posted on Aug 24, 2010 at 5:33AM
Professional Head-2-Head Report: LumaPix YearbookFusion vs. Pelican Software's Yearbooks! Desktop 2010
Interface & WorkflowBy Alex Burack
The demands on yearbook software are twofold: it must be proficient in data management and graphic design. The method with which the two elements work harmoniously is the basis for the programs’ entire workflow.
Aesthetically, the workspace in Pelican's Yearbooks! 2010 is minimalist and traditional, dedicating the majority of the display area to a primary workspace window that is governed by a traditional left-hand navigation.
Conversely, LumaPix’s interface is more fluid and dynamic, with controls and toolbars persisting into different editor modules.
Image Buckets in YearbookFusion allow editors to group and store images from the Organizer module in the top toolbar, which remains when you switch tabs, as well as access and drop information from the buckets within the Create tab/module on the go. The buckets provide an overlapping layer of organization within the program’s workflow that remains as other portions of the page are altered. The literal sharing of the tools and images distinguishes sorting, grouping, and designing as part of a continual, overall process, rather than having them function as independent operations, as it does in Pelican Software, improving continuity throughout your workflow.
We found the interface of LumaPix's YearbookFusion cultivated more of a free form design experience. Integrating the ordering and association of student portraits into the design portions of the program, rather than distinguishing them as disparate actions creates a more coherent, overarching workflow and helps the user's focus remain on the creative construction of the page. It's obvious, however, that a blank canvas with overlapping toolboxes and options is not the ideal starting place for everyone. Elementary school students and those users unaccustomed to working with other design applications, and learning to construct an album/yearbook for the first time, are likely to prefer the interface of Pelican Software's Yearbooks! Desktop 2010. Pelican's more simplified, basic structure will be less overwhelming for novice designer, helping to guide the user more through the design process. It generally requires less effort to get your head around the controls and workflow in Yearbooks! Desktop than it does in YearbookFusion.
For seasoned designers, high school students, and college level graphic artists, the workspace and interface of LumaPix will make sense right away. The basic layout and toolbars will ring familiar to users experienced with Photoshop and Illustrator. Within an hour, the LumaPix interface will feel comfortable and logical.
An illustration of LumaPix’s advanced interface and functionality is apparent when a group of selected images is moved. Grouped images can be scrolled through in a filmstrip view, while in transit from a bucket to the canvas. The photo that is active or poised to be dropped onto the canvas is superimposed as a larger image over the canvas.
This is a crafty implementation that designers will appreciate as it speeds things up significantly when there are a number of similar images to choose from. It may, however, also confuse some users at first since the functionality is not common among other programs. It is a slightly more refined, advanced implementation, which experienced designers again will appreciate, though may potentially confound novice users before they learn the program.