Update on Project Comet — where we are and what’s to come.

Earlier this year at Adobe MAX, we announced a new end-to-end solution for UX designers, code-named Project Comet. Unveiling a new product to the world is a daunting experience, but following the announcement we were excited by the level of interest in Project Comet! I think we’ve read every tweet, comment, post or article about Project Comet, and the overwhelming desire for Adobe to craft a tool that was purpose-built for UX designers has been incredibly motivating for us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Project Comet — we really appreciate it.

I wanted to take a moment to update you on our progress as we aim towards a public beta in early 2016 and also provide details on how we’re using your feedback to help define the product as we continue to deliver Project Comet over the course of the year.

Collaborating to create Project Comet

Before announcing Project Comet, our team was fortunate to be able to spend time with some amazing UX designers based all over the world. These meetings helped to validate our ideas and give us early feedback on the combination of design, prototyping and sharing features.

While we love the positive reactions, we’re really interested in the insightful questions and constructive criticism that challenge our assumptions or explore the nuances of how a particular feature should work.

We’re actively using a private pre-release program to share alpha builds of Project Comet and get feedback on specific features. Over the coming weeks we’ll be expanding the program, so we can get more feedback in advance of our public beta. If you’re interested in collaborating with our team you can let us know you’re interested by completing this quick survey. If you’ve already applied then please be patient with us as we process applications and send invites out over the coming weeks.

Partnering closely with designers who are using the product is really important to us. In the coming months we’ll be adding public discussion forums and a public feature request/issue tracking system. We’ll also share the product roadmap so you can see and provide feedback on Comet’s future.

Early 2016 release

Early next year we aim to deliver a public beta that contains the core of Project Comet’s end-to-end workflow for designing and prototyping user experiences, initially focused on mobile app design. While the exact feature set is subject to change based on feedback from our pre-release customers, we’re currently planning to provide:

  • Focused design and layout capabilities, including drawing, combining and editing shapes and paths, editing and styling text, working with gradients and shadows
An early look at combining shapes in Project Comet
  • Copying and pasting vector artwork from Illustrator and bitmap content from Photoshop into Project Comet, in addition to importing PNG, SVG, JPG and GIF images
  • Quick access to a set of common UI elements that can be used to accelerate design for mobile apps
  • Dedicated prototyping mode for defining interactive hotspots and transitions between artboards
  • Desktop-based preview mode for testing prototypes and seeing design changes in real-time
  • Built-in sharing that enables team members and clients to access your prototype in their browser on desktop or mobile
An early look at sharing prototypes directly from within Project Comet
  • Exporting artboards and assets ready for production use on web, iOS and Android
  • A simple way to discover features in Project Comet and become familiar with keyboard shortcuts for the most common tasks

Although this will be a beta, our team’s philosophy is to ensure that, even at early stages of development, every feature meets the high quality and performance bars that we normally define for a final release. So we’re hopeful that while not every feature will be in the first beta, you’ll have a fast and productive experience using Comet.

We’re planning to follow the first public beta release with ongoing updates, on a monthly basis, that refine existing features based on your feedback and that continue to add new capabilities to the tool.

Coming later in 2016

Of course, we’re not stopping with the first public beta. We have much more in the works for Project Comet over the coming year.

Below are some areas that we know we want to make progress on after the public beta release:

  • Working directly with layers in a document
  • Reusability and sharing of design assets and styles, leveraging Creative Cloud libraries
  • Specific web design capabilities to aid responsive web design and CSS style creation
  • Going beyond screen-to-screen transitions, to include support for micro-interactions and animation of elements within an artboard
  • Previewing and making edits in real-time on connected mobile devices
  • Deeper workflows with both Photoshop and Illustrator, to make it easy to use the advanced capabilities of those tools in conjunction with Project Comet
  • Making it possible to use real-world data as part of the design
  • Being able to extend Project Comet via a JavaScript API, to support plug-ins and custom workflows

We’ll experiment with some of these ideas in the public beta and others in our private prerelease program (so that we can really drill into the details).

In addition to the above features, we’ve heard loud and clear that you want us to bring Project Comet to Windows as soon as possible. We want to retain our focus on the public beta for Mac OS for now, but plan on accelerating our efforts for Windows in 2016. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

Keeping up to date

I hope that after reading this post you’re excited as we are about both the public beta and what’s to come after that. We want to build Project Comet with you, so please sign up to our email update list (we promise not to inundate you with email) to get the latest information and for opportunities to join one of our pre-release programs.

You can also follow us on Twitter @AdobeUX and talk with the team anytime using #ProjectComet. We love to hear from you.