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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Mark V.

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I'm going to revert back to a previous version of Photoshop. The latest version of CC 2015 is fundamentally defective.

Here in my graphics shop (we do everything from prepress to web graphics to advertising and billboards) we use Photoshop throughout the day, all day long, every day.

I think the people at Adobe don't really use Photoshop the way people "out in the field" use it, and are likely tasked with sitting at a desk, trying to come up with new features or functions, without being really grounded in purposeful production work. They seem to be looking for "solutions" and "features" for problems that don't exist and are piling on tweaks just to justify their business model (subscription updates and constant revisions).
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Kurt Triffet

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The impression I am getting from Adobe Marketing is that all CC users are now supposed to be renegade young street artists working on tablets and "creating".
All the splash page art I'm seeing looks student editorial.
Not based in professional reality.
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Mark V.

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Exactly.
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John Isner

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This is a general comment on user interface design. Everyone, not just Adobe, is rushing to redesign for mobile, and the flat look is showing up everywhere. Like it or not, we will get used to the flat look. But there is a more insidious problem: mobile navigation.

Old-school navigation is usually based on hierarchical menus. It was intuitive. You could easily figure out where to find what you were looking for. But mobile navigation is ad hoc. Where do I find X? In the toggle menu? Under a dropdown? Hiding behind the tiny flat icon lurking in the corner of the screen? We are having to relearn how to navigate sites that we have used for years.

Mobile designers decide which features are the most important and make them easiest to find. They make less important or less frequently used features harder to find. But judgment of relative importance or frequency of use can only be made by experienced users, not by novice UI designers!

Is mobile-friendly navigation coming to Photoshop?
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Bruce Thomas

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As my post (about 3 or 4 up) says, why is Adobe forcing this crappy flat look on desktop users? For piddling touch screens well ok, but none of us real desktop users are going to be poking our fingers at our monitors.

I'll bet that desktop setups will be around for a long time yet as we need to be able to see what we're doing and we need large monitors. I doubt I'll ever be doing serious work on a tablet, let alone a phone and this is where the latest PS CC interface is a massive failure.

If the navigation gets worse in any future PS version (I won't say update as that infers something positive) then Adobe could be left with a severely shrinking customer base.
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Thomas Dwyer

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled 2015.1.1 Including this very "Topic" Box Are Unuseable..

Now I am paying a monthly fee that beginning version 2015.1.1 means any upgrade to Photoshop is unusable for me. I am reverting back the earlier version that gives me user friendly dialog boxes. I can't do anything (read impossible) with this current version sans a very long leaning curve. I really never thought Adobe would do this, and as far I I can see the changes are not even intended to be an improvement. Oh I forgot active layers are no longer easily recognizable.
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Doreen Weekley

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I am trying to adjust to this new lack of contrast interface but it is not going well. I honestly am considering a move away from the product which I really don't want to do. I've loved photoshop for so many years. I'll see how the next months go. So sad.
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jesse schifano

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I can't see the form fields in the user interface now. There is no visual rhythm or hierarchy. This is just poor UI design. Adobe, please offer a mode where we can parse the user interface quickly easily again. It doesn't look cool either. Looks like garbage, works like garbage. Please fix! I've used this since Photoshop 3 in the mid 90's when the ui was just black and white, and even that was better than this.
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Robert Tarabella

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I've been using my rolled back version ever since the new interface appeared. Yesterday, I let it update to the latest revision 2015.1.2. No fix for the dreary swamp of murky low contrast yet, but I'm hopeful that somebody is listening here.

Here's a suggestion: please let us choose a "color interface highlight" mode as an alternative to the low-contrast-non-obvious highlighting of the current interface. Please make it work like Apple's dark menu mode, with a colorful highlight. It would help if this could work throughout the interface so we would have an easier time finding currently highlighted items.

Example:
Apple's implementation:


2015.1.2's current implementation:


Proposed implementation:
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Philip Krayna

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled New User Interface: One Step Forward, One Step Back.

OK, so the new Photoshop has a addressed one of my main beefs: things were too small on a retina screen. The menu icons appear a bit larger, and they offer the ability to make the menu font larger.

However they eliminated the white "boxes" in menu items. So the "Character" panel for example is all grey with subtle (almost invisible on a retina) underlines under active items like font size. This is HORRIBLE!!!! So hard to see where to click on a retina, especially if you work as fast as I do. Please allow users to toggle back to a regular white box view-- this provides a clear visual of where to point the cursor when plugging in values. FIX IT!!!!!
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grauenwölfe

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It's usable.

