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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Selondon

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The new interface is awful. When working on a file with many layers it is so hard to differentiate!

Make my work life bad by changing the UI, make my home life sad by ending Adobe Revel.

Great Stuff
(Edited)
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FMk

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I really like the new UI and I don't understand how a cleaner UI can make a software unusable, especially if you're a long time user. The panel layouts and functions are exactly the same. I don't need borders and drop shadows to tell me the font size is clickable and editable. It seems to me that the reactions are wordings used here are over the top.
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Herbert

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@FMk: the light version of the UI, the one I prefer, will never pass any serious accessibility test. And I am not even talking about general usability testing here.
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grauenwölfe

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Hey, come on guys, can't be lampooning people simply because they like or don't have a problem with the new look. Adobe could have made it all magenta and yellow and there would be people who liked it. Just let him be, he likes it and should be welcome to voice that here. Most of you hate it, I personally think the change is irritating, excruciatingly amateurish and feels like using bad knock-off software from China, but I also don't think it's unusable. Embarassingly stupid and inconsiderate? Absolutely.
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Richard Missin

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Man walks into room, expresses polar opposite opinion after telling everyone they are 'over the top'...while Adobe choose to ignore the conversation and let the community argue among themselves...should we phone Einstein to ask for the outcome ?
(Edited)
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Herbert

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Why not focus on the  task at hand: the poorly designed and miserable 'new' interface of Photoshop? I don't see any value in wasting our energy bickering over dissenting opinions. Opinions are just that, subjective personal opinions. And let's not forget that we all are here in this forum to let Adobe know, loud and clear, that subjective opinions should NEVER be the basis for UI design. 
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Richard Missin

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Agreed, can someone point me to the thread where people were complaining about the old UI and requesting an update ?
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Philip Krayna

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Hey everyone: we are still "talking" in a chat board, logging hundreds of insightful, constructive comments, and the overwhelming consensus is that the new UI for Photoshop is a step backwards. And yet, this subject does not have any response from Adobe. This is getting surreal. HELLO ADOBE-- ANYONE HOME? How many posts before this gets on your radar screen?
(Edited)
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Chris Cox

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There are responses from Adobe, please read the rest of the topic.
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Richard Missin

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1 response in 3 months, please read the rest of the topic.
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Bruce Thomas

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There may have actually been 3 or 4 responses from Adobe but nothing to suggest there is light at the end of that dark grey, darker grey and black tunnel. I'm astounded that someone up the corporate food chain hasn't addressed the many issues presented here, and well explained too, often with screenshots or diagrams. Totally lousy PR Adobe. Any business is founded on it's customers and in particular customer loyalty. Talk with us!
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outtacontext

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Yes, where is Jeff? He came on, chastised the group for focusing on the one developer who has taken credit for this UI, left, and hasn't been heard from.
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Antonio Starace

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There has been 1 response in 3 months and it basically summarizes as "we don't care what you all think". Not bad Adobe, not bad.
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Adam Yellin

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"I've looked at many other Photoshop user forums, and there is just no discussion about this topic anywhere but here."

Robert,
That is because the Adobe moderators are compiling all of the other threads into this one page, considering it one issue. I posted outside of this thread and was notified that it would be rolled into this one, as I am sure have many others.
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Richard Missin

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aka:  sweeping under the carpet.
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Robert Tarabella

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I was referring to other forums like Photoshop users at DPReview.com, etc
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Kurt Triffet

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I sure saw lots of complaints up there. Just that GUI was the least of them.
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grauenwölfe

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Someone on Behance posted this before the change. Like this guy's thinking on the Layer Groups.

https://www.behance.net/gallery/19600227/Photoshop-redesign

Layers Palette is worthless mess once you start expanding Group folders. Reminds me of Communist-style housing architecture where nothing is meant to stand out or stand apart from anything else. Just the same exact buildings in every direction you look.

Manually adding colors to the Layer Visibility box on every Layer and Group folder can't be the only soultion. Really need to do something about giving us better visual ques and identifiers Adobe. Intuitive ones too, not 1 px rules in the bottom of input boxes either, please.
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Phil Shaw

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Another unhappy customer.  I don't understand the rationale of changing a well-tried UI that people working with the software are familiar with.  The new UI smacks of marketing department driven change at the expense of user experience driven change.  

