Adobe introduce two new iPad apps but are they useful?

Adobe thinks it is time for us to create wireframes and collages on our iPads, but I am not so sure.

You have to admire Adobe at the moment. They seem to be pushing out new apps at a rate of knots and not just upgrades to the traditional creative suite. In the last couple of months we have seen the arrival of Adobe Edge (for creating CSS animation), Adobe Muse (for building websites without touching any code) and of course their Creative Cloud (making all their Adobe apps available on a monthly subscription basis).

As if that wasn’t enough, last week we saw them release two new iPad apps. These are Adobe Proto and Adobe Collage.

Adobe Collage

Adobe Collage is their attempt to turn your iPad into a moodboarding tool. The problem is there are already some great Moodboarding apps out there and I am not convinced Adobe bring anything new to the table, beyond integration with their Creative Cloud.

Also I must say that although I am a fan of my iPad and use it as my main blogging tool, I am not convinced it is suited to moodboarding. Creating a moodboard requires two things that the iPad is weak at. First, the need to flip between multiple windows as you grab content from different applications and websites. Second, the need for quick and accurate positioning of elements, which is a struggle with a touch screen interface.

Adobe and the other moodboarding apps out there have done a reasonable job, but they are fighting the inherant drawbacks of the device in my opinion. For me, moodboarding will remain a mac based activity.

To be honest, I have similar feelings about Adobe Proto.

Adobe Proto

At face value you might think that Adobe Proto is doing the same as Adobe Collage by replicating iPad applications that already exist. Adobe Proto is a wireframing app and these do already exist on the iPad, most notably iMockups.

However, Adobe Proto is a step beyond what I have personally seen on the iPad to date. For a start it allows interactive wireframes which its competition doesn’t (at least to my knowledge). It also has some great gestures that takes a hand drawn box and turns it into a nicely rendered version. There are also gestures for adding dummy text and even video elements.

All of this sounds good, but I still come back to the question of whether the iPad is the place to be creating wireframes. Like moodboards I see interactive wireframes as something that are produced on a PC where you have quicker and more accurate control over positioning. With basic wireframing I find a pen and paper far more intutive and quicker to produce than using an iPad. However, perhaps I am getting old and stuck in my ways.

Interestingly I find Adobe Muse a far more exciting wireframing tool despite the fact it was not designed for that purpose. Adobe Muse is meant to return us to the days of building websites without touching code. This in my opinion is fundamentally flawed in a world where websites have to accommodate a range of devices. However, it is ideal for quickly throwing together an interactive wireframe that you can test with. I will certainly be having a play with it to see if it can be used in that way.

So what do you think? Am I just a grumpy old man who doesn’t like change? Would you produce moodboards and wireframes on the iPad? Share your thoughts on Adobe’s new apps in the comments.

  • I agree with most of your remarks. Creating on an iPad doesn’t feel ergonomic right now, no matter what field. Seems more like a “toying with” device. Nice for learning and experimenting at one area, but not comfortable enough to escalate it to a production environment.  Lack of a fine-point drawing device for is another cause: all stylus seem to have a huge point compared to those of a Wacom tablet or similar.

    As for Muse, surprising as it may seen, I know designers around me (people lacking even the most basics HTML/CSS code skills) using it to create full small websites for small clients. Obviously these are completely uneducated clients that couldn’t care less about code optimization, SEO or such things. 17 euros or so monthly, and any designer can be a real competitor in this “small-world-of-small-websites” market… What do you make of it?

  • Shanon Peter

    I know moodboarding seems crowded place on iPad. I still find Collage to most functional, and hence welcome as a standout in the crowd. I see taking cut-outs of images as one basic ability for creating boards, and Collage hits bang on that. I could never do that on Moodboard app that you mention. Also i missed freehand sketching in Moodboard thats so convenient in Collage.

    I disagree that razor precision is needed for moodboarding, infact its the opposite, and thats why in my opinion, tablets is the best digital device to do it.

    • Anubhav Rohatgi

      Thank you Shanon. Our idea was the same when were brainstorming on Collage. Our influencers told us that they don’t want layers or precise drawing. They want direct manipulation of objects on the canvas and the ability to use mixed media types – as many as possible. 


      Anubhav Rohatgi
      Sr. Product Manager, Adobe Collage