Dear Adobe...

almost 6 years ago from , Product Designer at Facebook

Dear Adobe,

Stop giving us new features. Instead, please concentrate your efforts on improvements to the interface and experience of your products. Please reduce fragmentation between Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. We have enough features, thank you. What we need are better experiences.

Best, Yeti


  • Martin LeBlancMartin LeBlanc, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Are you sure you don't need a new neat way of mapping an image to a 3d shape including realistic lighting?

    44 points
    • Iain Acton, over 5 years ago

      I'm sure lots of people do (Not sarcasm)

      7 points
      • Phil RauPhil Rau, over 5 years ago

        Those people probably already have Maya or other programs more well suited to 3D rendering. Better to have a tool focused & polished than spread wide, but bloated & cluttered.

        13 points
        • Iain Acton, over 5 years ago

          Well I'm a Maya user and I use this feature to paint my textures. I don't render through Photoshop because I work in motion.

          I can see the benefit of keeping everything in Photoshop for static images though. If I wanted to place a table into a photographed living room scene. I would much prefer to only use Photoshop than go back and forth between Maya and Photoshop.

          It's a really great feature!

          3 points
          • Taron GhazaryanTaron Ghazaryan, over 5 years ago

            Photoshop has the weakest 3D rendering of any modern 3D software. Even Blender, a free tool, has better rendering than Photoshop.

            There is absolutely no need to include 3D in Photoshop. Where do you draw the line? Why not include an html editor in Photoshop as well?

            15 points
            • Evan MoreauEvan Moreau, over 5 years ago

              My science... Think of the possibilities!

              2 points
              • Ryan McLaughlinRyan McLaughlin, over 5 years ago

                DreamShop? PhotoWeaver?

                As long as it has a way for me to accidentally open Bridge and have to wait 10 minutes to close it...

                11 points
            • Iain Acton, over 5 years ago

              If you don't work in 3D then I can't really value your perspective. Photoshop's painting tools are incredible and being able to paint onto a 3D model is an amazing feature for 3D artists.

              Most renders from Blender, Maya, Cinema 4D... well any 3D Package will go through Photoshop to be touched up before they are completed anyway. So even if Photoshop has the weakest rendering... I can still see the benefit of working entirely in Photoshop.

              3 points
              • Austin WallenderAustin Wallender, over 5 years ago

                I work in 3D, and have since about '97, so I hope my opinion counts :) I'm with the OP and all for this feature being removed. You can still paint your textures in PSD without it, and you'd be better served moving to Mari or Bodypaint if you absolutely need painting on 3D.

                3 points
                • Iain Acton, over 5 years ago

                  That's cool but everyone has a different workflow. I guess Adobe can't keep everyone happy... and there are probably better places to discuss this than a forum of mostly UI/Web people.

                  1 point
                  • Matthew SimoMatthew Simo, over 5 years ago

                    Says, "If you don't work in 3D then I can't really value your perspective." Someone working in the industry since '97 responds and you whole-handedly disregard their input. Nice.

                    3 points
                • Coulter PattonCoulter Patton, over 5 years ago

                  Agreed. I find Mari to be a game changer for me. I still like to use Photoshop for some tasks (mostly out of habit), but software like Mari is so dang powerful it doesn't make sense to ignore it.

                  0 points
              • Taron GhazaryanTaron Ghazaryan, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

                I've done 3D for the past decade. I do agree that almost every render gets touched up in Photoshop... because Photoshop is an excellent tool for touching up photos. It is however, very weak when it comes to its 3D tools. As someone already mentioned, Mari, Bodypaint, Zbrush are all so much better than PS when it comes to live painting.

                I also don't understand how you would "work entirely" in PS if Photoshop doesn't have modeling tools.

                0 points
                • Iain Acton, over 5 years ago

                  Everybody works differently. Personally, I'm very comfortable with painting in Photoshop, so for now, it suits me. How much better each of those applications are against each other is a personal choice and depends on what you need. I just don't understand why people who don't use these tools can't accept that other people do... and therefore think that these tools should be removed!

                  OK... by entirely, I meant the texturing and composting. The model would have been created elsewhere obviously.

