Adobe Certified Trainer Brian Wood kicks off a two-part HOW Design University online web design workshop on Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite with an introductory course on February 11 (an advanced workshop will begin in March). We asked Brian to talk a little about all the cool interactive features that web designers can build into iPad apps the easy way: without writing code.
First, tell us a little bit about you and your work. You’re a Certified Adobe Trainer, correct?
I am and have been for around 13 years or so. I like to think of myself as a web developer first and a trainer/author second. I do lots of different things like speak at conferences like Adobe MAX, speak at Adobe customer events, write books for Peachpit, articles for various companies, develop websites for clients, and run an online learning site at AskBrianWood.com.
What are you working on right now that’s exciting or cool?
I just finished a redesign and back end makeover for my AskBrianWood.com site. It’s a completely responsive design and has lots of great JQuery bells and whistles. I’m also in the middle of writing a book for Adobe and Peachpit Press.
How similar are the tools in Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite to those that print designers are already familiar with, like InDesign and Photoshop?
The great thing about leveraging DPS to create an app, is that you can use all of the knowledge you already have to create the design content using InDesign and others. It’s like designing for print in one sense: You lay out pages with graphics and text, but then you get to go way beyond print to add some of the awesome interactive functionality that makes an app an app. You may have previously used InDesign to add some interactive features—links, buttons, video and slideshows—to PDFs. So, the only real learning curve is around creating and submitting the actual app file. The rest is relatively straightforward.
What kinds of projects are the ideal fit for producing using DPS?
I get this question a lot. Since there are so many formats available to us today—PDF, web, DPS (app for iPad and other devices), ePub, and many more—it can be tough to choose which is right for your given project. Using DPS Single Edition, you can create an app that “sells” on the Apple Store (that’s what we focus on in the courses I’ll be teaching through HOW Design University). If you pay more money, you can create versions for other stores and devices like Android.
I like to think of it as another possible revenue stream and a new marketing channel for brands. Lots of companies are taking print pieces like magazines, catalogs, learning content, merchandising content, communications and much more, and creating completely interactive apps out of them. The interactivity, in most cases, goes way beyond ePub or PDF. It’s also ideal for those that want to target devices like the iPad, to be able to update their content regularly and even sell advertising space and much more.
Here’s a showcase to see how companies big and small are using DPS to create interactive apps for the iPad.
One of the major benefits that Adobe presents with DPS is that designers can add interactive functionality to their projects without writing code. So, what kinds of cool features can designers build into an app? Give us a sense of the possibilities.
The interactive part of creating with the Digital Publishing Solution is my favorite part of it all because it is almost limitless. If you’ve ever heard of, or worked with, Adobe Edge Animate—an awesome tool for creating interactive and animated web content—you can place that content like a picture in InDesign and add rich interactivity and animation to your app without writing code (here are some Edge examples).
Another cool feature, aside from placing video (or streaming video), adding slideshows and more, is the ability to insert web content, like a web page or form you design and export from Adobe Muse (without writing code) and simply place into your design within InDesign.
Here are some cool examples of DPS interactivity. And you can click on the images below to view a demo of the Benjamin Moore Color Life iPad app, which was developed using Digital Publishing Suite.