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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From my perspective, the biggest disappointment is not how much changed with the new UI, it's how little did. Everything is still exactly the same as it ever was and nothing has been done to optimize any of the behaviors or tools which slow us down.

Want to change the color of a gradient adjustment layer? That'll be 3 windows please!


Need to adjust a hue/sat layer? Well, you'll need to click through 6 different drop downs to see if anything other than Master has been modified.


Would you like to be able to see your paths on a busy background? Not this decade, Mr!

Thinking of saving/exporting your image(s)? Well, we'd like to make it as difficult as we possibly can! Here are six windows to keep you busy... sometimes we like buttons in the top corner, sometimes in bottom!


You'd like to crop or change your canvas after using Liquify? Ridiculous!

The list could go on and on and on.
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grauenwölfe

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Ahaha. Sorry to laugh but this is too good. What an absolute joke the Photoshop interface has become. It looks like some low-grade, knockoff software from China or something.

It looks so damn sloppy I won't be surprised if there are typos yet to be found too.
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Scott Graham

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If you think this is bad, just try to change a gradient in a mask.  I at least haven't found it to be possible at all.
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Bob Laughton

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Has anyone updated to the latest 16.1.1 version yet? I'm terrified to do so. Ha!
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Chris Cox

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It only contains bug fixes.
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Bruce Thomas

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I have to admit that I too am very wary now about hitting that Update button. You being a computer scientist Chris Cox, can a humble user like myself use Windows Restore to get back to the previous CC version? Mac users apparently can roll back, and have done so.
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Carola Clavo

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Not interested, I'm waiting for the UI to be fixed or a "classic" option to be added back.
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Robert Tarabella

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Nope. I'll wait to see the feedback from the community.
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Bob Laughton

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"It only contains bug fixes"

That's like discovering the cigarette-lighter was missing on a car with no wheels.
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Bruce Thomas

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And Chris Cox, out of interest....are the designers of the latest UI just that...designers?? Or are they actual users of PS and InDesign?? I have a sneaky suspicion they are not the latter, or if they are that they are only casual users. It seems to be the ones not keen on their results are the real users, the core of Adobe customers. As I have said previously Adobe updates were always nice and useful...but this is just a massive fail.
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Carola Clavo

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Change the user interface
For something like this user interface would fix a lot of my problems, at least for me.


I don't want to disrespect the team that did the changes but it is really, really a mess for me, I can't upgrade Photoshop because of the new interface.
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Richard Earney

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Some more interface contrast wouldn't go amiss. It is hard to tell that the OK is the default. Often you have to look twice. No interface should make you look twice.
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Rob K

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This is actually a big problem, especially for those of us who use "return/enter" on the keyboard and don't click the actual button.

Out of the corner of my eye, I absolutely can not tell the difference between these two buttons. This will eventually cause a keyboard user to do the opposite of what they intended. Flatten. Close without saving. Rasterize something important. Etc.
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Robert Tarabella

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Here's an idea: use these controls.
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Kris Hunt

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What's really sad is that these controls still exist alongside the new style controls (e.g. Save Changes dialog). They didn't even do a good job doing a poor job.
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joshua withers

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Why did the UI in Photoshop change in the Layers Panel from Colored to Gray?.

I am frustrated at the UI changes in the latest update.
In the past, the active layer you were targeted on was highlighted blue. If it was gray, that meant you were in quick mask mode, or in a channel or something was perhaps 'incorrect'. It was one of the visual clues I gave my students.

Now, the active layer is always gray. No more visual clues.

Why did this change? And can we get the colors back?
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Bob Laughton

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I must admit I had a quiet chuckle to myself when I just received my Christmas message from Adobe:- "May your 2016 be filled with colour and delight"

Yes please!
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Bruce Thomas

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Let's all send Adobe gray on gray, barely visible Christmas cards :)
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Mike Berson

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Hilarious! Make sure to design the card in Affinity Designer to really get the message across.
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Jared Wilcurt

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Bob Laughton: I must admit I had a quiet chuckle to myself when I just received my Christmas message from Adobe:- "May your 2016 be filled with colour and delight" Yes please!

