Jerry Silverman

August 2, 2011

Giving Designers Access to Standards-Based Tools and Services

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I recently spoke with an Adobe customer in the Intelligence Community who wanted to dispel the myth, once and for all, that Creatives don’t dwell in Government;  “We’re not all sad, grey button-pushers here in the Public Sector!” he shouted. “There are tons of engaged, outgoing, creative people who love design!”

After touring across the country on our Roadshow, I’ve seen first-hand evidence that this is true! There has been a sea change of creativity and design-first thinking over the last few years in Government, spearheaded by the refresh of whitehouse.gov and trickling down through organizations like Sunlight Labs and Code for America. Many services like itdashboard.gov, data.gov and usa.gov provide clean, simple, forward-thinking design that bolsters engagement and usability, as well as 508 compliance! Mobile sites and apps, which are inherently usable and design-centric, have exploded across the Public Sector, with many agencies planning well ahead of the curve.

Designers face a unique challenge these days: which medium, screen, surface, platform, runtime, or browser is the most important to design for? When it comes to government, the short answer is: all of them! Constituents demand constant access to government services and data from wherever they happen to be, with whichever media or screen they happen to be confronting, and their experience of those services must be intuitive, compelling and “sticky,” in order to bring them back the next time. The “correct” design methodology for laying out a engaging, adaptable, and accessible interface that complies with the most recent standards, whether they are based in the world of paper, e-readers, motion graphics, or web browsers, is a constantly moving target.

Adobe prides itself in providing design tools and technologies that allow our customers to create exceptional standards-compliant experiences across screens and devices, and this week we are proud to unveil a few projects that we’ve been working on to help the greater design community create, learn and collaborate around new and emerging standards for the web:

1) Adobe Edge Public Preview. Designers can access the recently released Adobe Edge public preview, a new HTML5 web motion and animation tool that allows designers to do Flash Professional-like animation using web standards like HTML, JavaScript and CSS3. While in public preview, Adobe Edge will be a free download.

2) The Expressive Web beta. This new site is both a resource and showcase that highlights some of the most creative and expressive features being added to the web today. In addition to highlighting and providing information on twelve new HTML5 and CSS3 features, the site itself makes extensive use of new web standards to provide a visually compelling resource for learning more about HTML5 and CSS3.

3) Adobe Drive 3. This software enables seamless integration of a digital asset management (DAM) system with Adobe Creative Suite 5 and CS5.5 applications. Once connected to a DAM server, a creative team can access remote assets through their native operating system’s file browser, through Adobe Bridge, or from the menus of CS products that integrate with Drive:  Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and InCopy. The newest version of Drive enables connection to any DAM that implements the CMIS specification, an industry-wide standard.

In addition to these announcements, Adobe has many other projects cooking when it comes to standards compliance across the web and devices. For example, we have released a prototype of a Flash-to-HTML conversion tool codenamed Wallaby.  Check out some more of these projects on our HTML5 home page, and send your designers and web developers to our HTML5 Developer Center for the latest updates.

9:31 PM Permalink
June 13, 2011

Preparing Accessible PDFs with InDesign CS5.5 and Acrobat X Pro

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InDesign CS 5.5 greatly reduces the time and number of steps involved in creating accessible PDFs that people with disabilities can use more effectively. With InDesign CS 5.5, you can establish content reading order and add Alt Text to images right in InDesign without using the XML structure pane. Tables, nested tables, lists, nested lists, footnotes and hyperlinks now translate directly from InDesign to Acrobat. A new feature allows PDF tags to be built into paragraph styles, and improved object anchoring and export options make the entire InDesign to accessible PDF process faster, easier, and more reliable. In a brand-new, two-part video series on Adobe TV that launched today, Adobe worked with Michael Murphy, host of the InDesigner Podcast, to take an in-depth look at all of the new, and improved features in InDesign CS 5.5 that make this possible. In Part I, Michael examines the new features that greatly reduce the time and number of steps involved in creating accessible PDFs, by setting up a content order in the new Articles panel, creating anchored images within a text flow, applying all text and tagging instructions to the images, and mapping paragraph styles to PDF tags. In Part II, he works with a finished InDesign document, exports a PDF, and show how well all the new InDesign CS5.5 features pay off in Acrobat X Pro.