It's not been causing me any major problems but it's just so pointless. There isn't any science behind it, it certainly isn't "easier" to use. This is about achieving a certain look and nothing to account for improving usability. Reminiscent of first year design students who haven't learned that "looking cool" is secondary to purpose. Form over function in fine art, not interface design.

Every company has misjudged products from time to time. I'm sure Coca-Cola had all kinds of data suggesting New Coke was going to be a hit, and there probably were people who actually liked it better than the original. But in the end Coca-Cola wasn't too proud to listen to criticism or re-evaluate their decisions. If Adobe owned Coke all we would have heard is that somehow it was the aluminium can manufacturer's fault. "...it's a known issue with their cans..." or something to that effect.
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Kurt Triffet

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The good thing is that we don't have to upgrade. PS hasn't really added anything useful since 2014, in fact they've removed things we liked since CS6.
If they see that people are doing their homework and avoiding the upgrade, it's possible they might think differently.
Once again, with software only available now as a rental, they have very little incentive to do things more carefully. Expect more of the same, I fear.
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Bruce Thomas

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It still baffles me, firstly how a 'professional' design team came up with this abomination of a UI and secondly that Adobe released it as an 'update (lol)' without obviously testing it in the wider community in order to gauge a genuine response.

All the comments above, which highlight perfectly the mood of other photography/graphic arts/publishing people I know (even if they don't write here), point to the extremely widespread dissatisfaction with this current garbage UI.

We as users are not asking much, just that your excellent software is packaged in a readable, usable interface like it used to be. In those famous words of someone else.....JUST DO IT.
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chris panas

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Complaining aside - how do I revert to the older UI? Is it possible to do it myself without uninstalling the app?
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Robert Tarabella

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Just scroll down to the bottom of the CC menu and reinstall the old version.
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Philip Krayna

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Here's what I did: Go to your Creative Cloud Dashboard, click on "old versions" and do an install of 2014. I have both on my machine and am now using 2014 until Adobe "fixes" their upgrade.
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outtacontext

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What I find interesting is that no one at Adobe has commented on this thread. This isn't the path to good customer service.

I am surprised that Adobe would make such a change without some input from us users. A poll might be nice BEFORE you make major changes like this.

This interface change is not good. And not good for a number of reasons. But most importantly, it makes it much more difficult to "see" the interface. This is simply bad UI. And, for older folks, it's even worse.

PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS HERE IN THIS THREAD. PLEASE ADDRESS THIS ISSUE HERE IN THIS THREAD. That's what you created these forums for. Otherwise, you just have many disgruntled users complaining. At the very bottom of this textfield you even ask us to "Get emotional. Describe hos this topic makes you feel." Well, here's how I feel:
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Philip Krayna

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Hey Adobe:

I have been using your products since they were in beta mode in the 1980's. How about you enlist some of us longtime users (and some of the new generation of hipsters) to be involved in focus groups? I have a perspective on your products that predates the majority of your employees and developers. Do you do A/B testing? You could easily release beta tests and we would gladly review them for you.

Or, are you all inside your black box in Silicon Valley, trying to keep busy with "improvements" just for the sake of rolling out something new?

Really-- the new UI is an epic fail. Are you applying it to all the CC products? If so, I am stuck with 2014 versions, since I will certainly not upgrade.

RESPONSE????
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outtacontext

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I, too, have been using Photoshop since the very beginning. In fact, I taught it in college. I'd love to be a part of a focus group.
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outtacontext

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Fix the Flat Photoshop CC 2015 UI.

Please fix the interface for Photoshop CC 2015. The flat UI reduces productivity and increases eye fatigue and strain. It's hard to read and makes our work much slower.
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Daniel

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled New Photoshop UI Underlines Cause Frequent User Error, Easily Mistaken for Slider....

Hi,
In the latest update, I noticed that elements in the palettes have underlines under them. As seen here: http://imgur.com/rHW4uZ3


This appears to be a style update to the UI. There is a usability problem with this.
As an experienced PS user, I am finding myself trying to drag these lines to adjust the settings, just as we already can by dragging left and right on labels to make adjustments. It's frustrating because just today, I did this numerous times, only to correct myself by dragging the label.

What if you eliminated the dropdown and made use of the lines, like this: http://imgur.com/PPVtpZJ


It would, in theory, eliminate the click associated with the dropdown, provide visibility for the slider (no invisible sliders on labels) and potentially be carried out throughout all Adobe software as a UI pattern.