Bruce Thomas: Let's all send Adobe gray on gray, barely visible Christmas cards :)

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Antonio Starace

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Still too much contrast. Make background lighter or text darker to match the real Adobe style.
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Robert Tarabella

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^^ More like it.
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Antonio Starace

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That's it!
The sad thing (for us customers) is that "they" think of this as an achievement.
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Jared Wilcurt

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Looks like a Filter > Other > High Pass
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Bruce Thomas

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Nice work! And that certainly sums up the problem.
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Carola Clavo

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This is the perfect feedback for the new UI. In white is 'more' bearable. But.
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John Isner

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Has anyone brought this discussion to the attention of influential Photoshop bloggers like Scott Kelby (kelbyone.com)? The world seems oblivious to the problem outside of this discussion. The Lightroom import fiasco made headlines within days, but this is ten times worse.
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Jared Wilcurt

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You should do this. Any additional pressure that can be applied to fix this is appreciated. Adobe's designers deserve the bad press for this.
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John Isner

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I did, and others are encouraged to do the same

http://kelbyone.com/contact-us/
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Bruce Thomas

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Chris Cox, another specific issue is the way PS now jumps around a strange combination of Windows OS and PS light and dark dialog boxes. Just ask the designers to stick with the native OS schemes and all may be forgiven. The example below are the boxes look like on my Windows 7 PC.
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Morris

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Well, check this out:

http://www.setopacity.com/articles/20...
wrote by Seth Shaw, Lead Designer (Twitter @sethshaw)
I sent a message, asking him to read this thread.. I hope he will..

--------
BTW I'll rollback to PS 15.0.1, right now I'm having a really bad experience.
My interface was already small and unreadable due to Windows scaling issue.. now is flat..
So, if one day they will fix the scaling issue, I will have to update..
No way to escape from this UI.
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John Isner

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Yes, but so what? He created an iPhone app as his senior thesis.
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Ann Shelbourne

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The Client pays your bill — or doesn't!
Give your Client unusable junk and he won't continue to use, or pay, you.
This new UI falls full square into the Unusable Junk category.
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Antonio Starace

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Well, I read the article and it seems he thinks he did a good job. Everyone thinks to be doing good until someone tells you that you're wrong, so I assume no one ever told him.
By the way, of course he is not the only responsible of the abomination so down the article you can see the names of the geniuses (sarcasm) who made this.

http://www.setopacity.com/articles/20...
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Bruce Thomas

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I messaged the link to this page on Seth's Facebook page just in case he has been sheltered from the storm.
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Antonio Starace

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I directly emailed it.
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Bob Laughton

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"Tabs are 28px in height, which I felt were large enough to be touch friendly while retaining pleasing proportions" says Seth.

I'm sorry, but where does all this ridiculous "touch" nonsense keep coming from? Are they meaning a metaphorical touch with a mouse/Wacom pointer or do they actually think that pro Photoshop users are doing their retouching work on a bloody iPhone?

This gets more bizarre by the day.
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Jared Wilcurt

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Bob Laughton:

"Tabs are 28px in height, which I felt were large enough to be touch friendly while retaining pleasing proportions" says Seth.

I'm sorry, but where does all this ridiculous "touch" nonsense keep coming from? Are they meaning a metaphorical touch with a mouse/Wacom pointer or do they actually think that pro Photoshop users are doing their retouching work on a bloody iPhone?

This gets more bizarre by the day.


With the ubiquity of tablets, many laptops are implementing touchscreens. This has been happening for over 5 years on desktops and laptops in the windows landscape and has more recently hit critical mass due to Windows 8 RT and Windows 10. There have been "talks" of iMacs and MacBooks eventually implementing touch screens as well. And with the implementation of more and more features that seem to originate from iOS being put into OSX, it's no surprise people would make that assumption.

