links for 2010-11-19

links for 2010-11-05

Building Mobile Learning with your Existing eLearning Toolkit – Adobe CS5

Chad Udell Presents at Max 2010

As promised in the session at Max, here is the content… My slides are available on Slideshare and embedded below:

Here is the video and audio recording of the session from Max as well. I would appreciate you visit the page at Adobe TV and rate the presentation if you have time!

I have also shared all of the code from the presentation as well. You can down;load starter projects complete with basic packager scripts for iOS and AIR here. Please note that you WILL need to generate certificates to run these examples out. To create the iOS apps, you also need to be a member of the Apple iOS developer program. The packager scripts were created based on some help from Christian Cantrell’s posts. I also added a folder of bookmarks in the Zip that may help you along the path of creating mobile learning using Captivate and the rest of the eLearning Suite tools.

Thanks so much for coming to my session. Please, feel free to contact me if you have any questions. And, of course as mentioned in my session… If you want mobile tools added to the eLearning suite, you NEED to let Adobe know. Contact the evangelists, let the product teams know. There REALLY isn’t a clear way to get to mobile from the eLearning suite. You can do it, but it’s pretty convoluted. Let’s get that fixed for the next product cycle.

P.S. Thanks for the opportunity come and speak Adobe, and thanks Kevin Hoyt for managing the process for me. IT was a blast!

Max 2010 – Year of the Devices

Just got back from LA. And yet another very successful Adobe MAX conference completed.

This year had a distinct theme – devices. From the free devices handed out to attendees, to the devices in the keynote, to the devices shown on the floor of the community pavilion, it’s clear that Adobe is very intent on getting their content production tools’ output on as many formats and platforms as possible.

AIR for Android, AIR on TV, Google TV, Flash Player on Mobile… Wow. The digital Publishing Platform alone is a huge step forward for publications looking to expand their reach to devices where they previously hadn’t been able to target. Pretty amazing overall, really. While some of the technology is probably still a ways off, such as the Mobile jQuery extensions for Dreamweaver (which John Resig helped to announce), there are other things like Flex Hero, with support for Mobile Development, are basically here (though in a Beta form). It’s exciting indeed.

Check out my photos from the event (shot on my spiffy new Canon S90)

The keynotes got mixed reviews from a lot of the attendees, and most all the people I track on Twitter that weren’t at the event were handily panning the skits and overall presentations given. Honestly, while yes there some dry spots (the Omniture skit spoofing Jim Kramer was terrible) and there were a couple minor technology issues (Epix’s video demo failed), I enjoyed them. I really though that Martha Stewart’s appearance, the BlackBerry Playbook demo and the mind blowing High Performance Flash player demos of 4k video and StageVideo, and MoleHill were just awesome.

One thing I noticed… The show’s opening with Joa and Natzke jamming some sick visualizations to a live AudioTool performance showed just how tough of a audience Adobe has to please… Here, I thought it was awesome and so did a lot of designers that I follow on Twitter. On the flipside… There were a ton of really smart and well known developers totally slamming it. WTF? It just highlights the heterogeneous nature of the Adobe customer base. You have creatives used to making beautiful or fun stuff with CS products and then you have these computer scientist developer types using Flex, LiveCycle and Coldfusion that just don’t care about that side of Adobe at all. One has to think that maybe Adobe needs to think a bit harder about what they want to be when they grow up… Or at least get the kids on each side of the fence to get along better. I stride the line between the two camps, so I love the creative mind blowing visuals and the whiz bang tech demos. Not everyone agrees.

Beyond the keynote announcements, there was some awesome labs sessions and concurrent presentations (my own presentation on Mobile Learning included. ;-) ). I really enjoyed Nate Beck’s multiplayer gaming session and the other labs I attended on both P2P and RTMFP and the other on the OSMF platform were both really enlightening. I attended a session on the Adobe InMarket service… and while it looks like it could be good eventually, it looks like it is a ways off for being flexible or powerful enough to warrant the effort. A lack of a public roadmap for the project could be a major turn-off for most app developers. How can you pin a business plan on a beta product?

