Expression Blend a "review"

3 Apr 2007 - 5:47am
7 years ago
19 replies
1513 reads
Dave Malouf
2005

I put review in quotes b/c well, I didn't look at the entire application and
review everything it can do. What I did do was report back on my training
experience I recently went through as part of a project I'm working on.

It is a bit long to post directly to the list, but I know that some people
are interested in Blend but haven't made the plunge yet.

Summary: don't tread lightly ... This is not an application for the faint of
heart. It is a powerful pre-programming tool and when used with Visual
Studio and a great architect can be very good. I do NOT think this is a
designer's tool in the sense that we as interaction designers are hoping
for. Most of us who don't know VB or C# won't be able to use it for rapid
prototyping as it is exceedingly more complicated than even Flash.

I think MS put features in here that are completely useless to me while
missing the big opportunity for the IxD community.

You can read more here: http://synapticburn.com/comments.php?id=233_0_1_0_C

-- dave

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

Comments

3 Apr 2007 - 9:45am
Michael Micheletti
2006

Thanks Dave for the deep dive into Blend. I dabbled with it for a day,
couldn't figure out what I needed it for at that moment, got busy and moved
on. Your thoughtful critique is much appreciated,

Michael Micheletti

On 4/3/07, David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> You can read more here:
> http://synapticburn.com/comments.php?id=233_0_1_0_C
>
> -- dave
>
>

3 Apr 2007 - 10:21am
dmitryn
2004

Thanks Dave for a very informative review.

I particularly enjoyed your comments on the 3D
visualization/interaction features. From an information visualization
standpoint, there are indeed very few usage scenarios where 3D
interaction provably adds value to the user experience. It's
unfortunate that MS chose to focus on this feature set, especially
given its dependence on Vista. But then, the target audience seems to
be Windows developers rather than IxD's working across platforms, so
perhaps that's to be expected.

Dmitry

On 4/3/07, David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> I put review in quotes b/c well, I didn't look at the entire application and
> review everything it can do. What I did do was report back on my training
> experience I recently went through as part of a project I'm working on.
>
> It is a bit long to post directly to the list, but I know that some people
> are interested in Blend but haven't made the plunge yet.
>
> Summary: don't tread lightly ... This is not an application for the faint of
> heart. It is a powerful pre-programming tool and when used with Visual
> Studio and a great architect can be very good. I do NOT think this is a
> designer's tool in the sense that we as interaction designers are hoping
> for. Most of us who don't know VB or C# won't be able to use it for rapid
> prototyping as it is exceedingly more complicated than even Flash.
>
> I think MS put features in here that are completely useless to me while
> missing the big opportunity for the IxD community.
>
> You can read more here: http://synapticburn.com/comments.php?id=233_0_1_0_C
>
> -- dave
>
> --
> David Malouf
> http://synapticburn.com/
> http://ixda.org/
> http://motorola.com/
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

5 Apr 2007 - 4:48am
Håkan Reis
2006

In blend you have a real strength and that is close collaboration. You are
right that it's not a flash-like rapid prototyping tool. If you work in a
tight agile team I think this is an excellent and missing tool. In the same
way a dba really need to understand the interaction and visualization to
provide the right data, the interaction designers has to learn about what is
possible. Work togheter, pair-program in teams with designer/developer and I
suspect you will find this tool to be very powerful.

But you are right, the focus is Windows development or more specific .NET
development.

/ Håkan Reis

On 4/3/07, Dmitry Nekrasovski <mail.dmitry at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Thanks Dave for a very informative review.
>
> I particularly enjoyed your comments on the 3D
> visualization/interaction features. From an information visualization
> standpoint, there are indeed very few usage scenarios where 3D
> interaction provably adds value to the user experience. It's
> unfortunate that MS chose to focus on this feature set, especially
> given its dependence on Vista. But then, the target audience seems to
> be Windows developers rather than IxD's working across platforms, so
> perhaps that's to be expected.
>
> Dmitry
>
> On 4/3/07, David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I put review in quotes b/c well, I didn't look at the entire application
> and
> > review everything it can do. What I did do was report back on my
> training
> > experience I recently went through as part of a project I'm working on.
> >
> > It is a bit long to post directly to the list, but I know that some
> people
> > are interested in Blend but haven't made the plunge yet.
> >
> > Summary: don't tread lightly ... This is not an application for the
> faint of
> > heart. It is a powerful pre-programming tool and when used with Visual
> > Studio and a great architect can be very good. I do NOT think this is a
> > designer's tool in the sense that we as interaction designers are hoping
> > for. Most of us who don't know VB or C# won't be able to use it for
> rapid
> > prototyping as it is exceedingly more complicated than even Flash.
> >
> > I think MS put features in here that are completely useless to me while
> > missing the big opportunity for the IxD community.
> >
> > You can read more here:
> http://synapticburn.com/comments.php?id=233_0_1_0_C
> >
> > -- dave
> >
> > --
> > David Malouf
> > http://synapticburn.com/
> > http://ixda.org/
> > http://motorola.com/
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>

--
Håkan Reis
Dotway AB

Voice: +46 (40) 602 32 10
Sms: +46 (768) 51 00 33

http://blog.reis.se

5 Apr 2007 - 7:15am
Dave Malouf
2005

Håkan, the thought of paired programming crossed my mind as well.
Problem for me ... I'm in New York and my developer is in Colombo (That's
Sri Lanka). Kinda difficult.

I do think there are some new and interesting roles and processes that can
come out of this tool, but to the thread earlier in the week about what is
IxD and the whole piece about changing behavior ... That's a HUGE change in
behavior.

There is also the question about how much a designer should know their
materials. There was a big back and forth on this as well. Designers who
know their material toooo much tend to not be as innovative, however
designers who know their materials at only a surface level tend to create
designs that lead to problems down stream. (That is one thought).

