Re: Switching apps/GUIs

19 Apr 2005 - 3:47pm
11 years ago
2 replies
764 reads
Andrei Herasimchuk

David Heller wrote:

> Uh! So the issue is going to fall on taste, b/c your biggest complaint is
> what I love about it.

Not taste from my pov. Functionality. Fireworks is a cool drawing tool,
but I don't consider it useful for the kind of screen work I create. I
need full pixel level control at all times to do screen design work.

> It isn't perfect, but the fact that text, and vector
> drawings are objects in their own "layer" that don't need to be in a
> specific layer is what I LOVE about fireworks and why I think it is much
> better than photoshop.

There are certainly aspects of Photoshop's object model that are
severely lacking, but I don't find specific needs for certain vector
based workflow inside Photoshop to be an impediment to what I need to
do, especially considering that most interfaces rarely can be drawn as a
vector or object based system. As for Fireworks using the FH or AI style
object model, it has some benefits but it gets in the way once you need
to dive very deep into a specific pixel-based specification of how an
interface is drawn either at a programmatic level or compositing level.

> I feel I have too much to manage in Photoshop and
> that it requires the use of layers where Fireworks doesn't.

That's actually why I need to use Photoshop, because I need to manage
every single pixel at the *pixel* level if necessary, which is often. As
for the way Photoshop uses layers, it's easily one of the better ways to
force you to draw an interface/screen in such a way as it can be coded
either programatically or in a way as to be useful from a resource
production point of view.

> Next ... GUI Design tool ... I mean, it is totally process oriented. Nothing
> more. Input pixels output HTML ... Good HTML at that.

Input pixels, output HTML. You're speaking now of web development, and
I'm speaking more broadly about all screen design, whether it be the UI
for MS Word, Amazon's web site or the interface for a TiVO.

But to your point about drawing pixels and outputting HTML... That seems
to be my problem with what you might be doing. I don't use Dreamweaver,
GoLive or anything to output HTML. I have never found any good solution
that has me "draw" an HTML layout and produce the correct mark-up. Ever.
I'm a control freak, I'll hand write my mark-up and paint each and every
pixel the way I want it designed and written. In that regard, Photoshop
gives me the pixel level control I need while I switch constantly from
mark-up tools like BBEdit, HomeSite, VisualStudio, etc.

> Again, don't you think Andrei, that you might be a tad bioased, since you
> breathed Photoshop for so long that maybe your design model and mental model
> are well a bit too overlaid.

Who isn't biased? That's a non-starter. And FWIW, I consider myself an
equal opportunity hater when it comes to software tools. They all suck
in different ways in my world view, and I use the one that sucks the
least and allows me the most control over what it is that I do. 8^)

> It reacted the way I expected it to. No more, and maybe a little less. I do
> think that subfolders would be beneficial, but otherwise, it is fine.

And I'm biased? Don't you think that sounds a little over the top? I
would never say Photoshop is "fine." Photoshop is not fine, and because
I had such an intimate relationship with how it was made, I'm actually
far more critical of it than I am of anything else.

Should I be more vocal about that criticism? I'm more than happy to be
at things like a First Friday off the record. I try and choose my words
carefully online so the Adobe Legal Eagles won't come knocking on my
door. I like my house.

> As for specifically a GUI drawing tool, it's single integration with
> animation (frames) and the canvas makes for a juicy way to share components
> across frames easily and tell a story (as an animation should).

I have no idea why this is useful with regard to the GUI drawing tool
part of the sentence. Telling a story via animation has little to do
with the usefulness of a tool as a GUI *drawing* tool.

> Don't have to output to bitmap and then
> import into powerpoint like I would with Photoshop (and the integration w/
> ImageReady [the fact that it is a separate app alone says this] is not where
> I need it to be.)

Powerpoint? Can you see the spittle forming on the screen yet? I'll
leave this one alone.

> Again, look at the WHOLE picture, and not just the parts. Fireworks by
> itself would never be a complete sell: Fireworks, Flash and Dreamweaver is a
> complete package that I can't imagine living w/o.