                  0 points
    • Brian HintonBrian Hinton, over 5 years ago

      I know plenty of marketing, and product designers that love that feature. Look beyond yourself, and realize you aren't the sole target audience.

      1 point
  • Mike ChambersMike Chambers, over 5 years ago


    I work for Adobe on the Creative Cloud team, and agreed that great experience is greater than new features (great experience with new features with great experience is even better!). Improving the overall experience around Creative Cloud has been one of our top focuses across the team the past year. As much as Adobe will want me to say that quality and experience has always been the top priority, it hasn't been (in the past, we have been too willing to make compromises at the expense of the user). Changing how we build software and services, and the experiences we are willing to present to customers is something that we are making really strong progress on, but also something that will take time.

    The good news is, the culture around this at Adobe is changing, and there are a lot of people, in all levels of the Creative Cloud team who are passionate about Creativity and providing the best user experience possible.

    In addition, with Creative Cloud we can be much more agile, and release more frequently now (even if its just polishing stuff). We are already doing this on our web, services and mobile apps, and are making progress with our desktop apps.

    Anyways, I just wanted to post and let you know there are a TON of people on the Creative Cloud who agree with you, and are driving this daily. We are making progress but given the complexity and history of some of the apps, it is a long term process. For newer apps, its easier, and I feel we are moving in the right direction.

    If you, or anyone else has specific issues / poor user experiences in the apps, just list them here (or send them to me @ mesh@adobe.com), and Ill make sure they get to the right teams.

    37 points
    • James Caruso, over 5 years ago


      Thanks for reaching out to us. I honestly was't expecting it, but this thread seems to have gotten some attention.

      I am happy to hear that Adobe is working to change how their software is built. It's also good to know that the culture perpetuating this stagnation is being addressed as well.

      Still, I would like to see more updates that address these UI/UX issues. Is there a way that Adobe can more actively address these issues? I know there are forums and discussions on the site, but I feel like there should be a place where users can suggest and/or vote up and down improvements. I think Wunderlist has a system like this. It could be worth-while looking into.

      Thanks for offering up your email for poor user experiences. Should I have any UI/UX concerns, I'll definitely send them your way.

      Best, Yeti

      7 points
      • Charles PearsonCharles Pearson, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

        As everybody is hitting on, there's a lot of challenges Adobe has to face in crafting new experiences and workflows to meet contemporary design demands. I work for Photoshop, and, man, it ain't easy meeting the demands of many masters. Maybe that's a hole we dug for ourselves, but we're working on some unique solutions to help ease the pain of a convoluted experience. More on that soon!

        Also, there's some new efforts underway at Adobe specifically addressing cross-app workflows like you point to in the OP Yeti. There's a nuanced broader ambition that will take time to fully define, build and implement but you'll see some first steps soon as well. As a design researcher with Ps tho, I can say that our team isn't moving forward without listening and talking to users. And right now that means designers, you folks. If you hadn't heard, building out design and features and workflows are the primary focus of the team (see Photoshopfordesign.com). So if you want to chat, be in touch. Ping me at cpearson@adobe.com to yell, cry, laugh, or offer praise. But seriously, your feedback really matters right now and is at the core of Ps development. We actually have a number of designers helping us develop new features and experiences (the kind anybody reading DN would like, not bloat) thru playing w test builds and providing feedback directly to Ps engineers and designers. They are very focused interactions, and if you want to help, again, be in touch. I know there's a lot of frustration out there but, trust me, more than anything the team wants screen designers to have the right tools and experiences. Hopefully we can prove that to you in future releases.

        Exciting times ahead, there's so much creative energy in the design tool space, it's hard not to have fun right now. :)

        9 points
        • , over 5 years ago

          Has anyone ever heard of the invisible hand? The market will determine what people want and what people will pay for them.

          The fact that things like Sketch, Axure, Framer show that the market is moving away from Adobe and it's products. Adobe needs to push it as much as they can, every single time because if not, someone else will. Right now, Adobe is loosing market share to these companies because these smaller tools are listening to and addressing our needs.

