Alex’s background is in graphic design. As part of the marketing department, her work previously took on more traditional responsibilities such as developing brochures and designing digital assets. This was her first time venturing into Adobe XD, and the beginning of her new path in user experience design.

“The learning curve for me was really low because I was already working in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign,” Alex said. “XD is my go-to now. I still have to do some stuff in Illustrator and Photoshop, but it all works so well together that it’s really easy to build an icon in Illustrator, for example, and then bring it into XD.”

As the design process unfolded over a period of many months, her department supported her in taking a UX class through one of the local colleges in Portland. “Even since doing our website , I’ve done a kiosk design using XD for that too. I feel myself growing into UX design more and more, but it’s an organic growth.”

Collaboration and bridging the gap between design and development

Redesigning the website was a massive undertaking. Alex worked on a team of four that included a developer, a web coordinator (who documented and collected all user and stakeholder feedback), and a communications manager who made sure the team was getting the proper buy-in and that all the school’s colleges were on board. This doesn’t include the hundreds of web editors working to update the site’s content.

The first version of the new website rolled out last summer, and it’s been continuous iteration since then, with the latest version going live this month. One of the things that the team has valued most using XD as their tool of choice is the ability to work collaboratively.

“Because we’re all on Creative Cloud, we could just make little tweaks and updates as we were going. We would have meetings where I would have it open on my computer and I’d have the three of them standing behind me and we’d be like, ‘OK, well what if it looked like this instead?’ Then I’d quickly dump a new layout on an artboard right in the meeting. It was that fast. We could just see it, make a decision, and go to the next thing,” Alex said.

The collaborative elements were not just felt internally. Working on a small team with one designer and one developer, a collaborative program like XD bridges the gap by allowing the team to quickly discuss what’s possible.

“Across campus it was really collaborative because [my colleagues] could go to a presentation with different stakeholders and walk them through our prototype. Because you could click through it, it felt so real to people and it was so much more understandable than just looking at a set of wireframes. It showed the interaction between each of the pages as opposed to just looking at static stuff,” Alex said.

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