Thoughts on Fireworks

Many of you are aware of the recent announcement of the sunsetting of Adobe Fireworks. This has generated some incredible passion and anger among the community. I love Fireworks, it has been a staple in my digital workflows for years. But, I know that the only constant in the software industry is change. I have seen myself migrate from developing in HyperCard to Director to Flash/Flex, and now to the web platform. This is how our industry works. Heck, there are still times when I miss SuperPaint or SoundEdit, but I use the tools that I have. Unlike the removal of the Touch Apps from the app stores, Adobe Fireworks remains available as part the Creative Cloud, and will keep working just fine on your machine.

So keep calm and carry on…

D2WC jQueryMobile Training

Thanks again to everyone who came to my training session at this year’s D2WC! I hope everyone was able to learn a bit more about both jQueryMobile and PhoneGap. As promised here are all the slides and demo files that I used during the training:

Speaking at SanDCHI: Essential Tools for UX Professionals

I will speaking on a panel that includes other UX professionals from Sony, I Drive Safely and Mitchell on our favorite prototyping tools. I have always enjoyed hearing what tools people use and why. I, of course will be giving a brief overview of my trifecta of Fireworks, Flash Catalyst and Flash. You can RSVP here:

10240 Sorrento Valley Rd
San Diego CA

Mingling starts at 6:30pm at Websense, meeting starts at 7pm.
Hope to see you there!


Designing Great Mobile Apps

I had the extreme pleasure of speaking at the recent 360|Flex Denver conference. The conference was incredibly well done, John, Nicole, and their assistants did a fantastic job!

Besides working on the mobile apps for the show ( we are still trying to figure out the session survey upload issues), I presented on “Designing Great Mobile Apps” on Tuesday afternoon. I had a lot of fun giving the presentation, even with two Adobe evangelists and one Adobe product manager in attendance (and the great Dee Sadler as well)…

I hope these slides are useful, the session was recorded by the folks at ZaaLabs, so I will let you know when it is ready. Please feel free to ping with questions or comments.

Now go build something!


If you are interested in some resources on mobile design I would also suggest they following books:

Adobe MAX session online!

My session, Creating Compelling Mobile User Experiences, is now available for viewing on The session focused on introducing prototyping into your mobile development and how it can help your design and development process. I also went into some of the common issues the people encounter as they transition from developing for the desktop to mobile.

Here is the session description from conference:

Explore the role of prototyping in designing and developing compelling mobile applications. We’ll examine the forms that prototypes can take (from paper prototypes to rich, interactive simulations), their advantages and costs, and how Adobe tools can be used to create them. Then we’ll walk through creating a user interface for a mobile application using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash Professional, Flash Catalyst, and Flash Builder. This presentation also covers best practices for UX, as well as developer-focused tips and tricks.

The slides are supposed to with the recording, but I have uploaded them to I had a blast presenting it!

Speaking at Adobe MAX!

I have been accepted to speak at this year’s Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles. The session is titled “Creating Compelling Mobile User Experiences: What You Need to Know” on Monday afternoon at 5pm. I did not blog about the session earlier because the session filled up. Well, the powers that be moved the session to a larger room, so there are now seats available!

The talk is going to focus on how to use prototyping as part of your workflow to help discover issues when developing mobile applications. I will be giving examples of how prototyping resolved various design challenges when creating mobile apps.

I hope it will be an informative session. The session will be recorded and on Adobe TV sometime after the show. I will post that information once I know.

On Tuesday, I will be presenting at the FiTC unconference about the process of creating the Adobe MAX unconference application. This will be a more code level type of talk. Hope to see you there! If you have an Android device (running Froyo), you can down the app from the Android Market.

Designer/Developer Workflow Recap & Slides

Designer / Developer Workflow Conference

Last weekend I had the pleasure of both attending and speaking at the inaugural Designer/Developer Workflow Conference (D2WC), held in Kansas City, MO. The conference is the brainchild of Dee Sadler. For those you who are not familiar with the name, Dee has long been an Adobe community leader. So, it is no surprise that she would create a conference exploring the connections between the designer and the developer.

The conference had many top-level speakers, including Doug Winnie, Adobe Principal Product Manager for Adobe Flash Catalyst, Flash Platform Workflow and WorkflowLab (as he put it: “the longest title at Adobe”); Ben Stucki; Chad Udell; Rob Huddleston; and the dynamic duo of Aaron Pedersen and James Polanco.

Doug Winnie's Keynote

Doug kicked off the conference with a great keynote that explored some very familiar workflows in “The Real Designers and Developers of Kansas City”. I really enjoyed Doug’s presentation, as it was a refreshing change from typical keynotes. Doug obviously understands workflow issues and is passionate about them. Each of six personas were grounded in recognizable situations (almost everyone in the room would nod in agreement as each of the workflow issues were presented). I later found out the ‘Chris’ persona was modeled after me. Thankfully, he chose not to use my photo.