Håkan, during our work last week we were struggling to figure out what is
the expectation of this "new" process in terms of where the designer's role
ends and the engineer's role begins. We came up with "data binding". While
databinding can be really easy to use in Blend, often creating what you bind
to can be really difficult, and then programming what happens to the bound
information can be a real engineering challenge. So we chose that moment.
But this still left me with a big chunk of stuff I don't know how to do that
is in my domain, namely interactivity. I can create amazing animations with
Blend, and I can even have them start and stop on events, so long as what
I'm animating is where the event is like a mouseover and a such, but most
interactivity is click A and affect B and this seems really difficult in the
tool.

How have you been able to work through this simple scenario using blend? Or
b/c of the paired environment, do you just let the engineer do that part?

-- dave

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

5 Apr 2007 - 7:24am
Todd Warfel
2003

And seeing how off-shoring is becoming more and more difficult (e.g.
India, Ukraine, Poland, Ireland) this will only get worse.

On Apr 5, 2007, at 8:15 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> Håkan, the thought of paired programming crossed my mind as well.
> Problem for me ... I'm in New York and my developer is in Colombo
> (That's Sri Lanka). Kinda difficult.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

5 Apr 2007 - 9:08am
Josh Seiden
2003

In theory, tools like these should make distance collaboration easier,
because you are not communicating about and interpreting specs and drawings,
but instead creating shared work objects.

This of course assumes that the tools supports the real work and
specializations of the people using them.

JS

> Håkan, the thought of paired programming crossed my mind as well.
> > Problem for me ... I'm in New York and my developer is in Colombo
> > (That's Sri Lanka). Kinda difficult.
>
>

5 Apr 2007 - 9:43am
Dave Malouf
2005

This was exactly our hope in picking Blend as our tool, Josh.
We are actually still hopeful that it is helpful, but I was responding
to the idea of doing "paired programming". Paired programming assumes
co-location.

-- dave

On 4/5/07, Joshua Seiden <joshseiden at gmail.com> wrote:
> In theory, tools like these should make distance collaboration easier,
> because you are not communicating about and interpreting specs and drawings,
> but instead creating shared work objects.
>
> This of course assumes that the tools supports the real work and
> specializations of the people using them.
>
> JS
>
> > Håkan, the thought of paired programming crossed my mind as well.
> > > Problem for me ... I'm in New York and my developer is in Colombo
> > > (That's Sri Lanka). Kinda difficult.
> >
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

5 Apr 2007 - 2:14pm
Håkan Reis
2006

I haven't experienced it myself, but I had a few colleagues that did distant
pair programming. The used the same code base shared via subversion and
shifted remote desktop so the user that did the development was the native
machine and the by-programmer remote. In addition the used webcam and mic to
chat. It was manageable but not good...

I tend not to do much computer based prototyping. Mostly I use paper
prototypes, focusing on one task at the time. Working as agile as possible.
In blend I can then In blend I can then quickly layout the basic application
controls like tabs, buttons, lists etc. An interaction or flow of actions
for what we currently are working on and that's about what the developer
needs. I can continue to work on the finish, animation, etc while the
developer work on the logic and data handling.

To be honest I have an advantage in this. I come from the development and
worked myself into the interaction and graphical design. I still have some
engineering skills but most of the time I try to leave as much of the
development and engineering stuff to those who know better.

/ Håkan

On 4/5/07, David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> This was exactly our hope in picking Blend as our tool, Josh.
> We are actually still hopeful that it is helpful, but I was responding
> to the idea of doing "paired programming". Paired programming assumes
> co-location.
>
> -- dave
>
>
> On 4/5/07, Joshua Seiden <joshseiden at gmail.com> wrote:
> > In theory, tools like these should make distance collaboration easier,
> > because you are not communicating about and interpreting specs and
> drawings,
> > but instead creating shared work objects.
> >
> > This of course assumes that the tools supports the real work and
> > specializations of the people using them.
> >
> > JS
> >
> > > Håkan, the thought of paired programming crossed my mind as well.
> > > > Problem for me ... I'm in New York and my developer is in Colombo
> > > > (That's Sri Lanka). Kinda difficult.
> > >
> > >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
>
>
> --
> David Malouf
> http://synapticburn.com/
> http://ixda.org/
> http://motorola.com/
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>

--
Håkan Reis
Dotway AB

Voice: +46 (40) 602 32 10
Sms: +46 (768) 51 00 33

http://blog.reis.se

5 Apr 2007 - 2:26pm
Dave Malouf
2005

It sounds like you landed where we landed in using the tool.

i think we differ in that I don't like paper prototypes because they
don't "behave" like a real application and as an interaction designer
"behavior" is our bread and butter. So I'm really hungry to be able to
make prototypes in blend that work. I realize there are some behaviors
that you get to manipulate in Blend and those are REALLY awesome, but
I want better access to click control, so i can create the flow.

Håkan, I'm also curious as to your object model of your applications.
Do you create a lot of user controls and do nested embedding of those
controls or do you create flat "screens" and let the programmers
create the object architecture?

(personally I think this is a lot more interesting than "I want a
Joost invite", but I can see where maybe we should take it offline.
I'll wait for objections first.)

Oh! if there is anyone else on this list using Blend for a project I'd
be REALLY interested in talking to you on list or off list.