The sneak peeks were great as always. Again Flash player improvements abounded as well as some super cool Flash player performance testing tools and output paths to HTML5 definitely caught my attention. The Coldfusion sneeks were pretty snoozeworthy to me, but I’m not much into that tech in general as it is. The real star of the sneak session was William Shatner though. Obviously oblivious to the bulk of the tech shown in the demos, he absolutely kept everyone entertained with a pile of jokes and incredulous responses to the advanced stuff on the screen behind him. Tons of fun.

The MAX bash was a great affair, with good food, entertainment (including some crazy dancing scantily clad snake lady, living statues, celeb look-alikes and a chain saw juggler), and the headliner “The Bravery”. A nice addition to the party, The Bravery put a good show on!

My session went well. I had about 60 attendees and ended up with a decent, though not superb rating. My topic, “Creating Mobile Learning with Your eLearning Toolkit” is an interesting one, mainly because it’s pretty much totally new to the Adobe crowd. The recently released eLearning Suite 2 doesn’t actually ship with a way to target mobile right out of the box, so it’s a little bit of a stretch for a lot of rapid eLearning tool users like people that use Captivate daily to entertain firing up a command line tool to package up the materials for AIR for Android or the iOS packager. I hope to release the deck and the demos files here soon, so please come back to get those here.

After all is said and done, though, the best thing was seeing so many friends from the community. Chatting with awesome people like Jesse Freeman, Elad Elrom, Michael Labriola, Aaron Pederson, Leif Weils, Stacey Mulcahy, Scott Janousek, Zach Stepek, Chris Girffith, Ben Stucki, Brian Rinaldi, Andy Mathews and so many more really made the time a lot of fun. I finally met a lot of people in the community that I follow on Twitter like James Ward, Rob Huddleston and Russ Ferguson and was reunited with a former classmate of mine from Bradley, the humble Flash platform genius, Dave Knape. Honestly, talking and connecting with so many smart, fun, and engaging people in a cool setting with so much going on is really the reason to go to these conferences. I get so much out of hearing their stories and experiences and sharing mine, too. These interactions are far more educational than any labs, really. Can’t wait to seem ‘em all again.

So what’s next for Adobe? Hopefully some great success for this year across devices and more OSes… For now, I’m recuperating and then starting to plan out what to build on my new Droid 2 and Google TV. Maybe some mashups or apps are in order… Choices, choices, choices.

New Post – Creating Mobile Learning with Dreamweaver’s CourseBuilder Extension

Dan Pfeiffer and I have created a pretty extensive article on the compatibility issues you may encounter when using the Dreamweaver CourseBuilder Extensions on a mobile web browser. As more people begin to build and repurpose learning content for the mobile market, it will become increasingly important for vendors to make their toolkits more mobile friendly… Read this article to learn how this offering faired. Sample Webpages and a full table of results are available.
Adobe eLearning Suite 2

links for 2010-10-21

New Post up at Float Mobile Learning

I have been relatively quiet here lately, but I certainly haven’t stopped building RIA, Flash or anything… I have been doing a lot of work in mobile, and one of those research areas has been the Adobe mobile options for smartphones.

I just posted a joint article authored with Erik Peterson there outlining key differences between AIR for Android and the iOS packager created applications. Capabilities of AIR for Android, the limitations inherent in using cross platform toolsets and some of the ways we would like to see the iOS packager and the AIR for Android tool.

If you are working in this area, you should probably check it out. We’ll try to keep the list updated as things change, and with MAX just around the corner, we all know it will change!

Almost There….

To me, this just looks like a perfect example of the openness and creativity you can see in the Android community. Find your way to your destination by using a X-Wing Targeting computer…

Lovely. Can’t wait until AIR for Android’s formal release and all these awesome AIR for Android apps to start coming out!

links for 2010-10-05

Conference Recap: Design 4 Mobile 2010

I’ve returned and finally had a chance to look at my notes from Design 4 Mobile, an event put on by Little Springs Design in Evanston, Illinois. In short, the event was masterfully run, full of deep insights and presentations from industry experts and even had enough, “Wow factor” to keep the most jaded conference goers and mobile tech enthusiasts engaged for the duration of the event.

