Photoshop CC 2015.1: New user interface lacks contrast and many usability cues, lots of other problems

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I just updated to Photoshop CC(2015) version 2015.1. Adobe changed the UI to the flat look you see on phones and tablets. I do not see any way to select the classic interface, which I'm sure many desktop users of PS prefer.

This feels yet another attempt by Adobe to be trendy without caring about what users want or need. Didn't they learn anything from the dumbed-down Lightroom import fiasco?
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John Isner

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Posted 4 years ago

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eartho, Champion

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changing the appearance of the interface isn't the same as taking out features.

did you complain about the sky falling when they added the darker interface too?
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Andy r

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Boring user interfaces need to be avoided for the same reason that boring grey offices need to be avoided. Human beings feel happier and have better morale overall when colour and texture are both used.

Flat design represents the ultimate in human sheep like behaviour, calling something better when it's a throwback to the days of rubbish graphics cards.

If we applied the same logic to cinema we'd be going back to scratchy 1910 cardboard cut out animation and calling it progress.
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John Isner

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Like thousands of other customers, I complained about the change to the Lightroom import interface. I'd like to think that had some impact because Adobe removed it!
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JEA

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Yes, the new ui is not good, not good at all.

One example is using Grey for the highlight color in the layers panel.

Click on Quick Mask Mode and one has a hard time telling by the look of the layers panel whether Quick Mask Mode is enabled or not.
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Jonas M. Rogne

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Oh man, that is bothering me to no end. I constantly think I've accidentally entered quick mask mode.
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Patrik

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled What happened to the Photoshop GUI in 2015.1 ?.

I like improvements but I don’t think this look good at all.

Was there a very good reason for changing it? Was the most important thing to make it more user-friendly and clear?

I work many hours in PS almost every day so it’s a very important tool and I guess for many others who use it in their work. A clear user interface and a legible typeface is very essential, at least for me.

Many of the icons don’t look clear enough (tools icons, the ”eye” in layers to mention some). The icons have a lot of different line widths, I think this makes the GUI messy.

The typeface looks similar to Apple’s San Francisco. I guess the reason is to look familiar, it’s a good thought, but I don’t think it works very good in PS. In my opinion the font is too wide and a bit thin. It’s also odd that the ”old” typeface remains in some places, the ”headlines” of Window items (3D, Actions, Adjustments... etc).

The type ”OK, Cancel, Prev, Next” in Preferences are not even centered in the ”buttons”. And why are the line around ”OK” only a tiny bit thicker than the others, almost not visible?

For me it’s difficult to read white type on dark gray or black so I have been using the light gray color theme. But now everything just looks flat (too narrow value between gray tones) and it’s very hard to get a simple and clear overview of all settings, percent of opacity etc, etc. There is no ”separation” between the content.

I hope there is still some work to do, to make this better.

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David Dales

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I couldn't  agree more! Extremely hard to read all menu items. Very small and lack contrast. Please change it back!! The problem is that 20 somethings are designing this stuff and want everything to be as hard to read and small as possible.
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Deborah Bradseth

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I completely agree - I want the interface to go back to having contrast and being easy to use. And I AM a 20 something year old and I have trouble seeing and using it. And my eyesight is still good, so that's not a factor. I need contrast, I need to quickly be able to see what I am clicking on, and what I am changing. After about 1 day of trying to use it, I rolled back to the previous version because I lost time while working due to the lack of contrast slowing me down. And time is money. I don't use photoshop because it looks "nice", I use it for it's functionality. But when its appearance affects my ability to use it, that's when I have an issue with it. I don't care if it looks "modern" or not, just give me the ability to use it without having to second guess my clicks or make sure I'm selecting the right item. 

Even if you don't give us the old interface, please add contrast, and not this grey-on-grey hype. Gives us some color. Color = Good 

It's not admitting you were wrong, it's admitting you're willing to compromise with your customers who are paying you good money for your product.
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David Dales

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Thanks for that. The other issue is you can only go from 100% to 200% to make menu items larger.One is too small and the other too large. How did you go back to the old one? That sounds like the solution. Thanks!
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Deborah Bradseth

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Ann Shelbourne shared this yesterday (on page 8 near the bottom if you want to see her original post). If you go to your Creative Cloud desktop app, under Apps you should see this:

I personally rolled back to the previous 2015 version, but a lot of people seem to really like 2014. When I reinstalled the previous version, it uninstalled the new version for me. 
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David Dales

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Thanks!
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Marius Renberg

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Dear Adobe team

I usually give a new software GUI (or update) a weeks worth of use before giving it the thumbs up or down.
After about eight hours in Photoshop and Illustrator I feel pretty confident in describing the 2015.1 GUI changes as a bizarre gaffe.

This is not ment as a snide comment, but was this new GUI actually tested on any substantial UX test group? And if so, did any of them have less than perfect eye sight?
Patriks comments above pretty much sum up the new GUI's usability issues.