-- dave

On 4/5/07, Håkan Reis <hakan.reis at dotway.se> wrote:
> I haven't experienced it myself, but I had a few colleagues that did distant
> pair programming. The used the same code base shared via subversion and
> shifted remote desktop so the user that did the development was the native
> machine and the by-programmer remote. In addition the used webcam and mic to
> chat. It was manageable but not good...
>
> I tend not to do much computer based prototyping. Mostly I use paper
> prototypes, focusing on one task at the time. Working as agile as possible.
> In blend I can then In blend I can then quickly layout the basic application
> controls like tabs, buttons, lists etc. An interaction or flow of actions
> for what we currently are working on and that's about what the developer
> needs. I can continue to work on the finish, animation, etc while the
> developer work on the logic and data handling.
>
> To be honest I have an advantage in this. I come from the development and
> worked myself into the interaction and graphical design. I still have some
> engineering skills but most of the time I try to leave as much of the
> development and engineering stuff to those who know better.
>
> / Håkan
>
>
>
> On 4/5/07, David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> > This was exactly our hope in picking Blend as our tool, Josh.
> > We are actually still hopeful that it is helpful, but I was responding
> > to the idea of doing "paired programming". Paired programming assumes
> > co-location.
> >
> > -- dave
> >
> >
> > On 4/5/07, Joshua Seiden <joshseiden at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > In theory, tools like these should make distance collaboration easier,
> > > because you are not communicating about and interpreting specs and
> drawings,
> > > but instead creating shared work objects.
> > >
> > > This of course assumes that the tools supports the real work and
> > > specializations of the people using them.
> > >
> > > JS
> > >
> > > > Håkan, the thought of paired programming crossed my mind as well.
> > > > > Problem for me ... I'm in New York and my developer is in Colombo
> > > > > (That's Sri Lanka). Kinda difficult.
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> ________________________________________________________________
> > > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > > (Un)Subscription Options ...
> http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > > Announcements List .........
> http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> > >
> >
> >
> > --
> > David Malouf
> > http://synapticburn.com/
> > http://ixda.org/
> > http://motorola.com/
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ...
> http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List .........
> http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Håkan Reis
> Dotway AB
>
> Voice: +46 (40) 602 32 10
> Sms: +46 (768) 51 00 33
>
> http://blog.reis.se

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

5 Apr 2007 - 5:38pm
Matt Theakston
2007

i agree this is a good topic!

i'm not working professionally with blend, but am planning on working with
it in the upcoming weeks in my hci masters program, under the guise of
prototyping and implementation. The onus is to be implenting with vb.net in
visual studio(!), much to the consternation of many hci grads in the class-
my thinking is that blend will allow a good way of working with the ui and
back end stuff in visual studio.

i havent dug around the app too much at this stage, but am i'm definitely
interested in people's experiences with blend, and will let you know when i
have anything more concrete to share.

just to let you know there are people exploring this stuff, hope you guys
keep it on list!

cheers,

Matt Theakston
DePaul University.

On 4/5/07, David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> It sounds like you landed where we landed in using the tool.
>
> i think we differ in that I don't like paper prototypes because they
> don't "behave" like a real application and as an interaction designer
> "behavior" is our bread and butter. So I'm really hungry to be able to
> make prototypes in blend that work. I realize there are some behaviors
> that you get to manipulate in Blend and those are REALLY awesome, but
> I want better access to click control, so i can create the flow.
>
> Håkan, I'm also curious as to your object model of your applications.
> Do you create a lot of user controls and do nested embedding of those
> controls or do you create flat "screens" and let the programmers
> create the object architecture?
>
> (personally I think this is a lot more interesting than "I want a
> Joost invite", but I can see where maybe we should take it offline.
> I'll wait for objections first.)
>
> Oh! if there is anyone else on this list using Blend for a project I'd
> be REALLY interested in talking to you on list or off list.
>
> -- dave
>
>
>
> On 4/5/07, Håkan Reis <hakan.reis at dotway.se> wrote:
> > I haven't experienced it myself, but I had a few colleagues that did
> distant
> > pair programming. The used the same code base shared via subversion and
> > shifted remote desktop so the user that did the development was the
> native
> > machine and the by-programmer remote. In addition the used webcam and
> mic to
> > chat. It was manageable but not good...
> >
> > I tend not to do much computer based prototyping. Mostly I use paper
> > prototypes, focusing on one task at the time. Working as agile as
> possible.
> > In blend I can then In blend I can then quickly layout the basic
> application
> > controls like tabs, buttons, lists etc. An interaction or flow of
> actions
> > for what we currently are working on and that's about what the developer
> > needs. I can continue to work on the finish, animation, etc while the
> > developer work on the logic and data handling.
> >
> > To be honest I have an advantage in this. I come from the development
> and
> > worked myself into the interaction and graphical design. I still have
> some
> > engineering skills but most of the time I try to leave as much of the
> > development and engineering stuff to those who know better.
> >
> > / Håkan
> >
> >
> >
> > On 4/5/07, David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > This was exactly our hope in picking Blend as our tool, Josh.
> > > We are actually still hopeful that it is helpful, but I was responding
> > > to the idea of doing "paired programming". Paired programming assumes
> > > co-location.
> > >
> > > -- dave
> > >
> > >
> > > On 4/5/07, Joshua Seiden <joshseiden at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > > In theory, tools like these should make distance collaboration
> easier,
> > > > because you are not communicating about and interpreting specs and
> > drawings,
> > > > but instead creating shared work objects.
> > > >
> > > > This of course assumes that the tools supports the real work and
> > > > specializations of the people using them.
> > > >
> > > > JS
> > > >
> > > > > Håkan, the thought of paired programming crossed my mind as well.
> > > > > > Problem for me ... I'm in New York and my developer is in
> Colombo
> > > > > > (That's Sri Lanka). Kinda difficult.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > > > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > > > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > > > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > > > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > > > (Un)Subscription Options ...
> > http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > > > Announcements List .........
> > http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > > > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > > > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > > > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > David Malouf
> > > http://synapticburn.com/
> > > http://ixda.org/
> > > http://motorola.com/
> > >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > > (Un)Subscription Options ...
> > http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > > Announcements List .........
> > http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Håkan Reis
> > Dotway AB
> >
> > Voice: +46 (40) 602 32 10
> > Sms: +46 (768) 51 00 33
> >
> > http://blog.reis.se
>
>
> --
> David Malouf
> http://synapticburn.com/
> http://ixda.org/
> http://motorola.com/
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

6 Apr 2007 - 4:39pm
Christian Sosa-Lanz
2006

On Apr 5, 2007, at 12:26 PM, David Malouf wrote:
... (personally I think this is a lot more interesting than "I want a
Joost invite", but I can see where maybe we should take it offline.
I'll wait for objections first.)....

