App Design and Creation Made Easy

When it comes to creating and implementing an app, the process is often split between two parties: the designer and the developer. Even in the best working relationship, however, sharing responsibilities can easily lead to each party feeling limited by the other. While the designer may be able to craft the most beautiful app for the client, she is limited by the code. The developer may be an HTML whiz, but the intricacies of the design may be lost when the project deadline approaches.

With some improved technology (and a shiny new Creative Cloud membership and pricing plan) from Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition (DPSSE), however, designers are able to create iPad apps on their own, without coding or involving a second party.

At the Adobe MAX Creative Conference, I sat down with a company representative to discuss the new DPSSE. Here’s what you need to know:

  • It is offered as part of the Creative Cloud membership package, which costs $49.99 per month for a single membership or $395 for the year. As a Creative Cloud member, you are able to submit an unlimited number of iPad apps to the Apple App Store. If you design two to three apps per year, the membership has already paid for itself.
  • 90% of the app is created in InDesign using existing templates. When adding interactive elements to the design, the workflow is the same as for creating an interactive pdf. An intuitive tools panel in InDesign also makes this process a breeze. Instant preview capabilities allow designers to preview their work immediately and rework elements based on that feedback. Once the design is finished, the DPS App Builder spits out the code and creates an app file. This app is suitable for any iPad version, including those with high-definition displays.
  • While DPSSE takes creatives through the process from design to app file, submitting the app to the Apple App Store rests on the designer’s shoulders. Adobe’s step-by-step guide to publishing an app helps with this process, as the goal of developing these tools is to “empower creatives to be successful.” Designers can create an unlimited number of different apps and can even update the apps as frequently as they want after submission.
  • Not sure if the SE is for you? The professional and enterprise editions are also available depending on your needs. Adobe describes the differences as follows.

    Single Edition is for individual designers and small design studios that need to publish a single app. Professional Edition is for midsize media companies and business publishers that need an off-the-shelf solution. Enterprise Edition is for larger media corporations, brand organizations, and advertising holding companies that need a custom solution.

Still not convinced? Designer Aaron Draplin, the creative force behind Draplin Design Co., used DPSSE to produce the app-ly named Draplin Design Co., App No. 01. The app, which offers “an exclusive look inside the flat files of the Draplin Design Co., and their spirited—and often delusional—attempts at rescuing American graphic design…from itself,” was released on March 18th and is free to download. Draplin had nothing but great things to say about his experience using DPSSE. Here are a few sound bites regarding his thoughts.

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“I was able to turn a pile of photos into a flickable app in couple of clicks—and it works, which is an infinite, staggering improvement for someone who does not code.”

“It opened a lot of little doors. Now there are no excuses for what you can make.”

“The app is created as if you were in my studio. It’s show and tell. The drawer is open, and you can flip through 100 logos in one concise moment. You can show more quicker.”

“It only took two or three tools to enhance my little mess, and it looks good. It’s my unpolished way of taking a step back to produce these pieces, and they look slick. I can live without all the functionality.”

“Web developers will sell me the world, and then I have to go back to the client and say ‘we’re late.’ I don’t like doing websites because you have to push the project up the food chain. With this tool, I can control the process. It scrolls and has a nice interface, and I can work it today.”

“My biggest fear when submitting to the app store was that they wouldn’t like what I made. It’s a stringent process to get approved because they want you to submit cool stuff. A lot of work goes into it, and when you submit your baby, you worry.”


Want to learn more about app creation using DPS? Don’t miss the Adobe Session: Create iPad apps without writing code at HOW Design Live.