I'm trying to wrap my head around the new grid view for design specs and the way the share system is working after the release of XD 126.96.36.199. To the best of my abilities I've tried to discover the progress in this but I'm struggling. I've spoken to my co workers about it and they struggle too. To be perfectly honest none of them understands why you released it or what the purpose is. I totally agree.
Let's break this down:
Design specs / view artboards When you iterate a design project in XD you lay out the artboards in a setup that matches the user flow. At least we do here in our agency and I know it's a common structure. So you could have a strip of artboards about log-in routines at the top, followed by a set of artboards showing purchase flow below that etc. Often accompanied with text saying "Log-in" or "Purchase". I can easily have 70 artboards like that sectioned as mentioned. These documents are not linked or prototyped, they are statically showing the layout and user flow. When I share this for development (Share - Share for Development) I expect the index specs page to match the XD document so whoever sees them will understand the flow and the navigation concept, and identify this with the layout shown in countless meetings. It could be a developer, it could be stakeholders or it could actually be myself viewing that online. So, why has the design specs index changed so that it's impossible to understand the actual design? With this new grid the link to XD is totally broken and the view doesn't match the artboard setup, now every single artboard is just sitting next to each other. There's no button for me to push to change this grid view, it's not possible to re-order the artboards into groups by manually moving them (like you can in Zeplin, InVision, Avocode) and it's just chaos now! What's the purpose of this? Where's the progress? I've discussed this with my co-workers struggling daily to understand how the Adobe XD team is thinking but no one are able to identify any beneficial purpose to this.
Design specs / publish
Prior to the last update I could click the Share for Development link inside XD and all my artboards would get published to match the XD document layout, it was a bit tedious that I couldn't select artboards individually and share them for update but I was forced to share the whole document for every single change I made. This could take up alot of loading time but at least I knew that the specs page would mirror my XD document. Fine. But now with this new update in XD 188.8.131.52. NONE of the artboards gets published to specs unless i connect them together?! So I'm forced to actually link all the artboards in order for them to get trough to design specs - what's the purpose of that? Secondly it doesn't actually work that way consistently, cause there seems to be a bug that releases some of the artboards although they are not linked. I did this simple test: No artboards were linked and I shared for development. 4 out of 54 artboards were published to specs. I deleted that and repeated the action, now none of the artboards were published to specs. I did it again, now 5 of the artboards got trough to the specs page. But why did you do this Adobe? Why can't we publish anything without connecting the artboards?
Prototype / publish
If you are forcing users to link artboards together in order to get them published to the design specs page then we must make a copy of this for the actual prototype version of the user flow, cause the actual prototype is not the same as the total scope of artboards iterating in the system. So what's the purpose of merging the prototype section with the design specs? I don't want them to be the same! The specs file could contain lots of stuff that needs to be coded and shared but without being a copy of what gets prototyped. Before this new release I had my static specs layout and after iterating on that I made a separate XD document where I connected the prototype with the remaining few artboards that was actually going in the end product. With the new system this is impossible because you are forcing me to iterate these two documents simultaneously. You are saying: "you need to iterate the code review version and the final prototype together and they need to be identical." Again, where's the benefit? I hate it.
Specs and prototype CC UI
You have made a code view icon in the specs / prototype UI to separate the specs from the prototype. But you have made the comment icon as main navigation element for the prototype section. So if you wanna see the prototype press the comment icon? Why? Where's the logic in that. Why isn't it possible to comment on both? The sensible way would be to have one specs icon and one prototype icon and let people be able to comment on both. And what's up with the absent magnification / zoom function in "comment / prototype mode"? Because that is gone it's scrolling bonanza because the layout runs out of screen estate.
It's been 4 years since the product was released under the XD name. It's a cloud product posing as the "users product" with an iteration that is supposed to be based on user response, but you constantly avoid that. Your iterating the software in a way that's based on an input system (votes) but don't actually listen to users when you come up with ideas of your own. You just release stuff like we are crash test dummies. Like this new and terrible grid view for design specs for instance. Surely this is never actually tested cause NO one likes it. No developer or designer. Or the recent removal of connection references in prototype. What was that all about?! I could go and on. Instead of all these weird and useless changes and "updates" you could have for instance launched underline for text links straight from the start, instead that small and uber simple thing took several years! And there are so many examples like it. It's like your making a car without wheels and then you say "if you want wheels then go to our response site and give it a vote".
Tip: Do a poll or something next time you choose to change or reinvent stuff, that way you would avoid chaos like it is now. We are 15 designers and 29 developers here just shaking our heads in disbelief. This new release was the nail in the coffin.
I completely agree. There desperately needs to be a difference between exporting for Review and exporting for Development. There are key elements like style guides and auxilary pages that I'm consistently forced to arbitrarily link to a prototype just to get them to show up in the Dev link. That process breaks the effectiveness of the "Review" link in the process. These exports should include different artboards that can be manually selected.
Why can't we just select the artboards we'd like to "Mark for Export" (which is, in fact, an option, it just doesn't seem to have any effect on whether or not the artboard shows up in the Dev link) and then have those show up in the dev link?? Seems straight forward and then would not rely on the prototype paths in order to show up. This wonky feature is holding back buy-in for using XD more at my agency.