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HAPPENINGText: Rei Inamoto

Prior to 1995, that is, prior to the huge acceptance of the Web, Macromedia was a company that made Director. Now, Macromedia is a company that makes Flash. These two tools are very different yet similar, and they define different phases of the digital age of design and technology. With the growth of the Web and the success of Flash, Macromedia has become one of the leading companies that are defining what we see today and may see tomorrow. Their tag line “What the web can be” tells us how essential the Web has become for the company.

Macromedia UCON (User Conference) took place from April 10th to 12th at the Hilton Hotel in New York City. Traditionally, UCON has been held in San Francisco and this was the first time that it was held in New York City.

The conference opened with a keynote speech delivered by Macromedia Chairman and CEO Rob Burgess who proclaimed that this conference was about “user experience” as well as the actual “users” of Macromedia tools. His brief speech was then followed by Kevin Lynch, President of Macromedia Products and Jeremy Allaire, a founder and a former Chief Technology Officer of Allaire Corporations which recently merged with Macromedia. Despite the fact Allaire joined Macromedia only last month, the duo demonstrated an in-synch presentation that was relaxed yet engaging for the audience.

(Various keynote speakers in including Rob Burgess, Kevin Lynch and Jeremy Allaire)

They presented several case studies that involved significant use of various Macromedia tools and humorously compared successful results with not-so-successful cases. Their presentation was followed by a few demos of upcoming versions of Macromedia products – Freehand 10 and Director 8.5 – as well as some examples of applications for handheld devices such as Palm Pilot and PocketPC.

(Demo of Freehand 10 and Director 8.5)

Over the course of three days, the conference covered a wide range of topics: Storytelling in Flash, Site development in Dreamweaver Ultradev, 3-D in Director, Using Freehand to develop concepts, to name a few. Some of the sessions were conducted by Macromedia representatives and focused on “tips and tricks” while many sessions gave opportunities to industry experts, such as Hello Design and Chopping Block to show off their use of Macromedia tools.

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Chih-Yang Chen