Please bring back the previous GUI ASAP.

Yours sincerely etc ...
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Patrik

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See link below to revert to original PS CC 2015.

https://forums.adobe.com/message/8236012
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Balogh Gábor

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This new flat GUI simply doesn't work :(

Please bring back the previous GUI ASAP.
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Jared Wilcurt

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This is just awful, I'm only able to move about due to muscle memory of where stuff is. This UI is like flying blind. I feel really bad for any newbies just learning with this as their first experience. I'd be lost if I had to start on this version. There's no more affordance around anything to infer it's purpose (is it a text field that I type in or a button I click on?). If I didn't know to expect where the magic wand tool was, I'd have no idea what that new icon is.

It feels like an old man trying to be hip. "Oh you kids these days, you like that flat design, eh? Yeah I can do that, look, I'm hip, I'm cool".

steve buscemi as a high school student

You're not fooling anyone, either change it back to the status quo or change it to something that is an actual improvement. All I ask is for the same or better. If you can't do better than what you took 3 decades to craft, then don't change it. It really was good. This is objectively bad. The rounded corner buttons are ugly, but at least I know they're buttons. Most of the program feels unusable. And it doesn't even feel like a program anymore, it feels like an App. Which by their very nature are not powerful.
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threecp

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For those of us who have, for decades, been using Photoshop, the new UI is too jarring.

We really need an option to choose a 'Classic' UI.

I've recently retired from commercial photography and am trying to decide whether I need Photoshop. This change is helping my decision making process.
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Roger Gauthier

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Adobe folks,

Please be kind to us all working guys and bring back the old interface. Or at least give us a choice. That way you will be able to get rid of the new one in a year or two without losing face, and without anybody shedding crocodile tears over its demise.
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Вадим Благодарный

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New interface is really ugly, very close to unusable. What is happening to dev. team recently? After that Lightroom Import fiasco, they keep on making the same mistakes. People actually pay Adobe, why behave so outrageous?
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Designert

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I especially agree with: "There is no ”separation” between the content."

Take the Character Window for example.
Why is the background of the entry(/Drop down) boxes grey?
The dropdown box for the language and antialiasing are much clearer to me.

A flat UI is not necessarily a good thing...
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Bruce Thomas

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Fully agree...the new interface is DISGUSTING. Send the designer(s) back to school.
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Cord-Patrick Neuber

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I fully agree. More hipster-flat-design-stuff - less usebilty. More Marketing - less customer needs. What ever it is good for - not for us, the designers. But we have to pay for it - every month. That is modern business. Thanks.
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Roman Tornado

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New UI is better. More contrast, less pixel trash gradients, useless input fields and ect. More contrast numbers and icons. And all this grumbling are nothing as a resistance to change.
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Jared Wilcurt

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Inability to understand or easily navigate a UI isn't a failure of the user.
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Юрій Зелененький

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Very BAD interface. Photoshop - it's PROFESSIONAL instrument, not for mainstream, geeks or teenagers with IPhones, and you must respect your users. If you wish to add new functionality - do it, please, but allow professional users keep earn money and do everyday job, instead of wasting time with this "fancy" interface.
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Greg Justice

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Hey Adobe!

Bring back the old look and feel of the user interface, this is to hard to SEE, READ, and FOCUS on when your trying to do actual production work in Photoshop for 8 - 10 hrs a day. I’ve been using photoshop for 20+ years and have seen a few things you have changed along the way that I might not have agreed with but this is COMPLETELY STUPID!

NEVER been so DISAPPOINTED in an update as this Photoshop cc2015.1
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Kris Hunt

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The poorly centered text on buttons bugs me, too. Also, replacing the white boxes of input fields with a black line is a big step backward, since it's harder to tell at a glance where to click. It almost makes it look like everything is grayed out and unavailable.

The toolbar icons don't have the same style throughout. Most of them are bold and dark gray, but there are still some like the Ruler, Smudge and Healing Brush that retain the thinner lines with subtle shading. Generally, I like the old style icons better, but the new bold ones aren't that bad.
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Bruce Thomas

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Title:That new interface :(.

The UGLINESS of the latest PS CC version is astounding. Please send the designer(s) back to design school and learn how to shape an attractive interface. Even the tool icons are UGLY. All the dialog boxes are UGLY. Bring back the previous interface.
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Derek Holiman

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Yeah, this is garbage. (And I like the flat style. When done well.)

Seems like Adobe isn't practicing what they sell. These apps should be beautiful in their design.

It's not like they don't have the software...

I'd be fired if I presented this crap.

And we pay for it.
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Cord-Patrick Neuber

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled New Photoshop Interface - more style, less usebility?.