I'm glad you can. I would never trust or rely on the HTML generated by
Dreamweaver or GoLive for production mark-up based on their drawing
tools (I understand people don't mind using them as pure coding
environments, which is somewhat different in my book). I do not like the
lack of full, unadulterated pixel per pixel level control I require for
screen design when I use Fireworks. Flash? That's mostly a pain in the
butt to use, but has to be tolerated it due to a lack of anything else
more robust or easier to use out there.

But as the whole GUI design and development picture? Those three
programs are hardly the whole picture, Dave. I simply cannot agree with
that assessment.

>>Well, now we know you're sick in the head.

> <ok, was that REALLY necessary?>

It was tongue in cheek. However, you're the one claiming you are forcing
your designers to adopt a suite of packages that IMHO are not adequate
for GUI or interface/screen design work. You might want to consider that
you are not doing them any favors in this regard.

At Adobe, yes, all the designers had to use Adobe products to deliver
their work, but I would never take away any tool they wanted to *add* to
their arsenal or use because they felt they could get more done. At the
end of the day, all that's required is a certain level spec that can be
used for production purposes, right?

Why on earth would you force such a limited set of tools onto designers?
How can that possibly be the right thing to do as a manager? If it's
purely a budget issue, I would question the motives of your execs behind
saving a couple thousand dollars ever 12 to 16 months or so with the
design team. The tools developers use are far more costly than buying
the designers an MX suite and the CS suite. But from your message, it's
hard to tell if it is purely budget issue.

A matter of taste? There's more to this discussion than just that, and
to think this is nothing more than a religious war over tools I think
might miss some deeper issues about how people in this field do their
work. Issues which you brought up in the first place by even broaching
the subject.

In fact, beyond the budgetary question you raised, there's an entire
sub-text of how people in this field create their deliverables and the
tools they use. More importantly how they use them has a *direct* effect
on the kind of work being produced, both qualitatively and in terms of



19 Apr 2005 - 5:46pm
Dave Malouf

Huh? (this is the sentiment of my piece)

Ok, I'm not sure that this back and forth is fulfilling that need I told
Paul about before anymore.

And w/ that note (after I've re-written this response 3 times).

I'm interested in what other people have experienced when they were forced
through cultural change to move from one design tool (or any tool) to

E.g. we are implementing DOORs. This means I am going to have to move from
using one set of tools for documentation to another. It was partially my
choice b/c I saw some benefits,b ut it wasn't wholey my own.

I'm sure we have all faced cultural change:
Outlook > Notes (visa versa)
Adobe > Macromedia
Visio > OmniGraffle
Mac > PC (btw, I wrote an article about the unpleasantness of going
from PC > Mac that I'm waiting to hear back from a publisher about.)

Jared's points about loyalty and the difficulty of changing platforms and
tools is totally right on target. Some people will move fluently between
tools, but I have experiences that supports Jared's studies, and would go
with that. I am feeling it now in the work I'm doing and that is all I was
trying to express. Sorry I went down the road of the FW vs. PS line.

-- dave

19 Apr 2005 - 6:41pm
Lada Gorlenko

DH> Jared's points about loyalty and the difficulty of changing platforms and
DH> tools is totally right on target. Some people will move fluently between
DH> tools, but I have experiences that supports Jared's studies, and would go
DH> with that.

Which is not surprising, because it is really about the good old
diffusion-of-innovations bell curve (first described by Everett Rogers
in 1962, but often attributed to Geoffrey Moore). Remember?
Innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, laggards.
In its simplified form, also known as the "Jetway Test" that
distinguishes Homo Sapiens from Homo Logicus, as described by Cooper
in the Asylum.

When a tool reaches the level of performance required by its users,
the tool is good enough and investing in another tool doesn't bring
any economic, yet alone gratification, value (once you a master of
something, it's really difficult to get back to the apprentice's shoes
for no particular benefit).

There are three main reasons why people switch between tools:
1. They need features that are not supported by the original tool
(yeah, right...)
2. They have to because their manager said so (oh, well...)
3. They switch for the sake of switching, regardless of the pragmatic
value of the switch, just because they are Homo Logicus, aka
Innovators and Early Adopters (oh, yessss...)

There is also such thing as the masochistic tendency to follow the
fashion trend at any cost, but this is more about Manolo Blahnik's
stilettos, right? ;-)


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