I'm definitely interested in reading the rest of this thread. I hope
you guys keep it "online". I'm curious as to how Blend can truly be
integrated into an IxD's definition process.

Christian Sosa-Lanz

7 Apr 2007 - 11:01am
Chris Bernard
2007

I think that the quote that " I'm curious as to how Blend can truly be integrated into an IxD's definition process." Is an interesting one and I'll be honest and say I'm not sure Blend answers this (nor honestly, was it designed to) in its current state. As I've discussed with many folks the 'intent' and ambition of Blend is to be an interaction design production tool for an API for Windows called WPF (and eventually a cross-platform rich-Web based runtime called WPF/e), versus a purely conceptual tool. There are folks using it for prototyping but they are more of the ilk of using a paired team of designer and developer or represent an individual that happens to understand Windows programming languages like C# (Not too far removed from JavaScript or ActionScript). If you're in a smaller shop, flying your own shingle, or unfamiliar with Windows software development nobody is pretending in Microsoft that a learning curve isn't involved. But for the 50% of the software development world that develops using technology like .NET the capabilities of WPF and Blend can be game changing.

There are some distinct advantages to creating prototypes in Blend but don't think that's what you're asking right?

If I take off my MS hat and talk purely as a designer I don't think there is any program that really gets a designer from the definition process into design very easily, I'd even argue that in the early stage of WPF (released last November and Blend, which has not officially shipped) that most of the WPF work that I see out there hasn't seen it's full potential because we haven't been engaging the folks that spend all that time in the definition process.

I'd suspect with most folks these days this process still starts with Sharpies, paper and post it notes and then evolves into using tools like Visio, OmniGraffle, Illustrator. Longer term I'd love for the Expression and ANY design workflow to embrace some type of annotation and sketching paradigm that could follow and be attached to a project forever.

I'll do a few shameless plugs here for folks that want to learn more about this without getting this list too off topic. One, my blog lists very frankly some of the hopes, challenges and opportunities that we are encountering with Expression products and Blend. (It's not all I talk about but a good chunk of it).

Second, a peer of mine in Microsoft named Will Tschumy and myself recently did a podcast over at Core77.com with Steve Portigal talking about our role in Microsoft and the role that design and User Experience play in Microsoft.

Chris Bernard
Microsoft
User Experience Evangelist
chris.bernard at microsoft.com
312.925.4095

Blog: www.designthinkingdigest.com
Design: www.microsoft.com/design
Tools: www.microsoft.com/expression

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Christian Sosa-Lanz
Sent: Friday, April 06, 2007 4:39 PM
To: IxDA Discuss
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Expression Blend a "review"

On Apr 5, 2007, at 12:26 PM, David Malouf wrote:
... (personally I think this is a lot more interesting than "I want a
Joost invite", but I can see where maybe we should take it offline.
I'll wait for objections first.)....

I'm definitely interested in reading the rest of this thread. I hope
you guys keep it "online". I'm curious as to how Blend can truly be
integrated into an IxD's definition process.

Christian Sosa-Lanz

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

8 Apr 2007 - 10:34pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Hi Chris,

I've been reading your stuff with interest about why Blend is not what
I think it is supposed to be and I realized reading your last message
where I get stuck. It is this concept: "interaction design production
tool for an API ...".

Huh?

Why in the world would there be a difference between an interaction
design production tool and an interaction design tool regardless of
whether it is open like Dreamweaver (HTML being the open technology)
or closed like Flash?

I also think you are misinterpreting something here or maybe taking
the Visio > Blend beef a bit too far. Personally, if I never opened up
Visio again, it would be too soon. Its not that I hate it as a tool, I
just think it is the wrong tool for my job. It is a drawing tool and
to design interactions you need to be able to design with "time" as a
primary manipulated component of your sketches. Yes, I can can do
click through in Visio, but itis clunky.

But I digress ... my real point here is that good design tool is one
that is both in production and out of production. It is a tool that
the designer can use to complete a picture and use that tool to create
a vision. If it is a "production tool" as you suggest, then it is not
a design tool, b/c it seems that the main person who should be using
it is a coder, and not the designer.

I think in one of your articles or someone else's I read they spoke
about the triad of designer, ui coder, developer as the bridge where
the designer works with the UI coder to create something that is
handed off to the developer. But to me that is where I've been for the
last 10 years. Either, I have to be the UI coder, or I have to hire
someone to take on that role. This happens in (D)HTML/AJAX/JSP/ASP,
Flash/Director, C++, .NET1.0, etc. Wherever I've worked there has
always been this intemediary between myself and the "back end" coding
team. What I thought I was hearing from MS was that through XAML
(created by Blend) we were finally going to have the ability to remove
that go-between. But what I think I'm hearing is that the go-between
is not only there, but an intentionality? This is where I get stuck on
where I'm hearing you are saying where Blend is headed or was
intended.

I don't think there is anything inherent in WPF or WPF/E that should
make Blend any more complex than any other markup + scripting tool. It
has some great features, and an amazing component library and
language, but it is as similar to other methods of development as
Windows is to Mac is to Star. Separate style, structure, and user
interaction from logic. Makes sense to me.