8:09 PM Permalink
May 30, 2011

Adobe @ the 2011 Print and ePublishing Conference

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The 2011 Print and ePublishing Conference in Alexandria, VA brought together 400+ graphic artists, visual information specialists, design and creative production managers from around the world for 3 days of learning, networking and swapping valuable industry tricks and tips. This year, a large number of US Government agencies were in attendance, including personnel from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Veteran Affairs, Internal Revenue Service, Department of State, NASA, the Defense Media Activity, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Energy, the US Office of Personnel Management, and many others.

Adobe presented multiple sessions during this conference, including an introduction to What’s New in Creative Suite 5.5 as well as a focused, day-long seminar entitled Designing for the Multiscreen Revolution: HTML5, CSS3 and the Flash Platform (.pdf). Over 300 customers attended these sessions, proving the industry hunger for best practices and tools to move them forward into the new territory of multiscreen design.

One of the hottest topics at this conference included best practices in designing for the ePub format, which is rapidly emerging as the industry standard for distribution of electronic books. As we’ve seen recently in the press, Amazon.com announced that their digital book sales have now exceeded sales of all print titles, both hardcover and paperback combined. As of April 1st, for every 100 print books that Amazon has sold (of any kind) the company moved 105 Kindle books, not including downloads of free titles. As we’ve also seen this year from multiple publishing analysts, 60% of Americans are expected to purchase a tablet device for reading purposes within the next three years. That’s over 150 million Americans! Almost every session in the 3-day outline included some form of ePub or eBook production tutorial, as publishers across the spectrum expect an explosion of devices and reading options for consumers and constituents very soon.

We were also especially honored to have Victoria Richards from SSA co-present with Greg Pisocky of Adobe Accessibility on how the new features inside InDesign CS5.5 help simplify and streamline the creation of 508-compliant PDF documents. And if you’re thinking to yourself, “I wish I’d been in that Accessibility session!” — there’s some good news for you: coming very soon on Adobe TV, we’re posting a 2-part series on all the great new workflow enhancements and productivity features that will cut your PDF remediation time from days to minutes! Keep your eyes peeled here to Government Bits for updates on that.

5:57 PM Permalink
May 17, 2011

Adobe Desktop Tools in the DoD

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Adobe’s Acrobat and Creative Suite products are ubiquitous across the DoD and Intelligence Community. Over the last few years, we have amassed a compelling number of case studies in which agencies like the US Army Corps of Engineers and many others use Adobe’s desktop tools to conceive, prototype, create, publish, distribute, track, optimize and secure documents and content ranging from simple inter-office communications to detailed technical schematics to high-level classified documentation. Whether it’s high-resolution digital imaging, HD video processing, enterprise-class RIAs, mobile app development, or redacting and encrypting sensitive PDF documentation — the DoD depends on Adobe Desktop.

Because of the broad familiarity that our DoD customers have with our desktop software, Adobe has “taken its show on the road” with a 17-date roadshow called the Create and Secure Military Tour 2011!

These half-day briefings are designed to help keep our customers ahead and abreast of the emerging trends in PDF and document security, publication design, web development and video post-production with practical introductions to the latest innovations in Adobe technology.

Included in these briefings are demonstrations of Acrobat X Professional, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Encore, and other Adobe desktop tools. Hot topics so far have included: document encryption and security, forms data collection workflows, PDF Portfolios, creating apps for Android and iOS devices, HTML5 best practices, smoothly editing multiple streams of HD video in real-time, and much more.

Check here to see if we’re coming to a city or military installation near you soon!

12:08 AM Permalink
April 15, 2011

Thoughts on Creative Suite 5.5

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The environment in which creative pros work is changing at an unprecedented pace. We see trends in three areas that are impacting their ability to author and publish content:

1) The proliferation of multiple devices. It used to be quite simple to reach your target constituent. But now there are more devices than ever, with multiple screen sizes, and multiple operating systems. Just to add more complexity — you can reach them via content in a browser, or via a native app. There are over 35 different app stores today, all with different guidelines and specifications. By 2014, the number of mobile devices will be equal to the number of desktop computers. The potential of apps is clear: iOS and Android users download 9 apps per month and spend 79 minutes per day using apps, whereas just four years ago, there was no Google Android, no iPad, no Motorola Xoom, no Blackberry Playbook, no HTML5, no CSS3, no streaming video to smartphones, and no Skype.

2) The second trend we’re seeing is a demand for rich content. Static consumer content or cumbersome enterprise applications just don’t cut it anymore. People are demanding a lot more, whether as a constituent or as an employee. If you think back to 2007 when Adobe released Creative Suite 3, so much has changed since then. In 2007 there was no Groupon, no HD Flip cameras or digital magazines. Twitter had only 400,000 tweets per quarter, and you couldn’t post a photo on your Facebook wall.

