Simplicity and Flexibility in Innovation

_This is the second in a series of weekly posts that will give you a closer look at the people and technology that were showcased as part of MAX Sneaks. Read our last feature on Visual Speech Editor.

Meaningful invention doesn’t have to be revolutionary. Sometimes it’s evolutionary. It’s about listening to people, understanding their problems and making tasks that were once arduous, easy.

The irony is that designing simple solutions to problems is often more complex and difficult for the engineers creating them. That’s the kind of challenge that Priyanka Herur — a software engineer for the Adobe Dreamweaver team in Bangalore, India — loves to tackle.

Priyanka was selected by her product manager to demonstrate her team’s collective work for the Sneaks program at Adobe MAX 2014. The demo, Live Mobile Development, offers a timesaving solution for mobile Web designers and developers who struggle with the manual process of QA testing across devices.

“You can’t always debug everything with an emulator. It’s not always exactly what you might see on a device, so most people prefer to do their testing on the device itself,” Priyanka explains, “It’s kind of cumbersome, and you usually have to set it up all on your own.”

Adobe Edge Inspect helps users mitigate this problem today with a downloadable app. Making it work, however, requires installation of a desktop application, a Chrome extension for the browser, and the installation of an app to each iOS or Android device being tested.

It’s a process that many users still find too time consuming, as the Dreamweaver team learned during user research. Priyanka reveals, “We’ve done a lot of user studies … to understand their workflows and what we can do better. … What we were looking at was minimizing installation and how quickly [a user] can set up testing.”

On stage for Sneaks, Priyanka impressed the audience with a single-URL solution that instantly pushes synchronized content changes across connected devices. Setting up each device is as easy as scanning a QR code. “When you update a file, it’s pushed to all devices. When you scroll, it scrolls on all devices,” Priyanka explains. It’s a simple improvement to workflow, with a big impact for developers building responsive, mobile Web sites.

Although the technology shown during Priyanka’s demo is still in exploration, it’s a great example of the user-driven innovation being developed all around the world at Adobe, and the culture of collaboration and flexibility that’s shared across Adobe’s product teams.

Priyanka explains, “The work that you get to do here … it’s always the work that interests you, that you get to pick. I really like that about Adobe. I have the flexibility to choose what I want to do here.”