Even if you do not implement such a feature, I would advise against keeping the bottom underline on elements. Because you have taught us we must look for sliders, we do, and sadly, this causes frequent user error and frustration with the new lines.

Thank you for your time. Adobe rocks!
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Robert Tarabella

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An even smaller target to find? No thanks. I'd prefer it be returned to what it is--a text entry field. I'm not aware of any other app that confuses the appearance of text fields like this. Just draw a box around the field like the OS does.
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Daniel

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Well, currently, it's a dropdown or you have to click and drag on an invisible slider on the label. My suggestion would eliminate unnecessary clicks and discovery and potentially improve efficiency. I think the current slider (on the label) is a great feature and very usable once you discover it, but it is invisible. The target could actually be larger in my concept. It doesn't make sense to drag a label, but it is a super useful feature once you learn it and my hope is to improve on it by bringing it to the forefront.

I applaud Adobe for trying new things. They are one of the only companies who constantly do! I just wish they would test a little more before launching. I don't like feeling like the test rat when I am paying a subscription fee and have client deadlines on my plate.
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Robert Tarabella

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There's the problem. It's all of those things, and it's none of those things. I've always used it as a text entry field — because — that's what it used to look like. Click it, type the desired value, hit return.

I don't have a problem with the hidden slider, since that's a shortcut. But the primary Interface shouldn't be invisible. Unfortunately, it's becoming that way. Text on a plain background with only a single underline doesn't say "this is a text entry field and it's also a slider".
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chris panas

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SO, if you choose the "Workspace" to be "Photography" you will get the tools palette with the healing brush tool hidden by default... I mean, are you serious right now??
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Hi Chris, I see the Healing Brush with the Photography workspace.



Are you not seeing it?

The tool bar is customized for the Photography workspace. You can click the 3 white dots between the tools and background/foreground color chips and select "Edit Toolbar..." and choose Restore Defaults if you like.
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Herbert

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled I hate the new 2015.1.2 interface.

I hate the new 2015.1.2 interface and will revert back to 2015.0.0, I don't have time to play with the Adobe UI kids who don't seem to care what my work day looks like.

Very sad.

Please revert this UI quickly!
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Bruce Thomas

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Ok Adobe, and designer Seth Shaw in particular...the latest UI has been identified as a bad joke that does NOTHING to help users/customers at all. It is TERRIBLE.

Can someone of corporate importance please acknowledge that this enormous stuffup is at least being looked at?? The silence so far is deafening.
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Herbert

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Have a link?
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Mark V.

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Google "Seth Shaw Adobe." You'll get a list of sites and articles, interviews, etc. I haven't read it all yet, but maybe we'll find out some of the reasoning behind these changes. 
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Robert Tarabella

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Agreed. Our griping might make us feel good, but I don't think they give a damn.
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Herbert

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Thanks, I just did. I found many Seth Shaw links to check out later tonight. Meanwhile I've sent Seth an email, asking him to join the conversation in this thread. Let's see...
(Edited)
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outtacontext

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Not a good business plan.
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Philip Krayna

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Anyone know how to revert back to the previous 2015 interface? If you "install older versions" it only offers the 2014 version. Please advise.

Adobe: You need to get a therapist/coach from Santa Cruz to train your team do some active listening "I hear your concern... thanks for your input..." Your silence is deafening. Are you all too busy thinking of other ways to devolve the product to respond to our thread? Why have these interactive boards if we are just yelling into the void?
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Robert Tarabella

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I'm convinced Adobe believes it's just a few cranky users, and not worth their attention. Most customers aren't complaining, so the design team are geniuses for pulling off such a wonderful interface update.
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Bruce Thomas

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I downloaded and installed the 2014 CC 32 bit version. It's not only legible (faster workflow) but all my favorite 3rd party filters work again. Any future updates will now involve waiting for a 'classic interface' CC option instead of being forced to use that stupid recent UI we all hate. Note to Seth Shaw and the other designers: I'm much happier without you now.
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Rob K

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OK Adobe, it's been a few months and 6 pages of negative comments.  What's the plan here?  If you intend to continue force this UI on us, I assume you will be allowing those of us clinging to the previous version to unsubscribe to CC and keep the last usable version for free.  Yes?  

Because if you don't allow an optional rollback to the old UI in future updates, you are effectively halting development as far as a great many of us are concerned.  A magazine subscription is 12 legible issues, not  1 legible issue and 11 in hieroglyphics.  