3) Monetization. Content publishers have realized as they move content online they can’t rely on old business models. As traditional print advertising moved online they found their dollars reduced to dimes. They have found success experimenting with new business models such as in-app purchases of content, which were pioneered in gaming and are now moving to other industries.

These are the key trends behind a seismic shift in the industry and media landscape. Adobe is committed to enabling our customers to not only keep up with these trends, but to keep ahead of them and capitalize on them. So, we are innovating quickly in these key areas and we will be changing our release schedule in order to keep customers ahead of these trends.

Historically we’ve released new versions of Creative Suite every 18-24 months, but we are moving to a schedule of milestone releases every two years, but with releases in between that are focused on keeping customers ahead in the areas where technology is shifting. In keeping with this, we are improving CS5 with the release of CS 5.5  this spring. Please feel free to click here to find out more about this new software release that will help our customers create rich internet applications for multiple devices, and efficiently target their content across browsers, operating systems, and screens.

5:21 PM Permalink
January 13, 2011

Design Once to Serve Everyone

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Web designers and programmers know that creating mobile websites and apps is very different from creating traditional online services. To support a mobile constituency, we often must completely rethink the design and development process, which results in increased complexity, higher budgets, and longer publishing cycles. However, with a knowledge of emerging best practices and tools, we can learn to design once and serve everyone – no matter what their form factor or device.

On Tuesday, January 25, 2011, join Government Technology and Adobe Government for a live, interactive master class on this important topic. You will learn:

  • How to make the case for mobile application development to your organization
  • Key trends in government customer service and app design
  • Insights from award-winning and ultra-innovative projects from around the nation
  • Design and technology tips that can make you a multiscreen wizard

For more details and to register for this webinar, click here. And for more upcoming webinars focused on the latest releases of Acrobat and Creative Suite tools, click here.

9:00 PM Permalink
November 12, 2010

Delivering Immersive Experiences for Books, Magazines and Newspapers

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As the digital constituency extends across a growing array of screens and devices, citizens gain more choice and control over how and when they engage with content. Many publishers seek a comprehensive, flexible solution that will allow them to reach constituents, engage their attention and serve their needs, regardless of where, when, or on which platform. At the recent MAX 2010, Adobe announced the Digital Publishing Suite, which allows agencies and publishers to preserve their meticulously crafted brand and have a direct relationship with their readers. To date, this Suite has been used to create wide ranging types of content – including highly designed monthlies like WIRED, text-intensive weeklies like The New Yorker, and now specialized lifestyle content like Martha Stewart Living.

The Suite is a turnkey set of hosted services and viewer technology that tightly integrates with Adobe CS5 products. Using the Suite, publishers can design and deploy engaging reading experiences across mobile devices and marketplaces. The initial beta release of the Suite (recently made available on Adobe Labs) supports creation, preview and sharing of digital magazines on the Apple iPad through an Adobe branded viewer. A series of tutorials, examples and demos of the Suite are currently available on Adobe TV.

If you’re in Washington D.C. this Tuesday 11/16, don’t pass up the opportunity to see the Suite in action with Noha Edell, a senior Business Development Manager at Adobe, who will be demonstrating this exciting new suite of tools and technologies. Click here for the meeting details.

6:02 PM Permalink
November 1, 2010

New Web Accessibility Best Practices from Adobe MAX 2010

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Last week’s Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles saw hundreds of our Government customers getting their hands dirty with every type of Adobe technology. Many sessions focused on best practices for developing mobile web applications, and a few specific sessions focused on making your web applications compliant with WCAG 2.0 and Section 508. Below is a session hosted by Andrew Kirkpatrick, Director of Accessibility at Adobe, on Creating Accessible Content with Flash CS5 Professional:



Another session at MAX, led by Accessibility Evangelist Matt May, focused on HTML Accessibility with Dreamweaver CS5. Be sure to check these both out of Adobe TV, and to bookmark Adobe’s Accessibility Blog.

9:09 PM Permalink
October 21, 2010

Guidelines for making your Flash content WCAG 2.0 Compliant

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Accessibility at AdobeThe Adobe Accessibility Blog recently posted an announcement that the W3C has updated its documentation on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines v2, or WCAG 2.0, to include techniques for creating compliant Flash content. Check out the full announcement, as well as additional resources for Flash authors to create fully Accessible content, right here.

10:52 PM Permalink