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Interview: How Adobe is solving experience design issues

28 Jan 2020

The digital revolution has opened up new avenues for businesses to connect with their customers. 

At the same time, customers can get to know businesses without being constrained by traditional physical limitations such as distance and exposure. 

With any company just a Google search away, loyalty is now dependent on brand recognition and customer experience.

Techday spoke to Adobe XD product management director Cisco Guzman about how his team creates features to solve the challenges faced by today’s experience designers. 

Tell us a little bit about your role.

As a director of product management, my responsibility is, first and foremost, to make sure that customers are at the centre of everything we make. 

So whether it's working with product managers or designers or engineers, what we're all trying to do is to have absolute clarity on the problems that customers are having.

I think the secret to really solving them right is to listen for those implied needs and to truly understand what causes pain and friction.

In fact, if there's only one thing that you do as a product manager, it's that you should be listening and asking questions.

With the latest features introduced in Adobe XD, which one you most excited about?

Co-editing is the one that I would go with simply because as design and development become a more open, transparent process that many different stakeholders, contributors, and other designers are involved in, co-editing fundamentally shifts how design happens because one of the things that we know about design is that when you expose an idea to a group and to other individuals, the idea gets bigger, better, and stronger.

So what co-editing and enables designers to do is to riff on one another's ideas, to watch how other individuals are solving problems. 

This is a really sophisticated approach to something that otherwise would be really difficult to do, which is to get into how somebody is working.

What are some of the common user experience (UX) challenges designers face?

The three big problems or challenges that we hear designers constantly talk about. The first is the idea of moving quickly. Speed, time to market is incredibly important.

Yet at the same time, you have designers constantly needing to do more with less, it almost feels like there's this pressure to deal with the problem of content velocity, this notion that you need to do more, and that everything that you do scales across many platforms. 

I think the next challenge is the challenge and the opportunity of collaboration. No designer is an island, and I think what ends up happening is that we all know that sharing makes an idea better. 

But at the same time, it can actually feel like it's more work.

The third one has to do with this idea of scaling and everything that organisations are trying to do is dependent upon their ability to scale. 

For example, if I'm trying to scale design across my organisation, having XD as my platform makes sense because it scales across Windows and Mac natively. 

It allows me to create shared prototypes on the web. 

So I can move design through the entire organisation quickly. If I'm a designer, scale is important, because if I'm working on this one component as a part of my design system, I want other people to be able to leverage it, but they have to be able to customise it and override it. 

And so at every level of design, there is this question of scale and how every action that a designer takes multiplies, and you have to get this multiplying effect so that it's saving time down the road for everyone involved. 

I feel like those are the three pressures most customers talk about.

Is XD available on mobile?

XD is available on iOS and Android as companion applications. Essentially, on the desktop surface, you can design and prototype. 

And then when you launch the app on your phone, you can live preview by connecting via USB. 

So you actually get all of your design changes occurring in real-time. 

All of your interactions like tap states, and whatnot, are all available on mobile. 

It allows you to access all of your cloud documents so if you've saved something, and then you go out into the market and you wanted to user test something, it allows you to leverage that file natively inside of iOS and Android.