Hello there,
today I made the update for the new Photoshop CC Version. After several updates with new technical gadgets und cool tools, now adobe has changed the interface.
More flat design, more purity, more APP style ... I can imagine why they have changed it - but I have to work with photoshop everyday and for me it is a big loss of usebility and comfort and it is not possible to change it back.

What do you think?
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Stefan Klein

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If you guys already think that THIS is flat, you should take a look at the new "design space". I`d be curious, what you think about that one.
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Вадим Благодарный

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Just want to add: another trick like this one, and I'll quit using and paying CC. There are alternatives out there, and pretty good ones. One thing holding me now is habit. And patience. This is not forever.

BTW I think they will revert UI back to original, this is obvious. New UI is so ridiculous. It's just fubar. It's like alpha-stage software that's gone to masses by mistake. How this can be happening to a professional tool?

Angry
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Jonas M. Rogne

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With CC they have started to push out too much new features before they are actually done and properly tested. :/
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Greg Justice

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New user interface is a TOTAL Fail! 100%

This was unnecessary and UNuser friendly!

This is a total DOWN grade not a upgrade!
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Emilio Gonzalez

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Dark grey on dark grey is an awful UI.

The new input interfaces are unbelievably bad. The preferences dialog, character styles, basically anything with a form input is now much harder to use. Dark grey elements on dark grey backgrounds are indistinct, low contrast, hard to find, hard to focus on, and hard to read. I can't move through the UI nearly as fast as I used to; now I have to directly focus on everything I want to interact with rather than using peripheral vision to quickly find high-contrast click targets.

Adobe has made a lot of bad UI decisions over the years, but this one is so fundamentally off-base that it's shocking. Who approved this? I imagine it was quite an internal debate, and the wrong people won.

Please let me change all the buttons, checkboxes, and text inputs back to REAL, STANDARD UI elements. I'm no UI traditionalist, but using contrast to highlight interactable elements is a fundamental aspect of usable visual interfaces.
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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Emilio,

You can change the color stops of your UI in Photoshop by going to Preferences > Interface and choosing one of the four color stops under Appearance at the top of the dialog.

Hope that helps,
David

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Kris Hunt

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Thank you for demonstrating firsthand the complete and fundamental lack of understanding on Adobe's part that we've all been talking about.
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Greg Justice

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David, and fellow Adobe employee's

The new user interface cc2015.1, has no shape or dimension, no defining separation between areas, It’s FLAT almost monotone in color.

You need to go back and LOOK how it was in the old version.

Call up both versions of photoshop and put the old user interface on 1 monitor and the new user interface on a 2nd monitor side by side and look at them and ask yourself which one is easier to look at and decipher, and comfortable on the eyes.
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Roger Gauthier

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David, what you guys at Adobe have to understand is this: a UI is there for the user, not for the designer. Your idea of choosing a darker background isn't bad per se. It simply shows that the darker background is somewhat more usable right now. Still a bad idea, but more usable somewhat.

Never forget: black text against white background is easiest and by far. A dark background is not a good idea. Pale gray text on white is awful. Even companies that know much more about UI, like Apple, have made mistakes resembling this one somewhat, but have come back to more useable interfaces. You're going to treat pains to avoid the Mac interface and the result is a pity.

Most of us love to use Photoshop CC. Please don't make it downright impossible for us. Remember Quark, they didn't bother about users and they went down the drain.

Better brace yourself: our complaints will never go away. It's not a matter of getter used to change, it's a matter of refusing a bad UI. Quite stubborn we are.

I am looking for an alternative to Photoshop. If I find one, I will certainly make the jump. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you are irreplaceable.
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Andrew Birch

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I am experimenting with Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer. They both seem to have most of what we need from Photoshop and Illustrator. The problem for me is I have 25 years of using Photoshop and those 'crunch time' reflexes take a long time to retrain in a new piece of software. Adobe knows this. They also know that by controlling .pdf.psd and .ai, they can keep us locked into their never-ending game. What I wish they would recognize is that even young, new designers and creatives dont have time to constantly change how they interact with a software system. This is about their business of controlling and owning the document and imaging universe, first. Their products are relied on by governments and major organizations, but like all revolutions, at some point the game will change. As creatives, we just need to stay open and keep learning new things, even if the UI is counter-intuitive and maddenly dumbed-down.
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Jared Wilcurt

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David, you're not understanding what he's saying. The Color theme doesn't do anything.



All affordance is gone. The background of the dropdown boxes and input fields is the same color as the background of the UI panel itself and there are no borders separating the area distinguishing what can and cannot be clicked on. There is no identifiable target area to click on, it's literal guess work. This is just one specific example but the entire UI revamp is bad across the board. I know you guys track metrics, had a "classic" UI mode been included, you would see that, even among users who have never used Photoshop before, Classic UI would be the preferred option, because at least it isn't broken.

This is objectively bad design. Ignoring that aesthetically it looks bad, it's just plain not functional.