July 19, 2010

Sample interactive content made in InDesign CS5

Speaking of InDesign and rich publishing, here’s an example of the sort of interactive content (here displayed through Flash) that can be generated in CS5. (Click the main image to display the document.)

Ten years ago Michael Ninness brought me to Adobe to work on LiveMotion, and he went on to product-manage InDesign CS5. I’ve kidded him that a decade later, he managed to transplant LiveMotion 1.0′s heart into ID. I’m kidding, but it is cool to see a number of the features and concepts that customers liked back then–e.g. preset animation styles, easy button creation/interactivity assignment–brought forward. Now, unlike then, the content can also integrate with the Flash authoring environment, meaning you can get a fast, code-free start without eventually hitting a wall.

Posted by John Nack at 1:38 PM on July 19, 2010

Comments

  • Robert Sinclair — 10:57 PM on July 19, 2010

    John, I’m glad to see Adobe making advances with InDesign’s interactive capability, but there seems to be a rather big piece of the puzzle missing: there is no PDF reader available on the most popular mobile platform (iPhone and iPad) that supports the interactive features of the PDF format.

    I have a file built in InDesign CS4 with several rudimentary buttons (Jump to Page), and I Export to PDF for use on Mac or PC desktops running Adobe Reader.

    But no PDF reader (from Apple’s own, to iBooks, to GoodReader or ReaddleDocs (two of the most popular 3rd party PDF readers) support interactive buttons. In fact, I have yet to find a single free or commercial App that supports interactive PDFs. The button elements simply don’t display at all.

    Interactive PDFs published on websites for viewing on a desktop browser are marginally interesting, but I think there’s a huge opportunity for someone to supply the other half of the story and support the technology on mobile devices, especially with all of the paper magazines rushing to get their titles to the iPad and not having a good mechanism to do so.

    So, hey… any news on an official Adobe Reader for iPhone/iPad that supports interactive PDFs?

    • Paul — 7:09 PM on February 24, 2011

      @Robert – I have just stumbled across this problem myself with an interactive PDF not functioning on either the iPad or iPhone. It’s a pity PDF couldn’t use interactivity without flash. I would be very interested to hear of any workarounds, maybe a simple text link might work better?

  • Rick McCleary — 6:28 AM on July 20, 2010

    This is very encouraging.

    This path you guys are headed down is most intriguing. The idea that mere mortals like us (i.e., creatives whose brains are turned to applesauce by the need to code) can produce rich screen-based pieces without employing a full staff of codewriters is exhilarating. Is it really coming true?? ;-)

    I can’t tell you the number of designers I speak with who experience real physical anxiety at the current state of the industry. Design firms and agencies large enough to have tech expertise on staff are the ones producing the cutting edge pieces. But the individual freelancer has been left by the side of the road – not because they don’t have the depth and elegance of vision, but because they just can’t work the tools as they are now.

    You (hopefully) are helping to steer Adobe towards the next iteration of democratic tools.

  • jcool — 1:09 PM on July 20, 2010

    Joel Osteen has been creating an interactive PDF based magazine with videos, etc, using InDesign for a number of years now. You can download the spring edition here:

    http://www.joelosteen.com/HopeForToday/DigitalMagazine/Pages/DigitalMagazine.aspx

    FYI, it’s nice to have the functionality in InDesign to do this, but there are definitely some rough edges. Managing rollover states is difficult, due to the TINY and unresizable panel they reside in (try changing button viblity states when you have 20 buttons on a page and the panel only displays 3 at a time). The anchor functionality is completely hidden. (you get an anchor by choosing “new bookmark” from the bookmarks panel. Now that’s intuitive) And, you have to add the videos in Acrobat…but maybe I’m just doing that wrong.

    That said, I’m looking forward to the new interactive publishing tools, I just hope they correct some of this and make it a bit more elegant.

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