          What strikes me so profoundly is that Adobe is asking an industry to bear with them as they adjust and change. It's not the industry that needs to wait around for Adobe to change, it's Adobe who needs to change and meet the needs of our industry. It's funny that companies think we have an allegiance to them just because they give us the product that they think we are looking for. That is not the case at all.

          I don't care who makes my software, honestly. What it boils down to is that I want to create the best apps, sites and experiences possible, and I want tools that will help me do that. Wether Adobe, or Microsoft, or Sketch makes that tool, I don't think that matters. What matters is that those companies listen to the market and work to give us exactly what we are asking for.

          Case in point, I remember when Muse came out. I thought it was going to be awesome. It was kind of wonky and didn't really fit my needs. Then Sketch and Macaw came out. I played around with Macaw and it was so buggy that I couldn't even use it. When I played around with Sketch, it was like magic. It was everything I wanted. And I started wondering if the people who make Muse would notice and start making improvements. As I watched this years keynote, I got excited when they started talking about Muse. And then when I saw what improvements were made, I became furious. It was awful. Not only was the UI/UX terrible, but the thing produced code that was slow and clunky. Furthermore, it was exactly the opposite of what anyone was wanting. Maybe a few print designers who want to transition to the web, but anyone who makes digital products can take one look at it and know that they were completely left out. And that's how it is with Photoshop and Illustrator and InDesign.

          And now the invisible hand has moved, and the market is responding. We're getting products we want from small companies, that, who knows might grow up to be as complacent as Adobe. I certainly hope not thought. But what matters is that our needs are being fulfilled by other than the industry leader anymore. And that industry leader just wants us to sit around and wait for them to catch up. Sadly, I don't think that's going to happen.

          I appreciate you folks at Adobe reaching out. I really do. And I'll certainly let you know if I have any ideas and suggestions. But until then, I have just one: fix the UI of your products. Given the immense resources Adobe has, there's no reason that from here on out every two weeks we can't expect to see at least something cleaned up in the UI of any of these three application. Make a board dedicated specifically to UX/UI improvements and let us vote up and down on issues. Show us that you're working to resolve these pain points. I'm sure that once you do that, the market might start tot sway once again in Adobe's favor.

          Best, Yeti

          4 points
          • Lloyd WonderLloyd Wonder, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

            I believe you're addressing some of your own issues in this post.

            You call Sketch and the other tools smaller because that's what they are. Smaller tools that do exact things. Photoshop and other tools are monolithic that do a number of things. Photoshop specifically has to be a lot of things for a lot of people.

            It also looks as if Adobe is trying to change no matter how many missteps they seem to be taking. But again, monolithic entity. With what we know about older tech companies they generally end up with a lot of managers and voices coming out of everywhere before things move.

            I linked this below under Sacha's comment but I'll do it again here: Photoshop is a city for everyone

            Edit: And this graphic, while I don't agree with some of them, shows that once you get big enough it's easy for smaller companies to pick off pieces. And in the case of some, can even use the platform to piggyback and vault yourself into a viable position.


            1 point
          • Charles PearsonCharles Pearson, over 5 years ago

            Hi Yeti.

            I just want to say the LAST thing I was trying to convey in my post was, “hey, wait around for Adobe cause we’re Adobe and we’re doing things”. I was only trying to say that we (PS) get the frustration, we get that there are a number of workflow gaps and painpoints, and we get that there’s a lot of work to do for screen design. I just wanted to say that we’re moving forward with that in mind. Some evidence of what we’re doing has been offered in the last few releases and our focus on UI design will only intensify in future releases. Whether or not what we’re doing appeals to anybody is another matter — that will be judged and we’ll move forward with whatever feedback we get. Like any team we'll get it right at certain points, and struggle at others. Who knows where it all will end up though. UI workflows won’t settle for a long time, but we hope we can contribute positively. Believe me though when I say we’re approaching this with a lot of humility.

            I really wish we could release fixes every few weeks, but there’s no way. CC tho, does allow us to release multiple times a year instead of every 18 months, and iterate a little faster. But it would be great to connect if you’re game, Yeti. You’re hungry for UI/UX fixes, but what exactly? Getting specifics would help us understand what you and others are hungry for. Details on deliverables and workflows are hugely valuable to us in providing context, ultimately defining and implementing fixes — especially when it comes to something as big as creating a working experience across Ps/ Ai/ Id.