I spend many hours in PS every week.  It is an important tool for me and as such a clear and familiar user interface and legible, easy to read typeface is essential.  This new UI completely fails in this respect.

There are also lots of aspects of the software that do not work properly any more.  Adobe software engineers clearly don't care about the user base.

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Bruce Thomas

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It's like they sacked everyone who made sense and replaced them with 'arty' students with no practical experience.
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Richard Bakker

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled GUI elements and transparency.

I feel that the "new" GUI in version 2015.1.2 is harder to use than ever. I understand that Adobe wants to be "subtle" in their GUI, but one can go too far. Scrollbars, sliders, input fields, buttons are way too subtle and are hardly visible when using the gray interface. Provide an option to use the "original" GUI. 
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Designert

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WAY TO FAR!

It's also the new Toolbar Icons that are very hard to recognize.
And the, to large buttons, with way to big corner radius (what makes them harder to aim at).

And the fact there was no mentioning at all that we were about to install a new UI with an update.

Thank you Adobe for us being able to revert to an older version of Photoshop. That's really, really useful!
(I/We try to make a living with this software.)
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grauenwölfe

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The lack of informing users about the new interface is what I can't get past. This is just absurdly inconsiderate. Even more so since it's such a goofy, amateurish change.

I'm especially fond of the designer's bold choice of cutting off one pixel on the Character palette's Font Style dropdown. You can let your low-level designers know they can bump that entire input field over about 10 px or so. Lastly, nice center alignment on the Ligatures/Fractions grouping down there too.



And seriously, I'm about to stab the Pen tool repeatedly in the face with the Slice tool. Is the Pen tool not driving anyone else mad? Constantly selecting all anchor points after any edit is made? WHY? There's a 50/50 shot of actually selecting the anchor or handle you want, and the ol' arbitrarily changing the Path operations selection/mode caper (my personal favorite).

And fix the title bar double-click. MAKE Photoshop obey the OS setting of letting the title bar MINIMIZE the window and not zoom it. Photoshop is the only app that ignores this setting. I know you're just going to say this is yet another inherent or "well-known" Mac OS bug so just spare us unless you can just acknowledge the fault like other normal software companies do.



Man, as the weeks go by I am becoming more and more irritated with this entire update. CC 2015.1+ is earning a spot right next to Mac OS 10.7 for me. Otherwise, great job on your mastery of grayscale. You'll be a step ahead when some upcoming black and white monitor trend comes around someday.
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Bruce Thomas

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Every word is so true grauenwölfe. Are you listening Adobe???? PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING ABOUT CC 2015.1 SUCKS. Repeat...SUCKS. Yes I am going to criticise Adobe in general, yes I am going to criticise designer Seth Shaw, yes I am going to criticise everyone above Seth who approved this gigantic stuffup. The above comment about a black and white monitor trend pretty much sums up the ridiculous current interface when most us spend a small fortune on excellent (ie. non touch screen) monitors. Why Adobe.....WHY????
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JT

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God I hope they listen and offer an escape option...
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Bruce Thomas

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It is quite sad that PS CC2014 is just so much easier to use than the latest version. With not only the glitches, bugs and faults of CC2015.1, the terrible interface makes it obvious Adobe has wasted a LOT of money and effort in the last year. Updates should be a step forward not a backward slide into the abyss. Lift your game Adobe.
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John Isner

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Adobe projects revenue of nearly $6 billion in 2016.  A lot of that is coming from new CC users on mobile devices.  To see the Photoshop users that Adobe UX is targeting, watch this video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1LdH5YI6MQ

Tens of millions of users on mobile paying $10 a month are the users Adobe cares about. The small handful of professional users sitting behind 30 inch monitors are peanuts to them.
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Antonio Starace

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Peanuts they don't care about.
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Kurt Triffet

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$10 is the magic sweet spot for students with tablets and school projects. Sure wish I had that going to art school. 
Tablet technology is just not there yet for professionals. 
Back on topic, though, still no excuse for the poorly executed new UI.
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SChr

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Maybe Adobe will pay more attention since this thread made the front page of Hacker News:
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11295944
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grauenwölfe

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I come across negative comments ALL THE TIME it's just that they aren't centralized into a few threads about only the interface. Comments about the new interface sucking to no end are all over the web but in some of the most obscure places. I could probably fill three pages of links with them had I been saving them. Here's another recent example:

EDIT: Fixed link

http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/adobe-announces-new-adobe-xd-creative-cloud-app-for-end-to-end-u...