Now, if Blend is not "ready" yet to fulfill the promise, that is cool,
but that doesn't mean that it isn't falling short or the mark in a
market filled with tools that achieve similar comparable goals for the
80% that would be using it.

Now there are things in WPF as a desktop application designer, I think
are totally worth keeping to the old model of design & pray (with a
little more stability so you need a bit less prayer), especailly in
the many types of grid components. 8-)

But I could just draw things in designer and hand them off, or draw
things in Blend. But what I draw in either system is going to have to
be reworked just like the HTML work I've been doing for a decade, once
it gets passed through the 2 levels of interpretation necessary to
make the application stable, scalable, and a good performer.

-- dave

-- dave

11 Apr 2007 - 7:33pm
Chris Bernard
2007

Some clarifications and answers on some great questions Dave posited in his last post. (This will be long and transparent so if you're not interested in Blend I'd move on to the next subject. I've edited but not altered comments for clarity.) I suspect some of this may be too arcane for this list and if so Dave and I will go back to the blogs on this stuff).

If you're in a hurry here's the quick summary.

-Blend and Expression Tools are a supplement to tools you already use, not a replacement.

-Blend, Expression and other MS gooblygook are simply mechanisms to execute good designs, they won't solve a lot of the challenges we have as IxD folks or experience designers (but they will give us a new set of options and capabilities to ponder and we move from conceptualization into design).

-They are 1.0 tools that support new technology platforms. We certainly have some areas that need improvement. If you use or dabble with these tools and have things to say we're listening and want to know what you think.

Here's more...

So Dave starts with..."I've been reading your stuff with interest about why Blend is not what I think it is supposed to be and I realized reading your last message where I get stuck. It is this concept: '...interaction design production tool for an API ...'. Huh?" Why in the world would there be a difference between an interaction design production tool and an interaction design tool regardless of whether it is open like Dreamweaver (HTML being the open technology) or closed like Flash?"

Dave is asking a few questions here based on two different statements that I made on my blog. (www.designthinkingdigest.com<http://www.designthinkingdigest.com> and his blog at http://synapticburn.com)

Question One
I stated that Blend is a production tool that is designed for creating user interfaces or is...'an interaction design production tool for an API...' In the wonderful of Windows application development this is accomplished by the interaction of a number of components that are predicated on a separation of application logic from presentation.

Application logic is typically created using a tool called Visual Studio with a variety of gooblygook I won't detail here. In fact, Blend uses this very same project system (So projects in Blend look more like what you'd see if you were using something like After Effects or looking at a Web Site in Dreamweaver. What's different about this than using a tool like Photoshop or Illustrator is that the work you do in Blend is not saved in a binary file format. Rather, it's saved it something called a XAML file. XAML stands for eXtensible Application Markup Language and it's basically like an XML file. This file actually describes your interface (but not the application logic).

There are some amazing benefits to this. One benefit is that there is no translation that needs to occur between a design in Photoshop or Illustrator that might need to be 'cut' or optimized. The second benefit is that if you've built a proof of concept using something like Azure or iRise or Flash that you don't need to recreate the look and feel and interactivity (or perhaps discover in production that your target platform doesn't support it). Finally, it allows you to rapidly and iteratively work on the design and application logic in parallel without having to worry about a designer stepping on the code or a developer making a mockery of the design.

But there are also some challenges that you're taking on with this approach too and they require a learning curve to overcome right now that may be uncomfortable for some designers. Because Blend is designed to be a tool for production it's looking for real code to drive that application logic that may make a button do something interested, like populate a data field in another region of an application. In our model you'd create this code using Visual Studio. A more succinct way to put it is that your 'code view' in Blend is Visual Studio. Blend creates a part of the application you're creating (The UI and interactions and controls that can be supported by it's numerous component libraries or via databinding). But it doesn't create the entire application.

Question Two
Dave asks "Why in the world would there be a difference between an interaction design production tool and an interaction design tool regardless of whether it is open like Dreamweaver (HTML being the open technology) or closed like Flash?"

I perhaps should have chosen my words more carefully here and perhaps Dreamweaver is a better analogy than Flash but I think the difference I was trying to illustrate is this. There's a difference between a tool like Dreamweaver versus Blend because of the nature of what they are trying to accomplish. In Dreamweaver you may be able to declaratively create a Web site but eventually you're going to need or want to go into code view to tweak things or perhaps using a dynamic scripting language like JavaScript to add application logic.

Blend's ambition was to be a tool that would let you declaratively create an interface that can be rendered in XAML and plug into application logic controlled by (gooblygook coming) MS technology called .NET 3.0. NET 3.0 is similar to Java in which a virtual machine called a common language runtime (CLR) will execute application logic for the UI engine this is called Windows Presentation Foundation or WPF and other CLR languages like C3, J# and VB.NET.
We've succeeded in creating a tool that lets you declaratively design interfaces and accomplish A LOT without ever having to go to code. But there are some things that we can't do without code and that jump to Visual Studio is required. We still need to expose a user to code in Visual Studio and have users manipulate WPF or C# to do some of the things they might want to accomplish.

In this way I think Blend is more like Dreamweaver or even Flash (if you're using ActionScript). I don't think that down and dirty interaction with WPF will every completely go away. Just like folks that can write HTML and CSS by hand can be very effective in Dreamweaver, perhaps more effective than they can with handcoding I think you'll find the same with Blend. Knowing WPF and XAML even though you'll very rarely touch it is useful and will help you be more productive with Blend, but just like with HTML and CSS there are going to be some designers that aren't going to pick that up. For folks like that Blend, in its current state, will be tough and I think this precludes it from being considered a true prototyping tool by many. To say you can't prototype in Blend is probably not true, to say you can't prototype without touching code or having application logic assets or proxies for them (like XML files to support or simulate a data pull) is true.
A more real way to think about this is like this. I may draw a shape in Illustrator or Photoshop or create an animation in After Effects and I really don't care how it's done. However in Flash or perhaps in a 3D modeling program knowing the technology that is driving what happens in the application is really important. A giant gradient in Flash or in WPF may have performance issues if I don't understand the rendering pipeline for example. A large 3D model with multiple polygons may make a render barf if I overload a scene. Some technology can shield me from everything. Some technology doesn't even try. We're trying to hit the middle ground here and we've largely (but not totally succeeded for the 1.0 product).