This could be Photoshop making sure that those on devices that have touch screens can have a more holistic experience. And that's not a bad thing. Their execution of it is though. The UX patterns they're using are correct for devices that are not used by professionals or don't have access to standard peripherals (such as Mouse, Keyboard, Wacom). If you are designing solely for a device with touch, some of these patterns they're implementing make sense.

I feel like early in the process someone would have said "Why don't we just have an option in the UI settings to switch to a touch-friendly interface" and they were shot down saying "No, people should be able to easily and fluidly transition back and forth in their workflow the way we can choose at any moment to use the mouse or a keyboard shortcut". Neither side is wrong, but both could benefit from a bit of a compromise.

That said. We're talking about mostly a technical overhaul. Things like the height of an element being changed to allow easier touch access has nothing to do with the horrendous new iconography, or the poor contrast in 2 of the 4 themes, or the unprecedented lack of affordance on UI elements that have had them for decades, the removal of clickable surface areas that explicitly go against Fitts' Law, etc. None of these aesthetic changes make any difference to a technical improvement. But they do hinder the users. They add an unneeded learning curve and require a higher level of focus to do basic interactions. They consistently slow down all users both advanced and novice.

This is a monumental failure of interaction design caused by a fundamental lack of understanding users and the history of the medium. I'm not against change, I seek it out, but only because it's how we improve things. This is not an improvement. I'm not one requesting that we make everything look like it did in the last version, a change to something different that is an improvement from the last version is what I truly seek, but for the time being an option for "classic" mode would at the very least make the software usable again.
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Bruce Thomas

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Very well said Jared.
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Ann Shelbourne

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Your comments are on-target on all points.

Now that we we learn more about the team which was responsible for this atrocious UI, I have to wonder how on earth people with such limited experience of both computer UX (as opposed to iPhone toy apps.) and of the professional imaging and Print industries were allowed to go anywhere near Adobe's CC Professional Programs.

Whoever allowed this lunacy to proceed owes a huge apology to all of Adobe's Professional customers because you have reduced our productivity-levels by 50%.

Some rapid internal re-assignment of jobs at Adobe seems to be imperative.
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Richard Earney

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I agree generally, but designing UX for Phone apps is also complicated, there is no toy about them.

Let's not denigrate great UX design; just what we have with the new Photoshop UI.

As ever the best way to give feedback is through concrete (also grey, you note!) examples and plenty of screenshots! :)
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MilP

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I've noticed that in Photoshop v2015.1.1 different sliders have different extreme positions (i.e. locations of an indicator):

Layer Opacity:

(center of the indicator does not go up to the end/beginning of the horizontal strip)

Brightness:

(center of the indicator goes to the end/beginning of the horizontal strip)

In either case, the indicator can be moved about 1 px more to the left than to the right.
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Chris Cox

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Oops, looks like the UI engineers missed some details on those sliders.
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Jared Wilcurt

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Marcel Slamka


I've noticed that in Photoshop v2015.1.1 different sliders have different extreme positions (i.e. locations of an indicator):

Layer Opacity: Center of the indicator does not go to the end of the strip.

Brightness: Center of the indicator goes to the end of the strip.



I've been heavily critical of the design teams' choices in this thread, but I am willing to defend this.

This is done purposefully as it gives context to the user. The first is a pop-out that is meant to be temporary, and conveys that it gives you a range of 0-100. It only exists for the moment you are using it and then disappears.

The second is a more permanent dialog it conveys to me that this slider is not a "0-100" slider, but could be any arbitrary numbers, especially negative, as most of the adjustment layer sliders are center weighted allowing for positive or negative values. But more so, this second style allows for more specialized types of sliders, such as threshhold:



Context of purpose through conveyance and affordance in UI is often a difficult to recognize act. This subtle difference between the two types of sliders is meant to help the user to understand that this slider isn't like the other slider and to pay attention to the values it sets, as setting it 50% of the way doesn't mean the value will be 50. Gamma correction for example goes from 9.99 to 0.01 with the 50% mark being 1.00. This is important stuff and the UI is helping you to distinguish it.


In either case, the indicator can be moved about 1 px more to the left than to the right.


