Elegant experiences unveiled faster, from sketch to prototype
About the same time Land Rover was gearing up for the new Defender design process, Higgs was exploring an interesting new tool in the Adobe Creative Cloud family.
“We didn’t have a quick and easy way to build a prototype in a way that integrated with our Adobe Creative Cloud tools,” he says. “When I became aware of Adobe XD in beta, it looked like a brilliant solution that would allow us to rapidly mockup prototypes integrated with all the tools we already use.”
The discovery kicked off a new era for Land Rover’s design teams that was just in time for the new Defender. The touch screen system needed to be elegant and simple, with a menu structure that puts every important function at the users fingertips. Navigation. Streaming music. Phone integration. Bespoke off-road visualization — an attribute of all Land Rovers. All the modern necessities, with the ability to customize.
“We always use technology in the service of our values, not the other way around,” says Butler. “Our goal was to create a touch screen system that would enhance the customer experience in the Defender, blending harmoniously with its surroundings.”
Higgs’ team started building working prototypes of the interface in Adobe XD, pulling together visual elements created in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Through low-fidelity prototypes, designers and other stakeholders can spot clunky, confusing, and unnecessary features from a mile away. As a result, they can quickly validate approaches and shorten the design approval process by as much as 50%.
That includes the ability to share high-level features with decision-makers across the organization. In the past, the design team might spend days or even weeks creating a demo video to show how the interactive screen could look and feel.
“Using XD, we can create demo videos with interactions in 75% less time, and we can spin up multiple versions showing different paths if we need to,” says Higgs. “XD gives us an expressive prototype that feels real. This helps us make the vision much clearer, and that makes it easier to get buy-in from stakeholders.”