            Anyway, this is a great thread and conversation and I'm going to forward to relevant folks on the PS team as well as elsewhere in Adobe.

            happy monday, charles

            0 points
  • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, almost 6 years ago

    bring back fireworks as the ui design tool. keep photoshop as a photo/3d editor. problem solved.

    15 points
  • Sacha GreifSacha Greif, almost 6 years ago

    I think the root of the problem is just the huge legacy these apps carry. Photoshop is 26 years old! Probably older than a lot of people here…

    There's a lot of code in there that remains from previous version, and I remember hearing that one reason why the UI is inconsistent is that a lot of the early UI was hard-coded.

    Add to that the fact that some people spend their whole workday inside Photoshop or Illustrator, and would get pretty mad if their beloved app's UI suddenly changed "for consistency's sake".

    So I too wish Adobe would fix these things, but I also know it's far from simple…

    8 points
  • Phil RauPhil Rau, almost 6 years ago

    How about the horrible UX that is the Illustrator Swatches Panel? Can we please get better error handling there, when swatches inevitably don't load for no discernible reason?


    7 points
  • Account deleted almost 6 years ago

    Stop asking to update Adobe Acrobat every other day. It's a PDF reader for christ sake!

    6 points
  • Paul DessertPaul Dessert, over 5 years ago

    Sadly, this will fall upon deaf ears. One of their main faults has been awful customer service. They don't listen to feedback. IMO that single fact has lead to the bloat and fragmentation we see today.

    Prove me wrong Adobe.

    6 points
  • Brendan GramerBrendan Gramer, almost 6 years ago

    Adobe is the new Quark - what a mess.

    5 points
    • James Caruso, over 5 years ago

      Ha! I never thought of it that way. But now I'm beginning to see the similarities....

      1 point
    • Ryan Duffy, almost 6 years ago


      0 points
    • Ashraf AliAshraf Ali, over 5 years ago

      That's over the top and unwarranted. I don't see them swaggering their tails with Photoshop. They are working on improving a tool that touches every type of artist who uses a computer. Not everyone is a UI pixel noodler.

      1 point
  • John ChouraJohn Choura, over 5 years ago

    Not sure if Adobe checks designer news, but if you're looking to form a coalition of people who hate the inconsistency of experience in adobe products, I'm in.

    4 points
  • Iain Acton, over 5 years ago

    I can't speak for InDesign but I'm pretty happy moving between Photoshop and Illustrator using Smart Layers.

    4 points
  • Joe BlauJoe Blau, almost 6 years ago

    Part of this probably has to do with the fact that they're pushing a subscription model via Creative Cloud and feel like new features need to be added to justify the cost. Honestly, I would rather just pay once for Photoshop and Illustrator.

    2 points
    • Chris NewtonChris Newton, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      Ironically, if they’d released a new version of Creative Suite that fixed some of the more obvious UI and quality of implementation issues, we would have been happy to buy it at any reasonable price even if it didn’t have a single new feature in it. These things directly affect how productive we are and the quality of the work we produce, and we’ll spend serious money on improving either of those things.

      There is, however, no chance at all that we will rent software on which our business depends, at any price. No improvement or new feature is worth the risk of not being able to work or of being held hostage to arbitrary price rises in the future once we’re locked in.

      2 points
  • Matthew Y., over 5 years ago

    More consistent commands & shortcut keys will be very helpful too.

    2 points
  • Scott Johnson, almost 6 years ago

    Frankly, reducing the fragmentation between products is how you end up with a bloated pile of farts....like Photoshop. Each tool has its own place.

    2 points
    • , almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      I guess I should be more clear. This sentiment is geared more towards expected interactions and how all of the tools behave rltogether. For example, the fill/stroke/font component in InDesigb is nearly unclickable, whereas in Illustrator it is appropriately sized. Gradients are applied and rendered differently as well. These tools should work in symphony together.

