After watching a session on Adobe XD at the Adobe Max conference, I realized that their program has a lot more features and functionality than some product designers have given it credit for. As a Designlab student, I’ve been urged to use Figma or Sketch for most assignments. I consider myself a life-long Adobe Creative Suite user and I decided I should give XD a chance. So I participated in their December two-week series of creative challenges. See all my challenge designs here.
Goals for completing the challenges:
- Learn more about Adobe XD tools and workflow
- Challenge myself to make design presentations quickly
- Create content for my social profiles
Honestly, I was not perfect in sticking to the daily schedule. However, I did complete every project in less than a day and finished all posts by the last day of the series. Everything made was quick and dirty, and didn’t get the opportune fortune of going through a legit UX design process.
Let’s be clear that these are really UI projects because it’s not based on user research and I did not have that much time to fully ideate the user experience. With that said — I still came up with product concepts that I think could make for quality products, if more time could be dedicated to the user experience design.
Favorite product ideas designed for the challenge:
- PhotoOpp — an app for finding photo opportunities in a city
- Inked — an augmented reality app for visualizing tattoos on your body
- Poppin’ — a streaming app to watch shows with friends
How the challenges work
Each day a new challenge was announced on the Behance website with a short description and downloadable XD design file. The challenges had specific tools that I had to use or specific features that I had to include, such as create a slide-out menu using component states.
At 2:00PM PT, a live video host would walk viewers through how to use XD to complete the challenge. Their design solution isn’t meant to be replicated exactly but instead, be the inspiration for any design. I tried to adapt the teachings to more unique product ideas.
Note: Sometimes I missed the live show, but recordings are available to watch afterward.
Shoutout to Howard Pinksy for creating and leading this series of design webinars. Sometimes it was simplest things like showing me how to make a 3D location pin that was most educational about a challenge. Overall, I really enjoyed seeing his workflow and how he made certain interactions or transitions happen. He also showcased a few XD plugins that I found very useful like Icons 4 Design, UI Faces and Repetor.
Most interactions I already knew how to do on Figma, but certain things such as creating hover states seem easier to accomplish on Adobe XD.
My process for the challenges
I created designs for the challenge in Adobe XD, but created a template for my social posts in Figma. I know this seems counterintuitive, but I found Figma easier to transfer my design files from project to project. I also created video mockups using MokupFrames or Adobe Photoshop.
Unexpected results of doing the challenges
- Adobe XD reposting my work on Twitter
- Designers following my social accounts
It was encouraged by Behance to join and post my designs on Discord. However, I never got much feedback from the channel. So I also posted my work directly on Twitter and Instagram. I was surprised once Adobe XD started taking notice and reposting my designs. Other designers started following me on Twitter and Instagram whenever they reposted a design.
Reflection of Challenge experience
I’m grateful that these creative challenges exist in a format that allows me to learn, challenge myself, and create content. I feel that Adobe XD is a great product and offers unique features like 3D transform. The main shortcoming of these challenges is how it doesn’t emphasize the importance of user experience, accessibility or user needs in the design. Therefore, I looked at it as an opportunity to play around and test my visual design skills.
In the future, I’d like to take part in more challenges such as hackathons or design sprints that test more of my design thinking for a solution. Post in the comments any suggestions of challenges I should take on next!