Moving On
Regarding Visio and how we use it (or dislike it). As nice as it would be I don't think Blend solves any of the issues that Dave illustrates in his post. But I don't think we said it would either. That being said I'd love to hear from folks how it could be useful for them if it had certain features. A few that come to my mind are the ability to have some type of application component or page structure (ala InDesign perhaps) and an annotation layer that could live and breathe and follow a project and be turned off and on or have no impact on runtime applications. Could something like this finally give us living and breathing artifacts that actually lived with the application?

Production tools versus design tools
Dave says "But I digress ... my real point here is that good design tool is one that is both in production and out of production. It is a tool that the designer can use to complete a picture and use that tool to create a vision. If it is a "production tool" as you suggest, then it is not a design tool, b/c it seems that the main person who should be using it is a coder, and not the designer."

So I guess my question is this? Is Adobe Photoshop a design tool? I can conceptually figure out a lot with that tool if I'm creating a web site or hashing out how an application can layout. I can do the same with Illustrator. Even with Omingraffle or Visio. I can even chunk up and optimize all my elements in those programs, but I can't really complete the picture can I? Blend is a great tool for being conceptual and getting your design or interface in a format that is REAL and can be rendered as is by an application. You can do all this without ever having to look at code, optimize something or cut it up. Is it REALLY not a design tool to you? I think that's an overly broad statement. I suspect developers will use Blend but I know any designer that is determined to work on a Windows based project would benefit tremendously from using Blend. For our target scenario of building Windows applications a designer will simply be better served by using Blend that other existing design tools if they want to ensure that their vision is represented in software in the most cost effective, quality focused and efficient way possible.
Dave continues with, "Either, I have to be the UI coder, or I have to hire someone to take on that role. This happens in (D)HTML/AJAX/JSP/ASP, Flash/Director, C++, .NET1.0, etc. Wherever I've worked there has always been this intermediary between myself and the "back end" coding team. What I thought I was hearing from MS was that through XAML (created by Blend) we were finally going to have the ability to remove that go-between. But what I think I'm hearing is that the go-between is not only there, but intentionally? This is where I get stuck on where I'm hearing you are saying where Blend is headed or was intended."
Here is where I agree with Dave. Our goal was to allow designers and developers to work directly with each other. XAML is supposed to remove that go between and it does, but in a rather specific scenario (in the design and interactivity) right now and we've got room to improve here (in providing more application logic that lets people prototype more robust scenarios). Specifically from a prototyping perspective for those folks that really aren't too keen on bumping around in Visual Studio. Dave's made some very good suggestions to me privately and publically for how we could improve this and if others on this list have insights I'd love to hear them.

I'd like to reiterate folks that are on this list that part of the reason I'm here is to take your thoughts and feedback back to the product teams for these products. Many folks on this list have reached out to me and I'm interested in helping folks be successful with these tools if you choose to use them.

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of David Malouf
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2007 10:35 PM
To: IxDA Discuss
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Expression Blend a "review"

Hi Chris,

I've been reading your stuff with interest about why Blend is not what
I think it is supposed to be and I realized reading your last message
where I get stuck. It is this concept: "interaction design production
tool for an API ...".

Huh?

Why in the world would there be a difference between an interaction
design production tool and an interaction design tool regardless of
whether it is open like Dreamweaver (HTML being the open technology)
or closed like Flash?

I also think you are misinterpreting something here or maybe taking
the Visio > Blend beef a bit too far. Personally, if I never opened up
Visio again, it would be too soon. Its not that I hate it as a tool, I
just think it is the wrong tool for my job. It is a drawing tool and
to design interactions you need to be able to design with "time" as a
primary manipulated component of your sketches. Yes, I can can do
click through in Visio, but itis clunky.

But I digress ... my real point here is that good design tool is one
that is both in production and out of production. It is a tool that
the designer can use to complete a picture and use that tool to create
a vision. If it is a "production tool" as you suggest, then it is not
a design tool, b/c it seems that the main person who should be using
it is a coder, and not the designer.

I think in one of your articles or someone else's I read they spoke
about the triad of designer, ui coder, developer as the bridge where
the designer works with the UI coder to create something that is
handed off to the developer. But to me that is where I've been for the
last 10 years. Either, I have to be the UI coder, or I have to hire
someone to take on that role. This happens in (D)HTML/AJAX/JSP/ASP,
Flash/Director, C++, .NET1.0, etc. Wherever I've worked there has
always been this intemediary between myself and the "back end" coding
team. What I thought I was hearing from MS was that through XAML
(created by Blend) we were finally going to have the ability to remove
that go-between. But what I think I'm hearing is that the go-between
is not only there, but an intentionality? This is where I get stuck on
where I'm hearing you are saying where Blend is headed or was
intended.

I don't think there is anything inherent in WPF or WPF/E that should
make Blend any more complex than any other markup + scripting tool. It
has some great features, and an amazing component library and
language, but it is as similar to other methods of development as
Windows is to Mac is to Star. Separate style, structure, and user
interaction from logic. Makes sense to me.

Now, if Blend is not "ready" yet to fulfill the promise, that is cool,
but that doesn't mean that it isn't falling short or the mark in a
market filled with tools that achieve similar comparable goals for the
80% that would be using it.

