Adobe Launches User Experience Design Tool

Adobe XD, formerly known as "Project Comet," is a new user experience design and prototyping tool for building mobile apps and websites.


Adobe today announced a preview of Adobe Experience Design CC (Adobe XD), the company's user experience (UX) design and prototyping solution formerly known as Project Comet.

Adobe first demonstrated Project Comet at its Adobe MAX conference in October. The tool is aimed at design and development shops that are tasked with turning out a constantly growing number of mobile applications and Websites. The prototyping tool simplifies and accelerates mobile app development.

Adobe Experience Design (XD) is available as a free download to anyone with an Adobe ID, and Adobe officials said they expect the first commercial release to be available for Adobe Creative Cloud members later this year.

This first preview release for Mac OS is available now, with a Windows version coming later this year, Andrew Shorten, director of product management for UX Design at Adobe, wrote in a blog post on the release. Interested parties can use Adobe XD for free during the preview period, downloading it from or through the Creative Cloud desktop app, he said.

Shorten said Adobe received input from more than 5,000 designers as part of its pre-release program for Adobe XD, and the company is hoping to get even more feedback from the public release. He said Adobe's goal is to deliver an end-to-end solution for experience design in partnership with the UX design community.

"We've seen how designers think beyond just the visual design of a Website or app, but also on optimizing and improving the overall user experience," he wrote.

Moreover, "Adobe XD makes it easy to undertake wire framing, visual design, interaction design, prototyping, previewing and sharing, by bringing together the tools you need for experience design into a single solution," Shorten said. "We're starting by delivering a basic set of tools in each of those areas, with the feedback we receive helping to determine the ultimate set of features that you need, while continuing to ensure we don't compromise on delivering amazing performance and a comfortable design experience."

The Adobe XD preview features focused design tools to create wireframes, screen layouts and production-ready artwork, as well as prototyping tools to define flows, triggers and transitions, Shorten said. It also features built-in sharing capabilities for users to create a video recording of their prototype or share a link to an interactive prototype hosted on Creative Cloud. In addition, there is support for bringing in existing assets from Adobe's Photoshop, Illustrator and Sketch products. And the tool is fast, enabling users to create projects that bring together complex designs for Web, mobile, tablet, watches and more, without any slowdown, he said.

"You can take advantage of vector drawing tools for rapid design and layout, make interactive prototypes, and preview them in real time on a device," wrote Colene Chow, a product marketing manager at Adobe for Creative Cloud UX products, in a blog post about the launch of Project Comet at Adobe MAX. "Because design and prototyping is in one tool, you won't waste time or re-do any work when you want to make changes."

Referring to Adobe XD as a "work in progress," Shorten said Adobe is working on adding enhanced design features to the product, including support for gradients, richer text, effects and blend modes; an improved color picker; support for working with layers; more control over the sharing of prototype links; authoring of scrollable content; micro-interactions for prototyping; real-time design preview and prototype testing on mobile devices (iOS and Android); reusability and sharing of design assets and styles, leveraging Creative Cloud libraries; an extensibility or API layer for plug-ins; and availability on Microsoft Windows 10.

A preview release on Windows 10 is expected in late 2016, he said. However, Adobe will deliver monthly updates to Adobe XD, Shorten added.

"XD positions itself very well," Marc Hemeon, CEO and founder of Design Inc., a design agency, said in a statement. "I can sketch a few ideas out, get a prototype, get it on my phone, and just very rapidly change it in real time."