(Edited)
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Kurt Triffet

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I just my Adobe rental renewal notice... $600 for another year. Aside from the core group of apps, the rest are just art school student fluff. I got 5 years+ from my $600 CS5 full suite upgrade, and everything looked and worked fine. Photoshop 2014 was the last okay update. They have us over a barrel unless other programs come along that can adequately replace them. I'm no longer the loyal user I once was. I do it only because I need to interface with other professionals.
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Ira Bronson

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As said by everyone else here... The UI and low contrast color scheme is unusable. I can't see anything! It's very hard to tell which layers and layer comps are selected and depending on the theme chosen in Interface > Appearance (specifically the third one), gray on gray on gray MUST be a joke. Has to be. Makes no sense otherwise.

End the joke and fix the <profanity removed by admin>. Can't tell nothin'.
(Edited)
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JT

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I am all for UI improvements but now I'll be scheduling an eye exam simply because this over the top subtleness is really stressful. Simply look at the Character menu and ask yourself from a visual distinction pov as well as structure of the menu, 'is this some sort of bad joke'?
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herbert wegen

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Seriously?! Sigh...
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Antonio Starace

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I have PS 2015.0.1 and decided to update Bridge. Now I have a strange classic/crappy hybrid UI. In Ps I can stay with the light grey color, but CameraRaw is stuck with the almost black interface and I'm afraid I can't change it.
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Ann Shelbourne

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In your Prefs (in both Ps and in Br) change the Color Theme to the lightest version and ACR should then operate in the light version.

You may have to reboot for the changes to take effect across all programs.
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Antonio Starace

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Thank you, it works. The only drawback is that launching ACR from Bridge keeps the setting as light grey, launching from PS keeps ACR as dark grey.

Anyway, light or dark is the same crap they are so proud of.
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Ann Shelbourne

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The ACR panel with the sliders should be light if you set the Prefs accordingly . The "apron" area around the image can be set to any tone that you choose. Just Control-click on the apron and choose a colour from the drop-down menu.
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Anna Shipside

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I just upgraded to CC yesterday at work and after retouching two photos went back to using CS6.  The flat grey on grey is completely pointless.
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Anna Shipside

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I have it but my only option for an older version is CS6, nothing older in CC.
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Ann Shelbourne

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Try un-installing CS6 (doing it through the Desktop CC Panel) — but do preserve your Prefs and Settings!

Then click to Re-install a Ps Older version and you should see this "Available Versions" drop-down list after you click on the "Ps Install" button:

(Edited)
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Anna Shipside

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I have zero options other than CC 2015 :(
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Ann Shelbourne

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Try calling Customer Support and see if they can help?
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Anna Shipside

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Well the problem is sort of solved.  As long as my computer isn't logged into the cloud it opens the 2015.0.0 version which is a lot easier on the eyes.  
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Bruce Thomas

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You can still download Photoshop CC2014 (the best version) from the Adobe website -

 https://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/thankyou.jsp?ftpID=5771&fileID=5802
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Robert Tarabella

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Sadly, as new features are added, we are compelled into using the new interface. For example, the latest version allows you to have multiple instances of layer styles. A very useful feature. We may have to grin and bear it, because it doesn't look like they're going to reverse themselves on the swampy grayness of the new interface.
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Rob K

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The 2015.0.1 release has this feature, without the new flat UI.  If you can roll back to that, you're best off.
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Kurt Triffet

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This is the one I'm using and happy to stick with it. 
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Philip Krayna

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Hi-- how do you roll back the useable older interface? Is it in the preferences?
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Kris Hunt

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Do you think this thread would be eight pages long if it were that simple? All you can do is install an older version of Photoshop.
(Edited)
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Richard Missin

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I can't believe my eyes, after rolling back to CC2014 in PS I'm now faced with this in 3ds Max 2017, for gods sake what is going here, is everyone on the Microsoft skeuomorphic bandwagon. !!!!?????????
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Designert