Now there are things in WPF as a desktop application designer, I think
are totally worth keeping to the old model of design & pray (with a
little more stability so you need a bit less prayer), especailly in
the many types of grid components. 8-)

But I could just draw things in designer and hand them off, or draw
things in Blend. But what I draw in either system is going to have to
be reworked just like the HTML work I've been doing for a decade, once
it gets passed through the 2 levels of interpretation necessary to
make the application stable, scalable, and a good performer.

-- dave

-- dave
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

Chris Bernard
Microsoft
User Experience Evangelist
chris.bernard at microsoft.com<mailto:chris.bernard at microsoft.com>
312.925.4095

Blog: www.designthinkingdigest.com<http://www.designthinkingdigest.com/>
Design: www.microsoft.com/design<http://www.microsoft.com/design>
Tools: www.microsoft.com/expression<http://www.microsoft.com/expression>

12 Apr 2007 - 5:56pm
Christian Sosa-Lanz
2006

Chris, was starting to follow your positioning of Blend until you
started talking about prototyping.

As a production tool, Blend seam to be a great asset to the industry.
It allows the designer and coder to work together during production,
separating the visual, interactive layer from the code. But as a
prototyping tool it seams to hit the same issues that any existing
coded prototype would. As mentioned by Cooper, coded prototypes tend
to lead to a final product that is based on flawed or inefficient
structure. The key to prototypes, whether they be paper or digital is
that they are throw away. The more you need to clean up and consider
code efficiencies during iterations, the more system centered you
design.

Other design industries practice this throw away prototype approach.
Their reasons for using a different material for mock-ups seam to be
similar to ours cheaper, quicker and more flexible. Is there
something unique to interaction design that causes us to prototype
with steel or is it that our industry has not yet matured into this
conclusion?

Christian

12 Apr 2007 - 9:51pm
Chris Bernard
2007

There's nothing I disagree with here that you're saying. Specifically around..." As mentioned by Cooper, coded prototypes tend to lead to a final product that is based on flawed or inefficient structure."

I'd even go further and say today prototypes are really about facilitation among all the disparate groups in an organization that need to get their head around something.

"...The more you need to clean up and consider code efficiencies during iterations, the more system centered you design." is also true. But I think one place where we get in trouble with prototypes (and perhaps the word I should use here really is 'proof of concept') is that we often make decisions based on a prototype that eventually prove pretty hard (or impossible) to implement and this is after things have been approved and after we're in production.

That's rather impossible to do with Blend in its current state and perhaps make Blend and interesting tool to do a POC with versus a tool that's a bit more blue sky but still a proxy for a final deployment. Blend might in fact make the POC model for Windows application development work much better and it's safe to say that an interface created in Blend is going to be ripe for pushing into production.

But to be clear and as many on this board would probably agree, creating an application or a design solution is much like painting a room. The detail work is in the planning and the exploration that occurs in front of actual production.

If I look at how a traditional interaction design firm or a Doblin or an Ideo or <insert firm here> that does competent design work rarely is the tool set a critical issue for figuring out WHAT to do, it really only matters when it comes time to figure out HOW to do something. More important are the processes and frameworks we bring to these analysis, synthesis and conceptualization phases.

Most of the software that I create still starts at a white board and with post it notes, sharpies, notebook paper and a digital camera and then reaching for a tool like Visio, Omnigraffle or InDesign. I suppose Blend might lend itself for some explorations around the nuance of timing and other interface interactivity but this is really a place for tools to play.

Big D design is much more like consulting in my mind. People look at a Bain or a McKinsey and compare, frameworks, processes and models--not who is using InDesign versus Visio for artifact creation. There's a big part of design (perhaps the most important part) that really has nothing to do with tools or platforms except from an ROI or market adoption perspective.

What do others think? Do tools matter in Big D design from an execution perspective?

Chris Bernard
Microsoft
User Experience Evangelist
chris.bernard at microsoft.com
312.925.4095

Blog: www.designthinkingdigest.com
Design: www.microsoft.com/design
Tools: www.microsoft.com/expression

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Christian Sosa-Lanz
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 5:57 PM
To: IxDA Discuss
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Expression Blend a "review"

Chris, was starting to follow your positioning of Blend until you
started talking about prototyping.

As a production tool, Blend seam to be a great asset to the industry.
It allows the designer and coder to work together during production,
separating the visual, interactive layer from the code. But as a
prototyping tool it seams to hit the same issues that any existing
coded prototype would. As mentioned by Cooper, coded prototypes tend
to lead to a final product that is based on flawed or inefficient
structure. The key to prototypes, whether they be paper or digital is
that they are throw away. The more you need to clean up and consider
code efficiencies during iterations, the more system centered you
design.

Other design industries practice this throw away prototype approach.
Their reasons for using a different material for mock-ups seam to be
similar to ours cheaper, quicker and more flexible. Is there
something unique to interaction design that causes us to prototype
with steel or is it that our industry has not yet matured into this
conclusion?

Christian
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

13 Apr 2007 - 10:07am
Michael Micheletti
2006

Chris,

Designers sail past different shores of a large sea. Some skirt close to the
land of the developers and sometimes walk onto the beach to trade fish and
curiosities for handmade trinkets. Some of us even learn to handmake
articles ourselves - to hold the tools and carve the wood. Other designers
sail the deep waters of pure thought and academic discourse, never in
generations to set foot on land in their search for the legendary white
whale of theory. Still others sit on shore, tools in hand, dreaming of the
day they'll have a boat and can sail the design sea.

So for many of us, tools do matter, whether we hold them in our own hands or
trade for goods crafted with them. The key question for you, O maker of
tools, is do _your_ tools matter.

