Orbiting Around Users At Adobe Engage

I’m writing this post from Adobe Engage. It’s a day-long seminar that gives us a glimpse into Adobe’s rich application road map and also showcases a handful of RIA’s and products that are either brand spankin’ new or haven’t even seen the day of light yet.
Today, it’s all about using Flash, Flex and the baby brother – Apollo – to deliver rich internet applications to users everywhere. Tim O’Reilly highlights one of the key themes in today’s talks: using these products to engage and involve users. Broadly speaking, its great to see “user experience” being such a prominent part of the conversation here. Rather than orbiting around a bunch of technologies and just mentioning users. Engaging users is what it’s about. Technology gets us there.
Some more of my thoughts:

  • Headache-Inducing Possibilities. The possibilities of Apollo are exciting and humbling all at once. The ability to bring together desktop power with the social aspects of the Internet makes my head hurt (in a good way).
  • Out-Of-The-Browser Thinking. In my opinion, Apollo’s potential won’t be fully appreciated for a bit. Today, we seem to be asking: “how do we make this product better with Apollo?” Eventually we’ll be asking: “what can we build in Apollo that is simply impossible today.” Revolution vs. evolution. It’s gonna take a bit to break out of the desktop/Internet dichotomy we live in today. Ryan Stewart touches on this as well.
  • No more URL’s. No More Back Buttons. No More Browser. While the techheads may write off the end of browser chrome is ho-hum, the impact on end-users is drastic. In fact, it may even be jarring at first. But there’s no doubt that utility belt-type URL destinations will scream for Apollo.
  • Don’t Forget The Designers. With this new breed of software, let’s not forget the designers. Not just the graphic designers, but front-end web designers. From the elegance of XHTML to the raw power of CSS, designers have invested a lot of time and energy to get good at this stuff. As these apps get richer, it’s getting harder to keep them involved and contributing.

It’s a really exciting time. At Arc90, we’re subjecting ourselves to the growing pains of getting good at this stuff (and we are!). We’d love to put on the lab coats and start building, but alas we have clients and clients have needs…for now. We’ll just have to show them the way.

2 Comments Orbiting Around Users At Adobe Engage

  1. Juan Sanchez

    Richard –
    I was wondering if you might be able to elaborate on some of the Designer/Developer workflow for Flex 2 that was presented. I read a little about it on zdnet via Ryan Stewart’s article. Do you have any information to add?

  2. Rich Ziade

    I think Adobe is just now starting to think about the flow of information from the design and concept side of things to the application building side.
    From what I gathered, the graphical aspects and specialized GUI controls are clearly producted elsewhere (“elsewhere being not in Flex Builder).
    In my opinion, this is a good thing. I think they’re very distinct types of brains that need different tools and metaphors to work with. It’s still too early to see what Adobe is going to hand designers to help with this stuff. They showed exporting of swf’s out of Illustrator, but not much more.


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