Rapid Prototyping in Fireworks
This is one of the few sessions that I ended up attending that taught or demonstrated how to do something. One of the new features in Fireworks CS3 is the ability to create an entire prototype of a website as images. Fireworks, besides layers now has what it calls “pages” which can really act like web pages. One can then select areas of a page that act as buttons and link them to different pages within the project. Finally, the whole thing can be exported as a web site so that you can have clients review what the web site will look and feel like before you have invested time with any code at all. This is a fantastic feature that I am a little ashamed to have not used at all yet. I certainly plan to make this process a part of future sites that I build.
CSS Part 3: Advanced CSS Concepts and Theories
Whenever I see the word “advanced” I hope to see something during the session that I have never seen before. I was disappointed by the CSS content, but happy to see some of the Dreamweaver tricks that were demonstrated by Joseph Lowrey (author: the Dreamweaver Bible). Two things were especially useful. First, the ability to create styles in the header of a page and then easily drag and drop them via the styles panel into an external style sheet. Second, Dreamweaver has a handy utility to clean up your source code so that you can code in an efficient, ugly manner and then apply formatting to clean things up when you are done.
XD: Best Practices for Creating Great Web Experiences
XD is the Adobe internal design team that designs the user interface on adobe web applications. I always enjoy hearing people from this team speak, although I did not feel that the content of this session matched the title. More than anything, the speaker discussed how the team works. Some things he mentioned were:
- Open work space without walls or high cube walls to promote community and discussion
- Team building exercises that encouraged problem solving outside of design/code
- Having only enough project management to keep the process going and on time. (they just had a table on a web page detailing jobs, deadlines, etc.)
- Enjoying each others company outside of the work environment (pub, etc.)
Beyond Web 2.0
Here’s another session that I didn’t feel addressed the title, but was a good one nonetheless. Jesse James Garrett from Adaptive Path spent his session taking real world examples of usability and good customer experiences and applying them to what is successful in technology and on the web. In each example, the innovator took something that was complex and simplified it. Eastman created a camera with film on a roll that was easy to use. Tivo didn’t just put a hard drive in a VCR, but created a UI that made it far easier to use than any VCR. The iPod was more expensive and had less features than other MP3 players of the time but was simple and fun to use. These are all good reminders to those of us that develop applications that simple is best.