The Implications of Adobe XD’s Conclusion on the Design Tools Landscape

The way website prototypes are built has undergone a change, with designers moving away from software like Adobe Photoshop and instead using niche apps like Figma. These prototyping apps have advantages such as being purpose-built for web and mobile app design, avoiding the bloat of generalized software, and some even running within a web browser.

In 2016, Adobe released XD as their take on modern prototyping, given their massive reach it seemed like a sure hit. However, things didn’t work out that way. In 2022, Adobe acquired rival app Figma, which is still facing regulatory hurdles, leaving the future of XD uncertain.

Recently, Adobe removed XD from its online product catalog, signaling the end of the product. This raises questions about why XD didn’t succeed and what it says about the state of design tools.

XD’s primary competitors are Figma and Sketch. Despite Adobe’s vast reach and existing ecosystem, XD didn’t fulfill its potential. Figma and Sketch have an engaged community and offer extensibility through plugins, which may have contributed to their success. XD’s interface may not have been strong enough to convince people to switch, and it lacked the indie vibe that Figma and Sketch had.

The demise of Adobe XD highlights that brand capital alone doesn’t guarantee success in the design tools market. Quality and community play a significant role in determining winners and losers. Designers stick with their favorite prototyping apps, even if widely available alternatives exist. This is different from traditional retail where big brands tend to dominate.

To succeed in the design tools market, playing the long game and providing a reason for designers to change their workflow is crucial. XD ran out of time to make a significant impact, while Figma and Sketch have endured due to their quality and community.

Overall, the end of Adobe XD reflects the importance of quality, community, and the need for a compelling reason to switch in the design tools market.