AC@MAX Chicago & Barcelona

I’m really excited to be part of the Adobe Consulting Team attending MAX2007 in both America & Europe this year, not only will there be a record attendance for the conference, but also a record attendance of Adobe Consultants drawn from our Technology and User Experience Practices. Three AC UX team members will be there; Peter Baird (North America UX Team, based in Newton) , George Neil (Europe UX Team, based in Edinburgh) & myself (Global UX, based in San Francisco).

AC is participating in a number of different sessions including the keynote, individual presentations from our consultants, “chalk and talk” sessions in the halls, panel sessions and our very own Adobe Consulting Birds of a Feather Monday 9:30pm.

This will be a great opportunity for any of you attending to connect with our team, see some of the things we’ve been doing & share some of your work. We are always looking for partners, contractors & new team members in our different regions.

Email me if you want to meet up. smith at adobe dot com

Designers Wanted.

Adobe Consulting Worldwide (AC) is looking for top notch Experience Designers, Architects and Design Leads to design next-generation, rich client applications for strategic third-party engagements.

designerswanted01.jpg

Here is a list of the current openings:
* Design Lead – New York
* Experience Architects – New York
* Experience Designers – New York
* Sr. Experience Architects – San Francisco
* Experience Designers – San Francisco
* Experience Designers – Italy, Germany, UK, and France

Your resume and portfolio must demonstrate a broad depth of experience on projects related to application and user-interface development. You need to be part interaction designer, part information architect, part business analyst, part mentor, part evangelist and all about user experience.

Think you have the skills? Contact our recruiter Julia Margherita (juliam@adobe.com)

Design for the other 90%

The name of this site is “User Experience Hub” and is, generally, focused on the details and implementation of software interface design. However, “user experience” can thought of in a much broader way. Though the examples on the following URLs are not software interface design examples, they do reinforce the value of design and of fundamental design principles.

Many of our projects may not have the immediate, life-saving benefit of the LifeStraw, but the same principles that guided its development should guide every software interface design we do.

  • Understand the “point”
  • Understand the context
  • Help people

Continue reading…

The Role of User-Experience Design in RIAs

Walking home the other day I ran into an old high school classmate who I hadn’t seen in over 12 years. We did the obligatory catching up, and of course she asked what I did for work. What followed was a typical scenario. I explained I was a user-experience consultant for Adobe, which was followed by a blank stare.

“You know, Flash” … Another blank stare.

The fact of the matter is a lot of very bright people use our technology every day, whether it be Flash Video, Flash Applications, PDF, or consume a product that has been designed by Adobe technology, and have no idea that they are using Adobe technology.

Continue reading…

Designing Flex in Fireworks (Including Style Explorer as Fireworks Extension)

I’ve been using an internal beta of Fireworks CS3 for several weeks now to wireframe Flex projects, and let me just say… Fireworks CS3 rocks. Particularly with the new Flex components library that comes with Fireworks CS3, and the pages feature that allows me to specify which layers are shared across which pages, the time it takes me to develop wireframes has literally been cut in half, leaving me more time to actually focus on designing the best user-experience.

I wrote up an article with one possible workflow using the Fireworks to design, style and skin a Flex application. You can read the article here at the Fireworks Developer Network.

What’s more, with Fireworks CS3 including a AS3 engine, I’ve packaged the Flex Style Explorer as a Fireworks Extension that will run directly in Fireworks. You can download and install the MXP here.

Fireworks CS3 is required.

Flex Style Explorer Update: Advanced Color Spaces and Add Swatches

With much thanks to Matt MacLean for his contribution of code to the Advanced Color Picker, the Flex Style Explorer just got a little more useful. Two new features have been added that should make your life a little easier.

First, the advanced color picker is even more advanced, with color spaces for Hue, Saturation, and Brightness, as well as R, G, and B color spaces. Additionally added was support for text entry for all those values, as well as the web hex value. Thanks very much for your contribution Matt.

Also, I’ve added support for adding swatches to the basic color pickers from the advanced color picker. In advanced color picker, select “add swatch”, and that color swatch will appear in all color pickers throughout the application, as shown below.

new_color_picker.png

As always, the source code is included, so if anyone out there has the initiative, and more importantly, the time to contribute your own ideas and code to the Style Explorer to help make it an even more useful application, send your code my way and we’ll consider integrating it. (Kuler integration perhaps?)

CLICK HERE TO EXPERIENCE THE APPLICATION (and remember, view source to download)

New Name: Same Great Taste

Looking back at this blog’s inaugural post back in May of 2005, you start to realize how far we’ve come. What was then a North American consulting group with a handful of very talented consultants has grown significantly over the years, with the acquisition and integration of several very talented groups including Iteration::two, as well as the acquisition by Adobe, and the integration with Adobe’s consulting group. In just the past two years the organization has grown to be quite a force, with representation from San Francisco to Tokyo, from Scotland down to Sydney, and literally everywhere in-between.

Several members of Adobe Consulting have begun contributing to the blogosphere with their own blogs, and rightfully so. The Adobe Consulting organization has grown too large, and it’s members too diverse to be represented by a single blog.