Installing an older version is all well and good for the time being, but as more features get added to the "bad UI" version, those stuck on the older version are tossing money down the drain.  That won't last long, and it won't be because we give in and decide your UI isn't bad.  It was bad the day it came out.  It's bad today.  And unless you do something about it, it will be bad tomorrow.  And I for one will be cancelling my personal subscription and resorting to alternative methods of finding a copy of 15.0.1 to keep for free.  I will be recommending the same to the IT department in the busy retouching studio I work in.
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Mike Bruce

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This is an intriguing topic. I have never seen such overwhelmingly unanimous disapproval for a software update. Normally there are always a number of users who chip in to defend the changes, but in this case there are none.

So what can Adobe do to move forward? Well, as has been discussed before, the changes were implemented by Seth Shaw, and other contributors are listed at the bottom of his blog post here: http://www.setopacity.com/articles/2015/11/28/photoshop-ui-refresh

With a little digging around in google you can try to understand the mindset of the lead designer. For example, on this twitter post Seth is bragging about the new look, and it must be a bit of a shock for it to be widely condemned instead of the expected back slaps all round at Adobe HQ: https://twitter.com/sethshaw/status/671561080972283905

It's fairly clear that Seth is one of the newest members of the team, so it's reasonable to assume that he was hired to shake things up a bit.  You can glean some sense of his previous design achievements on his own website here http://www.setopacity.com/work-1/

I would also suggest that folks read "An interview with Seth Shaw..." http://layervault.tumblr.com/post/101769689424/an-interview-with-seth-shaw-a-member-of-the

There are some telling quotes in the interview, for example:
We love to meet users and chat about how they use Photoshop and what they’d love to see feature wise. It’s all about developing empathy
These tools help designers earn their bread and beans. They’ll be vocal. They’ll be critical. It can be tough to hear when the work is being done but has yet to ship. You have to take it all in stride.
Talk with everyone who might use what you’re building. Really get down to the nitty gritty of how what is being built will have a positive impact on someone. Understand their pain points. This is the best part of the job.

I think these snippets should leave us in no doubt that the team will be taking feedback on board. But realistically, what can they do? Reverting to the old UI would be seen as a failure of Seth Shaw's work. There's no hiding with google these days, and the last thing he wants people searching his name or CV is a damning discussion thread like this where his efforts have been trashed. 
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John Isner

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Then every comment should mention Seth Shaw.  To be fair, comments should mention him whether they're positive or negative.
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Rob K

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All I want is the option to revert to the previous UI. The new UI can be the default for all I care, as long as I can either switch to, or download, the "classic" interface. It's gotta be what, 25mb of buttons and a few pages of style sheet codes?

The new UI looks great. The design team did an excellent job of making Photoshop look sleek and modern. Unfortunately sleek and modern doesn't always mean usable. A touchscreen thermostat is awesome, unless you're blind.

I highly doubt Seth Shaw reinvented the entire UI by himself. The onus of usability was clearly not in his wheelhouse. And even if he is entirely responsible for the design, he's just a contractor. Higher ups at Adobe had final approval on the work. Certainly if the new UI has a noticeable negative impact on sales, those same higher ups will have no qualms about tossing Seth's work. Adobe's business is software, not protecting egos.
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Kris Hunt

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I think it's quite obvious what they can do. Since they already have two complete UIs, they can allow the user to choose which one they want to use in Preferences; one built for touch, or one built for the mouse and keyboard. Then they can get all crazy-go-nuts with the touch nonsense without having to dumb down the tools people have become accustomed to.
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outtacontext

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In any successful business, who should come first: the designer or the client? In this case, Adobe's clients are designers for the most part and we do have some educated idea of what we need.

Why should a company protect a worker's ego? Would it seem like a failure if they adjusted the UI? Geez, no. It would seem like Adobe is a customer-centric company which listens to its users.

I wrote Seth a nice, non-aggressive email asking why he designed the UI the way he did. The article doesn't state any reasons why the UI was designed in this way. We have conjectured here in this forum. But all he did was to describe the changes.

I haven't heard from him.
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Kurt Triffet

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Excellent comment by Mike Bruce, and to the comment that there is no protecting egos at Adobe, I've not heard that to be right. There are more than a few there as you'd expect from any wealthy tech company. It's a rarified uber-corporate world, not a little company starting out.For this reason you can be sure there are plenty of company politics at play.

That being said, I simply want software that allows me to easily and quickly perform tasks to improve my productivity in a real world professional capacity. Adobe is losing focus of this right now. I'm afraid that the current UI problem is only the tip of the iceberg with what we may expect in the future.