Prior to attending, I reached out to the CEO of Little Springs, Barabara Ballard, asking her for an overview of the conference and some insight into the event’s focus. She provided this thoughtful and well put statement:

Design For Mobile is, at its heart, a community. Indeed, the wiki of
design resources (found here: http://patterns.design4mobile.com/ )
predates both the conference and the Design For Mobile brand itself.
We did this because there weren’t any other places to learn or share
about mobile user experience in the western hemisphere, unless we
wanted to rely on specific manufacturers for the information.

Continuing on, she speaks to the sad truth of state of affairs in terms of mobile conferences in the states:

To put it another way, we at Little Springs Design needed to continue
to improve our mobile UX knowledge, and it is cheaper to run a
conference then send us all to Europe for conferences that don’t match
our needs, or a conference here in the states that was mobile (with
1-2 design sessions) or design (with 1-2 mobile sessions).

In closing, she wraps it up, stating the ethos of her design company succinctly.

We believe that a great user experience can be had with delivery with
a lot of different devices (from iPhone to feature phone) using a lot
of different delivery methods (from apps to web to text). We believe
that mobiles are not just small computers, but a fundamentally
different type of device that is both lesser, and greater, than
computers. We believe that user needs and cognition are different when
they are mobile. And we believe that designing for mobile is a lot of
fun.

I have to say, after seeing the effort that she and her company put forth in scheduling, producing and executing Design 4 Mobile, I am certain that she is very very right. They brought together a killer list of speakers, had an excellent bunch of sponsors and lined up some great gadgets and networking events as well to keep things moving at a good pace.

I spent a good portion of the event hanging with UX Magazine’s Juan Sanchez, of Effective UI, and I will be anxious to hear his take on the event as well. He has posted his first day recap here.

I wish I had seen Tuesday’s presentations, in particular, Future of Mobile UX presentation by: Jonathan Brill, but I missed the first two days of the event due to work and teaching. I drove up after hours on Tuesday night to be sure I wouldn’t miss Wednesday. I am glad that I didn’t miss it. Nancy Proctor opened the day with a presentation on Mobile in Museums. Since a large portion of Iona’s work has perennially been with museum clients, I was especially interested in seeing what she had to say. I was not disappointed. Her deck along with many other great presentations she has put together is available on Slideshare, here. Spend a few minutes and flip through it:

Nancy covered some very interesting ways the Smintsonian is employing mobile to create scoail and more engaging visitor experiences as the museum moves from a traditional stance of serving as a repository of things to a repository of digital assets. She stressed how mobile shouldn’t be about the technology, but rather about how to connect people in new and engaging ways in the museum. Very cool ideas indeed. For some of the deeper detail check out this website.

After Nancy’s presentation, Scott Jenson presented Mobile Diversity: the coming Zombie Apocalypse. It was informative and really entertaining. Scott talked about some key differences between mobile apps and web sites. Not a lot of new info there, per se, but some new insights on how this situation is escalating and is quickly getting out of hand. Take this example from his presentation:

You are at a concert and want to know about the opening band, but you can’t remember who they are… Where do you look in terms of apps? The venue’s, the headlining act’s? Getting ridiculous, maybe the band shell has app? How about the trash can next to you? If you simply use the mobile web, your answer is easy… Google (or your search engine of choice). It was a fun way to make a point very well. You can grab his deck here.

After that, Steven Hoober was up with Mobile Device Specifications, or Politics Is Fun. His presentation was novel in that the slides were actually print outs displayed via an ELMO. Kinda retro and fun. I liked it. The content wasn’t super new or ground breaking, but there were some interesting points on creating documentation that were good all by themselves. One key point:

If you can’t document it, you can’t design/build it. If you can’t build it, you can’t sell it.

So very true. Documentation can make or break a product.

Steven’s main points on creating good docs: Clarity, Consistency, Extensibility, Accuracy, Avoid Duplicates. All great points. I look forward to seeing the slides and will update this post once I track ‘em down.