That's because raster triangles at small resolutions are nearly impossible to center. I'm not surprised one of them is off by a pixel. A special case could be made in the code to compensate for this, but from an engineering standpoint, if this slider is reusing a shared component (and why wouldn't it, it's a slider), this may be more difficult than you'd think.
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MilP

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This subtle difference between the two types of sliders is meant to help the user to understand that this slider isn't like the other slider and to pay attention to the values it sets, as setting it 50% of the way doesn't mean the value will be 50. Gamma correction for example goes from 9.99 to 0.01 with the 50% mark being 1.00. This is important stuff and the UI is helping you to distinguish it.

Unless, you will drag an indicator into its extreme position you can't tell the different between two sliders. So I don't think that this decision helps anybody to distinguish between them. The way I see it is that the horizontal strip describes all possible values and an indicator allows you to pick one of these values. So the indicator should go to the very end of the strip. If the UI designers think that the slider is not meant for precise positioning than maybe the indicator should be a circle instead of arrow. But in Photoshop everything should be about precision since it is a professional tool. That is my opinion.
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Chris Cox

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The previous slider code used to handle all those cases. I think this is just a bug that slipped by.
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Carola Clavo

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This topic was created 23 days ago and no updates released. Everyday I check Creative Cloud in the laptop for a new UI update with higher contrast so I can upgrade my work Mac, but no luck.

All buttons have the same visual value... All layers look the same... All input fields are hiding... I'm really frustrated, I thought the overwhelming dissatisfaction in this boards could wake some brains in there but I guess we'll just have to use Photoshop 'as is' now, and I'm no happy. LOTS of specific feedback even screenshot have been given and still they don't get it.
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Robert Tarabella

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But it's more touch friendly!
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Bruce Thomas

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The only button I feel like touching is Uninstall.
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Carola Clavo

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There was an update today and they just keep it on. I guess we will have to buy new glasses to use this IU in the future. I didn't update my work machine.
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Antonio Starace

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I've been just charged for my CC subscription and still no update on the UI issue. Like hundreds of users I'm still forced to use an old version.

Thank you adobe.
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Kurt Triffet

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Clear proof that Adobe is losing its edge. The newer hires clearly don't have the UI skills or correct sensibilities, and the entire program is now starting to slide downhill.
Staying with 2014 until things get back on track.
I'm unfortunately seeing a pattern of them not listening to their customers, but I also see how forcing everyone to rental vs. buy has given them the leverage to do whatever they want and not lose a cent.
If this had been a regular purchased update, they would have lost money big time.
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Christophe Keller

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Ok, what idiot did design the new flat look? Fire him immediately and roll back the UI. We don't need this flat look where the UI elements are hard to discern. Thank you.
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grauenwölfe

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Maybe?

"An Interview with Seth Shaw, a Member of the Photoshop XD Team"

http://layervault.tumblr.com/post/101...
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Kurt Triffet

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I'm not seeing all this Adobe team building exercise translate into creating a UI that works for the professionals. You don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
While the notion of working on Adobe projects on their ipad is perfect for students and hobbiests, you still need the robust CPU power of a desktop to do the real work. Many of us pros are multitasking between the whole Adobe Suite on dual (or triple) monitor setups. I want a UI that is smartly designed.
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Nathan Marciniak

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The flat, low-contrast look is not working very well. There's essentially no borders between any of the fields, which makes everything run together in a big jumble of text and widgets.

I think that not only should you be able to revert back to a previous version, but you should get a partial refund on your monthly subscription (which will lock you out of re-downloading it again, to be fair, until the next update) when doing so. There should be a financial feedback mechanism in addition to a text-based one. As it is now, it's take-it-or-leave-it, for the ENTIRE suite of software! That's kinda nutty in my opinion.
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Bruce Thomas

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Fully agree Nathan. The fact that the latest UI was designed for touch screens alienates all the pros and serious users that have REAL monitors. Even the removal of a hover state on buttons is such a backward step. Nothing about this UI is an aid to workflow, in fact quite the reverse is true. Please fix it early in 2016 Adobe.