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Sadly, they won't indeed...
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Roger Gauthier

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Rob K, you're missing the point... And please let's bring some levity into this awful mess! Skeuomorphism... Thanks Richard.
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Rob K

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Sorry, please illuminate the point of complaining about other company's software on an Adobe forum.  If anything, providing evidence that other software companies are also "flattening" their UI only serves to strengthen Adobe's position that they are on trend.  How that helps us get what we want in this particular discussion is a mystery to me.  
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Richard Missin

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Skeuomorphism... Thanks Richard.
hehe, maybe anti-Skeuomorphic would have been a better description, the anti-Skeuomorphic bandwagon started by Microsoft with their bland lifeless UI.
Like herbert says,  I hope it's a fad that dies a painful death.
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herbert wegen

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Richard, it is as you say: if only Photoshop's GUI (or any of Adobe's applications) would allow users to change all GUI elements' colours, we would see themes appear in the community which would accommodate even the most extremely opinionated user.

I hesitate to bring up another application here, but Blender allows for exactly that. Even the GUI elements' scale is seamlessly scalable with a simple PPI slider in the preferences. Many themes are available, built by the user community.

It is a breath of fresh air having this freedom.

But this will never be allowed by a hierarchical large company such as Adobe - it is the anti-thesis.
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Bruce Thomas

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I wish Adobe would realize that the shock experienced by real users of the latest incarnation of Photoshop is actually about 8 on the Richter scale. I'm guessing the amount of money they wasted on Seth Shaw and rest of the 'design team' (lol) has also rendered our humble opinions useless and that we will be ignored in the hope we will all just go away. Anyway, for what it's worth the already outdated GUI of CC2015.1 is TERRIBLE and in my opinion at at least ranks as the world's worst attempt to 'lead the way' in anything.

Next update time Adobe consider the thousands of loyal customers you have and don't do anything as completely stupid ever again. 
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John Isner

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> Next update time Adobe consider the thousands of loyal customers you have and don't do anything as completely stupid ever again.

Thousands of loyal customers count for nothing compared to millions of new customers at $10 a month.

Wait a while for a professional-quality alternative to Photoshop to appear in the market. It will be cheap and it will be sold with a perpetual license. By betraying its loyal customers, Adobe has created a great market opportunity for others!
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Richard Bakker

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I really wonder if there was any UAT on this UI or is it just based on responses in some classes.
It is clear that the developers are not users, because most people find it awful and where is adobe with their response ? Crickets...  
Problem is that people (have to) use this software every day for its functionality, which is great, but to use the functionality we have to interact with the horrendous interface. 
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Kurt Triffet

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I think Adobe's true intent will be more clear on the next version, whether they continue with this kind of developer arrogance, or try to find a happy medium with the professional base by keeping proven features. I have no problem with them making more toys for the kids, but keep us professional folks happy.
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Brenton Edwards

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Adobe CC and specifically Photoshop is the industry standard for many professionals, and as such they need to be careful what they do from this point onwards.

If Adobe continue down this track of damaging a tool that has been invested into and relied upon by many professionals for literally decades now, they’ll be surely facing quite a significantly large class action lawsuit.

At a very basic level, I am now locked into a subscription model that forces me to pay for software that is now out of date because the latest version seriously hinders productivity.
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herbert wegen

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Last Thursday I was teaching a class (post secondary, web development/design), and at some point I fired up Photoshop to create an image. I noticed the school had installed the latest version with the new GUI design.

One of the students lamented "Yeah, they installed the newest version. The interface is bad." All the other students agreed with him. A short discussion erupted at that moment about how they all really disliked the new GUI design. The students range mostly from age 19 up to 30 years old, 60% female, 40% male.

It's funny, because in my UX design classes I now discuss the new Photoshop GUI design with the students as a good example of how NOT to design a usable GUI.
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Tom Hockersmith

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While I agree with everyone's complaints about the look of the new UI, I am much more frustrated by changes in performance -- particularly the way the UI now centers every dialog box and never rememers where they have been repositioned by the user.  For me this means an extra step for virtually every tool, filter, or adjustment I call up -- to move the damned controls off the image I need to see to adjust.

