid and Auto-Animate, designing interactive prototypes is a breeze.
At first glance, it may seem a little too basic for professionals. But with the extra tools and plugins, you can enhance your workflow. With these, you can upgrade the simple interface to complex design systems.
If there’s a low point, it’s this – it doesn’t have much image editing abilities. But it’s also worth noting that it’s not a raster graphics editor.
We also dug up some Adobe XD reviews and they all feature the same complaint – the limited mobile version.
Still, it comes in handy if you want to get a real-time preview of your work. It’s just a companion app anyway, so it’s not really meant for full-on web designing and prototyping.
And lastly, in terms of pricing, there is no option to use Adobe Experience Design for free.
But ultimately, all these features prove to be a worthy investment.
Is Adobe XD good?
Tons of Adobe XD reviews praise this software because it’s fast, simple, and creative. We agree – it’s a wonderful prototyping and wireframing tool for designers. It’s vector-based, which means you can play with creative graphics without compromising the quality.
While the free version is no longer available, you can still embark on a 7-day trial.
What is Adobe XD used for?
Beginners and professionals use Adobe XD for web design. Specifically, they use it for creating a website or app’s user interface (UI) or user experience (UX). So, the program’s tools are used for designing wireframes, prototypes, animations, and more.
Is Adobe XD easier than Photoshop?
Yes. Based on our test for this Adobe XD review, this program proved much easier to use compared to Photoshop. Why? XD is a dedicated program for web interfaces and pages. Therefore, the tools are straightforward and faster to learn.
On the other hand, Photoshop has rich functionality. You can use it for all sorts of use cases, like photo editing, 3D modeling, digital painting or digital graphic designing. You can even use it as drawing software.
Nero is an all-around wordsmith with a degree in Communication Arts— not the vicious emperor you might know in history books. He's an avid reader. A frisky writer. A tech enthusiast and occasional binge-watcher. He likes long walks on the beach. Enjoys deep thinking and shallow conversations. Hates ketchup. Panic! At The Disco.
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