I would say that if I were to design a brand new application destined for a
.NET release somewhere farther than six months out, then your tools would be
of very great interest to me. In fact, I've already forwarded much of this
thread along to some of the development artisans I trade with. If I were to
design minor revisions to an existing application, even an existing .NET
application, your tools will probably not help. If I were to design an Ajax
web component, your tools will probably not help. If I were to design an
application in a Java shop or for a command line or for a mobile device,
I'll put your tools in a drawer and ask the artisans to use something else.
If I am trying to illustrate an early concept to show to a design session,
something altogether other than Blend is called for.

Your tools, after they are fully sharpened, show potential for being
powerful shapers of the Microsoft wood. The XAML syntax is readable. The
integration with Visual Studio looks promising. I have hope of using them
myself, or working with skillful craftsmen who do, in some future project.
But for now I hew the wood of the Java tree with plans made in Visio and
surfaces in Photoshop and code in Eclipse and Ant.

Michael Micheletti

On 4/12/07, Chris Bernard <Chris.Bernard at microsoft.com> wrote:
>
> What do others think? Do tools matter in Big D design from an execution
> perspective?
>
>

13 Apr 2007 - 10:06am
Rob Jones
2007

When doing design, there is "Getting the right design" and "Getting the
design right".

For "getting the right design", I rely on whiteboard, paper and Omnigraffle
on the Mac.

Once I am satisfied that I have the right design (which is usually after
MANY iterations) I focus on getting the design right.. this is more tools
focused and usually involves tools and technologies like HTML, Flex ,
Photoshop and Flash.

The problem with getting bogged down with tools when trying to get the right
design is that

1) You cannot iterate as fast
2) The tools themselves can shape and influence your design

Great topic.

Rob

On 4/12/07, Chris Bernard <Chris.Bernard at microsoft.com> wrote:
>
> There's nothing I disagree with here that you're saying. Specifically
> around..." As mentioned by Cooper, coded prototypes tend to lead to a final
> product that is based on flawed or inefficient structure."
>
> I'd even go further and say today prototypes are really about facilitation
> among all the disparate groups in an organization that need to get their
> head around something.
>
> "...The more you need to clean up and consider code efficiencies during
> iterations, the more system centered you design." is also true. But I think
> one place where we get in trouble with prototypes (and perhaps the word I
> should use here really is 'proof of concept') is that we often make
> decisions based on a prototype that eventually prove pretty hard (or
> impossible) to implement and this is after things have been approved and
> after we're in production.
>
> That's rather impossible to do with Blend in its current state and perhaps
> make Blend and interesting tool to do a POC with versus a tool that's a bit
> more blue sky but still a proxy for a final deployment. Blend might in fact
> make the POC model for Windows application development work much better and
> it's safe to say that an interface created in Blend is going to be ripe for
> pushing into production.
>
> But to be clear and as many on this board would probably agree, creating
> an application or a design solution is much like painting a room. The detail
> work is in the planning and the exploration that occurs in front of actual
> production.
>
> If I look at how a traditional interaction design firm or a Doblin or an
> Ideo or <insert firm here> that does competent design work rarely is the
> tool set a critical issue for figuring out WHAT to do, it really only
> matters when it comes time to figure out HOW to do something. More important
> are the processes and frameworks we bring to these analysis, synthesis and
> conceptualization phases.
>
> Most of the software that I create still starts at a white board and with
> post it notes, sharpies, notebook paper and a digital camera and then
> reaching for a tool like Visio, Omnigraffle or InDesign. I suppose Blend
> might lend itself for some explorations around the nuance of timing and
> other interface interactivity but this is really a place for tools to play.
>
> Big D design is much more like consulting in my mind. People look at a
> Bain or a McKinsey and compare, frameworks, processes and models--not who is
> using InDesign versus Visio for artifact creation. There's a big part of
> design (perhaps the most important part) that really has nothing to do with
> tools or platforms except from an ROI or market adoption perspective.
>
> What do others think? Do tools matter in Big D design from an execution
> perspective?
>
>
> Chris Bernard
> Microsoft
> User Experience Evangelist
> chris.bernard at microsoft.com
> 312.925.4095
>
>
>
> Blog: www.designthinkingdigest.com
> Design: www.microsoft.com/design
> Tools: www.microsoft.com/expression
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:
> discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Christian
> Sosa-Lanz
> Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 5:57 PM
> To: IxDA Discuss
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Expression Blend a "review"
>
> Chris, was starting to follow your positioning of Blend until you
> started talking about prototyping.
>
> As a production tool, Blend seam to be a great asset to the industry.
> It allows the designer and coder to work together during production,
> separating the visual, interactive layer from the code. But as a
> prototyping tool it seams to hit the same issues that any existing
> coded prototype would. As mentioned by Cooper, coded prototypes tend
> to lead to a final product that is based on flawed or inefficient
> structure. The key to prototypes, whether they be paper or digital is
> that they are throw away. The more you need to clean up and consider
> code efficiencies during iterations, the more system centered you
> design.
>
> Other design industries practice this throw away prototype approach.
> Their reasons for using a different material for mock-ups seam to be
> similar to ours cheaper, quicker and more flexible. Is there
> something unique to interaction design that causes us to prototype
> with steel or is it that our industry has not yet matured into this
> conclusion?
>
> Christian
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
Rob Jones - Interaction Designer
"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."

13 Apr 2007 - 9:28pm
Dave Malouf
2005

On 4/13/07, Rob Jones <sugarfreejones at gmail.com> wrote:
> The problem with getting bogged down with tools when trying to get the right
> design is that
>
> 1) You cannot iterate as fast
> 2) The tools themselves can shape and influence your design

yes, yes, we know this ... but what happens when the tools
1. are easy and quick
2. are built on very advanced platforms that are not as limiting

And as I said in a longer post, isn't having an tight understanding of
constraints an important informant of design?

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

Syndicate content Get the feed