Many have described getting their old UI back by rolling back to an earliuer version.  That hasn't worked for me.  Both with CC2014 and CS5, they adopted the behavior of the new UI the second time I opened them.  So I can't even roll back without leaving the cloud (which I would happily do if it were up to me).

The bottom line for me is that Adobe has done next to nothing to improve my productivity in the lastr two years while doing lots of stuff to impede it.  I am quite convinced that no one who designs this stuff ever actually uses it.  Moreover, I am sick to death of their paternalistc and condescending attitude.  I do not reject change out of hand; I reject change for the WORSE or for no good reason at all.
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Chris Cox

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Photoshop only centers dialogs the first time they are shown - after that it remembers the last used position and size.   That has not changed.
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Designert

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I particularly (fully) agree with: "I do not reject change out of hand; I reject change for the WORSE or for no good reason at all."
And I really don't believe any one can work faster  with the new UI...
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Roger Gauthier

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To Chris, dialogs position: you are absolutely right.

This proves that not everything is bad in Photoshop. It would really be fun if only we could say exactly the same thing about the UI! Oh God that would be great!

In the meanwhile, the whole Filter Gallery still works in 8 bit mode only, a pre-historic vestige right in the middle of Photoshop, unchanged for at least a decade. And it's the same for some other filters also.
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Daniel Zachar

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Dear Adobe. You are doing software for professionals for many years. What's happen? The new interface is so, so bad, maybe the worst readable from start of the photoshop. Please do not make the UI nicer, do it better readable, easier to use, faster and more logical as is now. Nothing more we don't need from UI for such tool (Photoshop, Ai etc.). And please while you are testing "us" with new UI's, please give us checkbox for classic UI. We need work and not still trying to find "micro" buttons and icons on your new design experiments, now moreower  with bad contrast as bonus. Please, try to make the Photoshop engine better and don't change what is good on interface, or make the changes user selectable.
Thank you.
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Marc De Champagne

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Bad usability of Photoshop.

The User Interface of Photoshop is getting worse from version to version. 
1. low contrast
2. black UI is often very hard to work with. It is hard to read text and find elements.
3. no primary button (and the new ones are ugly as hell). You have now to read the labels to see where "Save" and wehre "Cancel" is.
4. no support for the eye with shadows on windows. So it's very hard to recognise if where a window ends and where is the underlying window. There is no visible border.
5. there is no clear separation between elements. I have problems to find things on big screens. I'm completely lost on some screens.

The whole UI just looks like a "I have to go with a trend, doesn't matter if it's useful or not". :(

I've decided to buy LR instead of Capture One because of the better interface and workflow. But now I'm afraid I will get the same horrible black UI on LR in the next version.

Please please hire some good UX Designer and just stop to follow silly trends.
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Cristen Gillespie

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The 2nd dark interface is the only color scheme I like. The black has too much contrast so it gives me eye strain. The lightish gray? is muddy, and the brightest one I wouldn't use, but if I did, I'd want it to be, well, bright. Not dim with black accents. The most complaints seem to come from the people who like a light interface. I guess that's changed too much for them.

I don't like the flatness, either, though. It's more difficult to know what's highlighted. Turning the visibility on and off for Smart Filters is a stab in the dark. It always has been and certainly isn't any easier now. It can be difficult to quickly tell if some icons or buttons are active or not.

I don't think they did desktop users a big favor by going to the flatness popular now with touch devices, especially when we don't want colorful icons and buttons to compete with our images— but I expect it'll all change again, and it's very difficult to keep complaining that it's not the greatest UI anyone has come up with. I just hope they never, ever go back to thinking it would be a good thing if they just turn all the panel tabs around 90 degrees so you read them sideways. . . '-}
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Robert Tarabella

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I've noticed our cranky feedback, which is universally opposed to the gray on gray theme, is becoming less and less frequent. This is exactly what the Ps team hopes will happen. They know best, and we're just a few cranky users. There is ZERO chance they will be adopting any of our proposed changes.
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Kurt Triffet

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They used the same tactic herding users from buying to renting their software. I still am using the first version of PS 2015, and no intention of "upgrading", despite the fact that I have to pay for the new version. Almost laughable that they've been heavily promoting their new UX design software, and yet they don't have a solid grasp on good UX design themselves.