Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Google Web Designer Review


Quick Review of Google's New Web Designer

Google Web Designer user interface
Yesterday, Google announced the launch of Web Designer, a new tool for building interactive HTML5 sites and ads.  The beta version is available for download here.

I have kicked the tires a bit.  Overall, I am excited with Google's foray into the world of HTML5 editors. Here are my initial thoughts:

The Good:
  • Cost: It's free to download, at least the Beta version is.
  • Animation Timeline: Keyframes are used to "tween" animation points on the timeline. (Size, rotation, XYZ coordinates, etc.). It reminds me of an old Flash animation app called Swish
  • Hooks: Using the Components menu, you can link to external iframes, galleries, maps, tap areas, and videos.
  • Preview: Ability to preview the ads directly within the UI.  You can also preview in local browsers.
  • Publishing: Quick process with "zip" option (contains all related files for easy upload).
The Bad:
  • Flexibility: The workspace is not very customizable.  For example, the side menus cannot be undocked or hidden.  They are collapsible, but scrolling is still required to access all options.
  • Editing: It can be difficult to select/modify specific elements on the stage without changing into "Advanced" animation mode.
  • File Imports: I have not found a way to import PNG files with transparent backgrounds.
Summary:
Years ago, I produced ad banners for AOL YP using Adobe Flash and Fireworks (animated GIFs).  Google's Web Designer is much easier to use, but doesn't have the equivalent graphics prowess.  It's a Beta drop, so hopefully we'll see improved file importing and editing capabilities in the future.

All in all, this is a great start!
Demo File:
This simple demo is a 3 page ad with simple animation loop (page 1), a embedded YouTube clip (page 3), and a link to my G+ page (page 3).

Embedded iframe below... non-iframe version can be viewed here.


For more Info: Visit the official Google Web Designer website: http://www.google.com/webdesigner/

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

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