Nova Fisher has worked within communications with Xara for over 15 years. She has previously founded and managed some successful early-to-market businesses including an internet service provider (ISP) which was founded in 1994, and the creation of one of the earliest online web authoring solutions in 1996, that enabled anyone to create a professional website without the need for any design or technical skills.
In this interview, Nova talks about the new Xara Designer Pro X product.
Geetesh: Nova, Xara Designer Pro X365 is the newest version of an amazing, capable graphic program—but with so many features already built-in, how do you decide which features you will introduce in a new version?
Nova:It’s a combination of customer requests and features that we want to see ourselves. We all use the program a lot of course, and so there are always ideas for new features and improvements - in fact, we always have way, way more ideas and wish list items that we can do. And that's part of the reason we went to the 365 update model, which means no more yearly releases with a ton of features in, but more regular updates, maybe three or four a year, so users do not have to wait a whole year to get new features or a new version..
Geetesh: Can you tell us about Xara SmartShapes? Also, tell us about your favorite idea that involves SmartShapes.
Nova: SmartShapes are a very useful range of everyday shapes that users can drop right into their documents or website and then edit in a simple and intuitive way. The dimensions of the SmartShape can be adjusted and also it will automatically stretch or contract as more or less text is included. For example, with the Speech Bubble, the edit handles enable users to change the dimensions of the bubble, add curvature, control the text area, and also tweak the size and orientation of the bubble's arrow.
SmartShapes include Speech Bubbles, Arrows, Text boxes, Polygons, Stars, and many other shapes. New in Xara Designer Pro X365 are more complex objects, such as smart charts for percentage ring, bar chart and column charts. It’s amazingly quick and easy to add these professionally designed SmartShapes to a document or website.
I find the SmartShapes extremely useful, in particular, the Text Panels and Photo Panels that contain text and photos. I just enter my text /photo and the panel adjusts accordingly or I can select one of the side or corner handles and stretch or reduce, or change the shape and rotate it as required. I use them on my websites, leaflets, and posters. The Speech Bubbles are really useful when annotating a document or drawing. It’s so easy to change the curvature and direction of the pointer.
Geetesh: What are Smart Photo Grids?
Nova: ‘Smart’ Photo Grids smartly resize to fill the rectangles as photos are added or deleted, and users can swap the positions of the photos, adjust the number of rows and columns and the border / gap between all the photos. Xara also provides ‘Static’ Photo Grids that are simple, fixed, visually attractive grids of photos onto which users can drag & drop their own photo.
Geetesh: What makes Xara Designer Pro X so powerful?
Nova: Xara Designer Pro X is the ultimate all-in-one creative software, that provides powerful vector illustration, photo editing, page layout and website design, in one unrivalled WYSIWYG design tool.
At its heart, Xara Designer Pro X is a vector-based program, and unusually, uses vector graphics even for editing photos. This has significant benefits in that all the edits are retained, everything is resolution independent and it is object orientated editing. So a user can revert to the original at any stage of editing.
By combining all these tools in one program, Xara Designer Pro achieves faster performance with no program switching, lower memory and computing requirements, an easier learning curve, higher productivity and significantly better value for money.
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