Creating compelling user interfaces and user experiences are two goals all designers have in mind when they sit down to create solutions for businesses. The new version of Microsoft Expression Studio 4 has some potentially great features and some all around likable, helpful attributes aimed at assisting designers in their goal of creating impressive UI and UX you’re unlikely to see anytime soon.
First, the upgraded software supports industry standard technology. Fortunately for Microsoft they really seem to have a product that is capable of competing seriously with the Adobe line. The newest version of Expression is establishing itself as a vast and important improvement over the previous edition. All in all designers should find Microsoft’s current version of Expression to have all of the benefits and tools available with previous releases, but with newfound functionality and increased productivity make it easier for designers to create and implement solutions to any business computing challenge.
One particularly well-received feature of the Expression Studio has been the SketchFlow component. SketchFlow gives programmers the opportunity to test out more than one idea without requiring much heavy-duty investment of time and energy; thereby ensuring the delivery of custom solutions, unique to each client. SketchFlow also allows designers to import images created or altered using Photoshop. Designers are also grateful for the cleanliness of the XAML generated by Expression. While designers have had pleasant things to say and appreciative remarks to make about Microsoft’s newest release of Expression Studio there are some criticisms being made as well.
Some designers got the sense from Version 3 that Microsoft was slightly under-prepared when it was released. Some were worried that Version 4 would have a similar sensation of having been rushed to the market. Although Version 4 features amazing improvements over its predecessor, that unfinished feel remained present. This has been seen as a serious problem for developers familiar with Microsoft. Some users have reported problems with crashing while editing content on certain web sites, though after hours of consistent use problems tend to become less common. Another small problem is the lack of Silverlight compliance with many machines. Silverlight is much less likely to be installed on a given computer than Adobe. This will make viewing video content impossible until the required software for viewing Expression Studios UI and UX is installed. Microsoft Blend maintains compatibility with Visual Studios and installs side-by-side with Expression 3 for an easy transition for developers looking to upgrade.
I have mentioned only a few of the benefits and features designers have access to with Expression. Beyond all of this, Version 4 supports everything you already have created in Version 3. There is little to fear for someone contemplating the switch to a more powerful and more functional version of a design environment with which they are already familiar.