      3 points
      • Scott Johnson, over 5 years ago

        Oh, I'm completely with you there. It's pretty ridiculous how each product doesn't have the same experience in that regard.

        It's pretty clear that all their product teams are siloed off and don't talk to each other. If they did, a lot of these problems would be much more insignificant.

        1 point
    • Elliott ReganElliott Regan, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      Inconsistencies like the color picker being a native element in Ps, and a custom built picker in Ai (and different events when you move your mouse off of the window when dragging a slider). Different antialiasing, different working guides, different icons that mean the same thing, etc.

      Things that may have been built differently by different teams, but with a bit of paint or a UX coordinator, could be made to look.function similarly.

      3 points
      • David Adam EdelsteinDavid Adam Edelstein, almost 6 years ago

        Yes, exactly. I don't want every product to do everything - it would be better if they were clearly delineated - but I want the overlaps to work the same. I shouldn't have to remember the five different ways the type tool behaves in different environments.

        6 points
  • Drew BeckDrew Beck, over 5 years ago

    The CC subscription model actually gives Adobe some interesting ways to move forward. I'm thinking specifically of carving off a small team to create new tools. Adobe could totally put 20 folks together to create a Sketch-like experience, for instance, and include it free with a CC subscription.

    Interoperability with PS/AI would be great, but it's possible (probable) that needing to support the legacy formats would hold the new team back.

    Still, it's a strong idea. Making significant changes to the UX of any of their core products is I think a no-go; Adobe's biggest paying customers would have a fit. But smaller, targeted, greenfield products could do old things in new ways and go a long way toward keeping folks on board with the company.

    1 point
  • Jake FlemingJake Fleming, almost 6 years ago

    Chirp chirp

    1 point
  • Andy LeverenzAndy Leverenz, almost 6 years ago

    Well said. And they want $600 a year for cumbersome software. It's supposed to make our job easier or at least more efficient isn't it? I wish...

    1 point
  • Account deleted almost 6 years ago

    I only use PS for 3D, Photo Editing (what it was intended for) and the Timeline. Other than that Sketch is everything I need.

    1 point
    • Jeff EscalanteJeff Escalante, almost 6 years ago

      You can even use pixelmator for most of that stuff, much nicer interface and a lot cheaper. It even opens psds

      0 points
      • James Caruso, over 5 years ago

        I have yet to play around with Pixelmator. I hear good things, too.

        0 points
      • Account deleted over 5 years ago

        I tried it, it was better, but not by much. There weren't enough incentives to switch/learn a new tool. Plus when I'm working in-house PS is the requirement.

        But I use Sketch 80% of the time anyway, only when I use PS for hours on end do I end up frustrated with it.

        1 point
  • Dominik GuzeiDominik Guzei, over 5 years ago

    I can only agree with you!

    Since I gave up the hope that Adobe will improve the very basic workflows for us real-world designers, I even started the company Code Adventure to build extensions that fill some of these gaps. http://www.codeadventure.com

    My first extension PRISMA introduces global color swatches for Photoshop that work across multiple PSD files. Its such a basic concept that should be supported by any serious graphic program. I have customers that tell me, they asked Adobe for years to implement this.

    0 points
  • Daniel AdamsDaniel Adams, over 5 years ago

    Yes but honestly I do like their incapabillity, this makes room for more products like Sketch and Skala.

    0 points
  • Max PensonMax Penson, over 5 years ago

    You are so right, the latest Photoshop for instance has the same one document at the time interface as the first version. I always thought this could be easily improved with a simple but powerful panel that interact with all the open documents. The pain of doing simple tasks such as moving a layer between a document to a document has pushed me to develop my own solution to improve the decade old Photoshop interface. It fundamentally change my Photoshop experience.


    0 points
  • Patrick LoonstraPatrick Loonstra, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Great thread this. My addition to Adobe to work on is:

    Make the apps update in CC and not ever rename them to Illustrator2014.app names.

    I never understood that decision.

    0 points
  • barry saundersbarry saunders, over 5 years ago

    Bring back Proto :(

    0 points
  • Dino KuznikDino Kuznik, almost 6 years ago

    Well Said!

    0 points