So, all that was before lunch. Whew. So, after some good conversation and food, things got kicked back up again with Ryan Unger’s rather fun and non-traditional presentation on “Navigation Design for Mobile”. He was fun, though maybe just a smidge rambling. I really identified with a couple points: “Mobile is the Snickers, Web is the Steak Dinner”, “Your Mobile Navigiation Should Be Able to Handle Your Content Doubling Tomorrow” and “Be the Pet Psychic, Build Familiarity and Go From There”. It was a good presentation overall, though a bit cloying, really.

The “What gestures do people actually use?”, presentation by: Dan Mauney on the other hand was anything but light on details and great information. Dan shared the results of a huge multinational heuristic study that sought to determine what cultures use what gestures. The results were fascinating. I do hope he publishes the results, or at the very least, the deck he used in the session. Amazing detail and thoroughness! 9 countries, 28 gestures, over 9500 gestures logged. Gestural inputs definitely vary across cultures. Experts DO want different gestures than novices. Somewhat indecipherable commands like “Print” or “Share” DO likely provoke UI hacks like right click menus or popovers. Also, a nice piece of trivia… The clapper may have been the first gestural input device. I’ll embed the original ad here for kicks:

“Smartphone Text Input Methods Compared: Which is Best?” presentation by: Nika Smith was next, and overall, a good and very decent exploration of which device offered speediest and most error free input. I would have liked to see a little more unbiased testing. ie. Keyboard emulators, etc being deployed on the devices rather than only testing the actual OS keyboards provided, thought that would admisttedly be a costly and time consuming test suite to complete. In short, it was somewhat unsurprising… iPhone users type faster on iPhones. Blackberry users faster on Blackberries, etc. No single system was “walk up ready” though… Each one required novice users some time to get acquainted with them. It was interesting though, that users familiar with specific devices tended to make more mistakes on those devices than on the others. That same familiarity breeds sloppiness, I guess.

The very entertaining Corey Pressman was up next. And though he was shown up by the very smart and well informed Judy Brown on a couple minor facts, there is no denying he may have been the most entertaining speaker of the event. his roots in anthropology showed as he talking about monolithic techonlogy and the progression into micro-monolithic (read flints and arrowheads)… in his words “a whole lot of animals died”, speaking about the boon to humanity that the mastery of the first mobile tools were. Very fun parallel. He played it up and was a real treat to listen to.

After that, the day was done for the official agenda and thing moved on to the planned networking event sponsored by Motorola. It was de rigueur but not a bad time either. Some good conversation with various speakers and others ensued. This was one area that Design 4 Mobile was really nice. The event was small enough that the speakers were approachable and the attendees seemed to all be interested in learning and sharing. Very cool indeed. I finished the eveining with some tapas and a nice draft Goose Island Sofie. Delicious. ;-)

The next day was pretty much taken by Microsoft. Their new Windows 7 Phone was the superstar of the day. Beautiful UI. Wow. I have been an iPhone user since day 1, but this is a tempting platform. I’ve been looking for something past the standard homescreen full of apps. Windows Phone seems to do that. various designers, evangelists and other were on hand to demo devices and talk about the tenets of the OS’s design. Really, it was a very informative and very grassroots style approach to build support. And they got it. The place was really abuzz after Albert Shum, Paula Guntaur, Chris Bost and Chris Bernard gave their talks. Biran Gorbett was there to field questions too. A really well planned approach and their polish paid off. I think they built a lot of support that day.

The last non -MS session I attended was Nick Finck’s. I have to say I wan’t blown away. He gave a good presentation, and perhaps to some it was new stuff, but an introductory session on wireframes and paper prototyping wasn’t what I expected from someone as sharp as him. I follow Nick on Twitter and enjoy his commentary, I just may have expected more.

After lunch, I was out… I had to go teach, so I couldn’t see more, though I anxiously await hearing more from the other attendees that may have been documenting the afternoon sessions. Anthony Hand and Jason Grigsby had some great sessions as I could tell from the tweets.

In conclusion, I think you couldn’t have asked more from the event or the organizers. Great speakers, sessions and sharing. Awesome. Little Springs deserves a well earned break. I hope that the event can live up to it the next time it is scheduled! Nice work everyone involved.

BTW, it was nice to attend to cover and take notes… and not speak. That said, come see me at Adobe MAX in October!

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