I personally had the pleasure of presenting two sessions. The first was “Prototyping: A Component for Successful Projects”. You can read a review of the talk on Doug Boude’s blog. I have placed the slide deck on SlideShare. I am not sure how useful they will be without commentary.

The other presentation was “Practical Design and Development with Flash on Mobile and Devices”. Originally, Scott Janousek was scheduled to present, but business issues forced his cancellation. Hopefully, I was a suitable replacement to talk about mobile development ;). I also have placed that slide deck on SlideShare. In case you were wondering, I once again created a mobile application for the conference.

Some of the great sessions I attended were Rob Huddleston’s “Flash Catalyst for Developers”, James Polanco’s (I never get first billing) and Aaron Pedersen’s “10 ways to please your Flex Dev”, and “Flash Game Design” given by Seb Lee-Delisle. But like any good conference, it is the conversations in the hallways and evenings that truly make the event. One thing I can offer as a piece of advice to any conference attendee, strike up a conversation with the speakers, they usually like to talk about stuff 😉 .

The biggest take away from all the sessions was, “having great communication within your team will solve a lot of problems (world-class tools help too!)”. I was reminded of a workflow issue I had about 14 years ago, but which highlights this so issue so clearly even today. I was working for an educational game company, using Macromedia Director (yes, I called it Macromedia Director!). In that version, image rotation was not possible. The interaction designer was not aware of this limitation, and had the art department (an actual art studio that had produced feature films), create an hour hand and a minute hand. She assumed that programmatically we could rotate the clock hand to the correct position. So the spec was written, the asset list delivered to the studio, then finally it was all given to the development team in massive three-ring binders, who had NEVER been involved with the project until that point (I love Waterfall development!). We quickly identified the rotation issue and informed the game designer. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to formally modify the art assets (version control issues), so a formal change request had to be made to the studio, that request was then placed in the studio’s queue, and 2-3 weeks later we would have a series of clock hands. I know, I know, this all seems incredibly maddening, and it was. It took all of 10 minutes inside Photoshop for the programmer to generate the proper assets and continue their programming of the game. How much time and effort could have been saved by having a developer involved in the process from the start? As you start your next project, look to your team and ask yourself how can you better work together?

Again, many thanks to Dee (and her two key helpers: Leif Wells and Lisa Heselton), for organizing (and inviting me to) this amazing conference. It was a huge success. Hopefully all of you will be able to attend next year and experience a first-class series of presentations and great conversations.

Designer/Developer Workflow Conference

It is summer, so it must be conference session. This year we have several new conferences on the calendar: Flash and the City and the Designer/Developer Workflow Conference (or D2WC). Dee Sadler, a long time Adobe community leader is putting together what looks to be a great conference. It’s focus is on the actual workflows that we all use every day, going from Illustrator to Indesign, or from Photoshop through Flash Catalyst and into Flash Builder. Nothing we build is done without some kind of workflow, the key to success is creating one that works.

The conference will have a keynote by Doug Winnie from Adobe, a man who has great passion for improving the workflow. In fact he is one of the people behind WorkflowLab, now available from Adobe Labs. The conference is filled with a great collection of speakers from Rob Huddleston to Andy Powell to Scott Janosek to Ben Stucki.

If you are in the Midwest, I would recommend heading to Kansas City for this one. A a bonus, I have heard they have some might good BBQ in that town….

Hope to see you there!

New Fireworks CS4-Flash Catalyst Integration

One of the sore points in working with Flash Catalyst is the lack of support for importing Fireworks PNGs into FC. Fireworks has long been a workhorse in the prototyping stable, so this “issue” was quite a sore subject for many. So today on the Adobe Flash Platform Blog, Ryan Stewart announced that they have released a script to aid the transfer from Fireworks into Flash Catalyst.

If you’re a Fireworks user you’ll be happy to know that the team has been hard at work improving the FXG export feature so you can more easily take your designs from Fireworks and use them in Flash Catalyst. The new script is available over on Adobe Labs and includes a ton of fixes to the old FXG script as well as some new functionality based on a more finalized FXG specification:

  • lineHeight for Text element was always exported as %, now its exported based on value selected in Fireworks ( % or exact)
  • Tab indention was not correct for elements which were exported as bitmaps
  • Exporting invisible bitmap elements caused script error
  • Updated Rectangle primitive object to export transformation matrix and roundness value.
  • Modified / Added Application Private Data for all elements (d:userLabel , d:type etc)
  • Exporting effects applied on Groups and Symbols

So fear not Fireworks users, Flash Catalyst may not have native file format import for you, but you’ll still be able to use the tool you know and love and bring those designs easily into Flash Catalyst with the “Open from FXG” feature.