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The UX of Microsoft Expression Blend 3

I received an email about attending a Microsoft demo of their product Expression Blend.  Specifically this part called SketchFlow.  I spent a little under an hour trying to use it to see if it would help me communicate designs better.  A little under an hour was all I could take without losing my grip.

Warning:  This isn’t going to be pretty.

Who is the target audience for this product?  I design RIA products as my job every day.  Is it not for me?  I am pretty good with jQuery/HTML/CSS, but looking at this product made me completely dizzy. I suppose Flash/Flex Developers might be the audience.  Those products have been over my head as well.

If this is the case, I think it behooves Microsoft to be clear about who the product is for.  It is NOT for designers.  Being comfortable with Photoshop or Illustrator will not help you here.  It is possibly the most complex application targeted towards a creative person I have ever seen.

I wish they had a simpler vision of the product.  Something more PowerPoint like in it’s usage.  Why do I have to use all of these Visual Studio-like controls when Microsoft Office made those easy long ago.  Seriously, putting a box on the screen and changing it’s colors was radically different than how you do the same thing in PowerPoint.  Why?

Open Message to Microsoft: PowerPoint Team meet Developer Tools Division.  Can you guys hook up and have a baby?

UPDATE:  Someone just pointed me at this product called Balsamiq.  I’m checking that out soon.

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