As the future of work trends towards a more distributed future, staying connected throughout the design process may become an increasingly difficult task. Thanks to Live Coediting and the Whiteboard Plugin in Adobe XD, teams can continue to ideate together, even from a distance. Bringing teams together early on in a project is an important part of the ideation, and problem solving stages of design. In this guide, we’ll explore how to leverage the Whiteboard plugin alongside Live Coediting to brainstorm, sketch, and workshop design projects with your team.
What is Live Coediting?
Live Coediting brings the ability to work synchronously, within a single document, to Adobe XD. Working in real-time with colleagues on a single design document allows teams to work in unison, and keep ideas flowing throughout the design process.
Live Coediting is a feature in Adobe XD that leverages cloud documents to provide a real time collaboration experience for distributed teams. Coediting can be enabled on a cloud document by clicking the invite to collaborate icon, and inviting team members with their Adobe ID.
Collaborators can then interact with the document, leveraging the full tool set of Adobe XD. As they’re working, avatars will appear in the top right to indicate the associated colors for each collaborator. On canvas, selections made by collaborators will be indicated with bounding boxes of the corresponding colors.
What is the Whiteboard plugin?
The Whiteboard plugin was designed and developed by the Adobe International Design team as a way of bringing teams together, remotely, for ideation, brainstorming and whiteboard exercises. The plugin features a number of exercise templates from journey maps, to personas, and the lean business canvas.
Each template includes usage instructions and comes equipped with shortcuts for editing post-it notes, and other visual elements within the templates. The best part is, these exercises can take place directly in Adobe XD, adjacent to the rest of your design work.
To get started with your first real time collaboration document, start by opening a cloud document in Adobe XD. By default, any new file created in XD will open as a cloud document, so all you need to do is select the artboard preset you wish to use.
Once the new file has opened, navigate to the Invite to Document button in the top right corner of the interface. Clicking that will reveal a popover with a form to invite people to the document using their Adobe ID. If the document hasn’t been saved, it will first prompt you to save the document to the cloud.
With collaborators invited to the cloud document, Live Coediting is enabled and collaboration can begin as soon as others join the document. To ensure a flawless experience, ensure all collaborators are on the latest major version of Adobe XD.
As collaborators accept the invitation and join the document, their avatars will appear next to the invite button in the top bar of the interface with an accompanying ring of color. As collaborators navigate the document a live cursor will be displayed with their avatar and associated color so you can quickly see who is where in the document. When collaborators make selections, a bounding box matching their color ring will also be shown.
With collaborators now in the document, you can begin working together on designing, prototyping, and creating amazing experiences.
Starting a whiteboard session
To kick off a brainstorming session, it is best if all collaborators install the Whiteboard plugin to access the tools for color, and adding elements, however, only one collaborator needs to have it installed to generate the templates and assets. Since the templates are all vector elements, they can be edited like any XD element on canvas.
Open the Whiteboard plugin from the plugin panel on the left, and select the Templates tab if it isn’t already selected. Select a template from one of the sections by clicking on it. The template will then build and appear on canvas once generated. Just like any artboard, it can be selected and moved around the canvas.
If you’re working with a team, it may be helpful to utilize Whiteboard with Coediting while on a joint video conference, so that you can have discussions while working through the exercises. Sharing a screen isn’t necessary, but the voice and video can make remote collaboration sessions operate more efficiently. The Zoom plugin for Adobe XD can help make this process more efficient.
Working with workshops
Depending on the activity you’re trying to achieve, if your team is new to the exercises, you may want to make use of the Workshops feature in Whiteboard. Workshops provide a curated selection of templates which provide objectives and a direction on how to complete. This is great if your team is endeavouring out on a design sprint, or kicking off a project to define product direction.
To enable a workshop, simply navigate to the bottom of the Whiteboard plugin panel, and select Workshop next to How to Use. From there a panel will open from the top allowing you to select one of four workshops. Clicking Get Started will begin generating the included templates on canvas.
Follow along, completing the templates in the order they were created on the canvas to complete the workshop. Like other templates, instructions are included in a sticky note in the top right corner of the artboard to help guide the team. Since Coediting is enabled, the whole team can participate in the process as if you were all present in front of a physical whiteboard.
Templates to get you started
If you’re looking to start with a simple activity, or have a particular goal in mind, starting with a template can be a great way to get started.
From the templates tab, there are many different options available, including Journey maps, and business canvases. To help you kick things off, here are a couple of popular templates to look for.
Customer Journey Map
The customer journey map is a great template for documenting the experience of your customers, or users throughout the lifecycle of the product. This could be directed broadly on the end to end experience, or focused more closely on a particular aspect or workflow within the product experience. Leveraging customer journeys can help you map out effective solutions.
This exercise aims to document user sentiment, thoughts and feelings in order to create a narrative around the experience of interacting with a product or service.
The design thinking exercise provides the outline for taking a design led strategy approach to projects. It includes a series of questions covering topics from the people involved, to the impact of the project. As a team, use the sticky notes to fill in responses to the questions using Coediting.
This exercise is beneficial when designing taxonomies, search and navigation structures, as it helps you understand how people perceive the grouping of information. Starting with the cards on the left, team members fill in topics, related to the project, that they believe are relevant. On the right, categories are created in the blue boxes, and collectively as a team, the stickies are moved into the categories that relate most closely. Once again, using Coediting, teams are able to do this in real time, together, from anywhere around the world. Learn more about card sorting and try it out with your team.
Whether you’re working with a team across multiple geographies, or coming together in a location and working through design exercises, collaborating in Adobe XD using the Whiteboard plugin is a great way to ideate together, and keep everything in one centralized location.
As your team continues developing the product or idea, having the Whiteboard templates accessible, and visible side by side with design work makes it easy to reference. Leveraging multiple flows, sharing out these workshop files alongside finalized or wireframe designs is easy too. However your team works together, design is better together.