With the growth of the organization, and the rise of additional Adobe Consulting blogs, this blog is being rebranded “Adobe Consulting: User-Experience Hub”, with a focus particularly on the design groups within Adobe Consulting. This is not to suggest that our other Adobe Consulting blogs will not offer user-experience insight, or that you won’t find blog entries of a technical nature within this blog anymore. Steven, Ali, Alex, and the rest of the team continue to pump out some incredible user-experiences (see, Distortion Effects, Scheduling Frameworks, and the like). And Ikezi is still going to give great development tips such as the Flex Builder Cairngorm Plugin and Continuous Integration in Flex.

In our first blog entry, we mentioned that this blog was intended to be an avenue to share the lessons that we’ve learned, and be a window to our “work in progress”. That mission has not changed. We hope that the “User Experience Hub” can continue to serve as an avenue to share with all of you the tools, tips, and techniques to create a great user-experience.

We’ve all reached an important milestone in our industry. Two years ago Macromedia had as it’s motto “Experience Matters”. It seems today that everyone accepts that as a fact. Now it’s a matter of giving the people the tools and resources they need to create the best experience possible. And we believe, as Adobe’s motto states, that the experience can be “Better by Adobe”.

Work for Adobe Consulting in San Francisco

We’re looking for a few great designers to join our User Experience team in San Francisco. In addition to working for a great company using the greatest technologies, as part of the consulting team, you’ll also get to work with some of the best clients, and be “ahead of the curve” on Rich Internet Application design and development.

The positions that we’re looking to fill as soon as possible are the following:

To Apply: Michelle McHargue with resume and online portfolio.

The Flex Style Explorer is a Proud Papa

Two and half years ago, Macromedia Consulting took a chance on the new kid – the greenest among a bunch of very experience senior developers, architects, and designers – and hired him to help design applications to be built with this new technology called “Flex”.

He immediately tried out his first tutorial, Flex Basics Part 1 by Robert Crooks, and created his first “flex app”. He started messing with styling a bit, but after getting sick of changing a style, and waiting to recompile on his (really slow, used) PC, he decided to data-bind the corner radius of the Panel to a slider to update it in the Flex App itself. With the a lot of help, guidance, and code-contribution from others, that little experiment eventually evolved into the Flex Style Explorer.

The Style Explorer has come a long way since then, through maybe 4 or 5 *official* version including betas. It’s been great to see the community involvement around the Flex Style Explorer, many of you contributing suggestions, and even code to it, and people are continuing to contribute code and ideas and you’ll see more functionality in the not too distance future.

What’s been especially heartwarming is the see how many have taken the Style Explorer and extended it, made it better, or and made new tools with it. You may have already seen these come across the wire, but I want to collect them in one place, and say “thanks” and “great job” to their creators.

Flex Styles Creator
Derek Wischusen: Flexonrails.net
Derek did some great work adding server-side css-file creation functionality to the Style Explorer. Derek contributed code to the Adobe Consulting Style Explorer in the form of “Export All CSS” functionality, but if you’re looking to create a new CSS file, rather than just copy-and-paste the CSS, check the Flex 2: Styles Creator out.

Flex Filter Explorer
Joe Johnston: Merhl.com
Joe modifies the Flex Style Explorer to create a Filter Explorer. Alter Flex filter properties and generate the appropriate MXML code to create the filter. Awesome!

Flex 2.0 Primitive Explorer
Jason Hawryluk: Flexibleexperiments.wordpress.com
Jason starts with the Style Explorer UI, and creates a great application for exploring and creating code for drawing primitive objects in Flex. If ever there’s a use case for needing to visualize code, and to be able to graphically manipulate something, it would be this use case. Great job Jason.

Flex Transitions and Effects Explorer
David Keutgens: blog.keutgens.de
David takes inspiration from the Flex Style Explorer and creates his own Flex Effects Explorer.

The greatest thing to me about Flex is that it enables community involvement, and makes “wouldn’t it be cool if” a reality. Flex comes with a set of default components, but we don’t have to make feature requests and wait around for Flex 3 to come out to get new components. It makes initiatives like FlexLib, The FlexBox, and the Flex Component Exchange possible. And it makes it possible for a kid from Boston to make a little style exploring app, get the help and input from the community, and make a difference.

Here’s to all of us making new tools and components, to help make Flex a great product.

P.S.: (Disclaimer: Waxing personal) The Flex Style Explorer may be a proud papa, but it could never be as proud a papa as the new kid, who’s now a proud papa of his first baby girl, Elisabeth Jane Baird, just 4 months old this week.

FlexBuilder (Eclipse) Plugin for Cairngorm Code Generation (and more)

As Flex continues to be adopted by more and more RIA developers, it’s great to see efforts that support developing with the Cairngorm framework (Steven W. has a roundup). For many developers, it makes for an easier transition toward structured MVC architecture and a ‘pattern mindset’ in general. This new eclipse plugin is another one to add to the list.

For a few months now, Luis Lejter has been working on a cool plugin for Eclipse (Flex Builder), and finally I can spread the good word! It’s more than a Cairngorm wizard, and has nice features like ASDoc documentation generators, end-to-end class generators for REST / WSDL / Remoting, and an e4x editor expression builder, to name a few.

Check out the full feature list on his new blog, and the screenshot gallery (running on OSX).

Great stuff, Luis!

Continue reading…