This demo video came out in December, but if you haven’t already seen it, you can watch this edited down version (without the warm-up chatter).
Thermo is basically a tool for interaction designers (rather than developers), to bridge the gap between their photoshop mock-up and a fully interactive user-interface. The demo video implies that Thermo will make excellent prototypes for user testing, and then the UI can be completely re-used by the dev team with little or no tweaking.
Lets hope it lives up to its promises, because if it does, it will rock. No release date has yet been given.
Oh yeah, that’s just what I want. Designers thinking they can code. Swell.
I wonder if artists can grok it that far, or if Thermo is going to end up being more of a tool for some sort of artist/programmer hybrid. I mean, I knew a lot of artists who couldn’t use slices correctly, or really be able to make selections and edits accurately enough in photoshop. I was always getting on my artists at ReplayTV for not getting their coordinates and button shapes pixel perfect. It does look promising for me though.
I think it’s for Interaction Designers / Information Architects rather than graphic designers. This is what Keith Lynch, Chief Architect @ Adobe has to say about it:
“We’re not doing a general solution for anyone to build an application. That’s one of the key things–we had to be specific about who the audience is. […] It’s for people who […] have a background in interface design […] But they are primarily a designer. ”
Source: News.com article “Adobe plots its path on the Web” (4th Oct 07)
It sounds impressive on the surface, but I sense a lot of caveats:
– Working with dummy data is great, as long as your application is fairly simple. Is there persistence across multiple pages? I design a lot of pages that have a large number of conditional states, which would be incredibly hard to mock up in Photoshop.
– It seems something like this serves to discourage collaboration with developers. A functional prototype is great, but there’s a lot more that needs to be communicated with developers that won’t be apparent from running the prototype.
Also, the premise that all interface designs start with Photoshop is somewhat bogus. I don’t know anyone who works that way unless they’re producing brochureware.
Good points MH, but I still think it’s cool.
Previously, building high fidelity UI mock-ups was exclusively the domain of developers. Now (if Thermo works as advertised) interaction designers, information architects and usability researchers can be involved in the activity. Currently, the loop from user research findings, to code iteration, and then to re-testing can take a while. Thermo (or something like Thermo) could cut the loop entirely.
Personally, instead of using Photoshop I’d rather have a tool more like Visio, Omnigraffle or Axure to input into Thermo.