Elements: A way to change the UI colors

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Is there a way to change the Photoshop CS5 and Elements 9 user interface and application colors? With the black and dark grey colors it is extremely difficult to use. Earlier versions like Photoshop CS4 and Elements 5 have a much cleaner user interface and background colors that is so much easier to see and use. Please help, I'm going blind trying to see dark gray on black.
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Sharon G

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  • going blind

Posted 9 years ago

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nanbush5

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Brett, in response to your request for specifics: I am a long-experienced tech writer, now retired, using a 17" Toshiba laptop. The only times I experience difficulty reading the screen are with software or blogs employing a dark background and small, low-contrast fonts.

My problems with PSE 9 are exclusively with the interface: the lack of readability (grossly inadequate contrast, lightweight fonts, font sizes too small for easy visibility), the harder-to-read dark background, and the absence of user adjustments. These make the program so difficult to use that I cannot even comment on other features of this version.

Considering what I know of the demographics of the PSE customers in this thread, no one seems younger than their 40s. It seems possible that the PSE 9 design may be workable for an audience with really sharp visual acuity but is unusable otherwise. (This might help explain the incomprehension of Adobe staff in addressing the issues raised here.) I wonder if testing for the new design included older users. This would seem to be an important issue, considering the age cohort of non-professionals likely to be wanting photo editing software.

In my first post a month back I wrote, "...please read up on readability. White type on dark background is known to be harder to read than dark type on a light background. This is especially true for miniscule type sizes and light weight fonts. I wear trifocals. You have no idea how impossible I am finding it to use PE 9, even five minutes at a time. The same design principle [tiny, lightweight fonts] has made me cancel my subscriptions to Wired and Fast Company--very trendy, but impossible to read. If you must do your design thing without considering readability, at least let users enable what we need in order to use the program we've paid for--at a minimum, interface color and type size.
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Marcin Lezak

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PS8 had a great switch: Dark/Light UI. That is, as I suppse, all what we need to bring back. And so on. Supposely Adobe just didn't want to "waste" any time for adopting light UI to the new changes (as I see there were many improvements in UI speed, that is only one great plus why I don't feel that money were wasted). But unfortunately for some Adobe's answers here, I am also app-developer and I just don't believe to any words like "or give such a risk of disastrous consequences" or other talks like this may take long time etc.etc.etc. Adobe, please don't be ridiculous, two modes, like in PS8 is enough for users - that what is just conclusion of all posts here. So please don't consider that by months and just do it. With good developers it schould take max two days. Cheers!
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Barbara L

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In PSE 8 the switch to dark/light does not help at all because the UI fonts are so tiny. When I switch to light, the menu print at the top is barely readable because it is now black print on gray background, so it really isn't any better. Again, I have a higher resolution monitor, which many of us do now!
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Roy Close

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As I have mentioned before, there is a free alternative: GIMP http://www.gimp.org/
which I have found to be almost as powerful and feature-filled as the full PS. But I would still love to be able to SEE and use PSE9

Roy
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halmo1927

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I've been following this thread for months. Adobe seems to have become the poster child for siege mentality, continually ducking the real issue and trying to blame it on the screen settings, screen calibration, etc. I am 84 with generally pretty good eyesight with my tri-focals, but the PSE screen menus and icons are just hard to read and, as so many have pointed out, they didn't used to be that way in earlier PSE versions. Why can't Adobe just put out a patch and fix this instead of all the BS and ducking the issue? I've used PSE since version 1, and the editing program before it whose name I can't remember. I like working with PSE as a photo editor, but Adobe is making it so hard. Can't you just call on one the people in the list on the opening splash screen and have them fix the problem? Does anyone in Adobe in a position to act rather than someone who justs ducks and dodges the issue ever read this thread?
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Walter Graham

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Well said!. OK. I've sat on the sidelines for months. I've done software development and help desk work and I am a user of PS and PSE, as well as Paint.net and Picasa, etc. I am a Windows user (Win XP/SP3 and Win 7) unless I can steal time on my kids' Macs.
I have calibrated monitors and I used CRTs until a couple years ago and now have 22 inch Ultrasharps. I normally have default windows settings but have tweaked it many ways and in NONE of the cases have I had problems with anything other than PSE 9. I thought the colr choice was terrible and was disappointed I couldn't change it as a theme or similar. I didn't even know where the menu drop down was until I moved my cursor across the screen until it appeared.
I've used PCs for more than 25 years and can still see pretty well to design and build furniture, small electronics and to drive a motorcycle. I'm an engineer and a scientist and have tried many ways to make the user interface more clear for me and I have been grossly disappointed by the responses by Adobe. I can understand their NDA issues and not promising what they can't deliver but it would have been nice to hear "we understand your problem and now that you've given us examples, it's clear that some people will have problems that they as users can't fix. Sorry about that. Our team has looked at it and will/will not make this a priority to fix because..." And not try to blame the user's capabilities. It seems condescending and shows ignorance of the real experience of some of the commentors. I don't know whether Shantanu Narayen or Matt Thompson follows this support forum but they should take a look once in a while
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Chris Cox

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Please read the entire topic again, particularly the official response just under the original topic. It's hardly fair to claim responses that don't exist, and ignore the responses that have been made.
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Braunsky

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Chris - "The amount of conversation this has generated was unanticipated" and "We'll see what we can drum up" is not "we acknowledge this is a serious problem for many users and commit to correcting it." Adobe needs to do more than just add back a brightness slider. It's the black/dark grey/ light grey color scheme, lack of contrast, and tiny fonts. My feeling is that the UI is also a focus for frustrations with other problems.
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halmo1927

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Chris - what are the "responses that don't exist" that you refer to? By this point in the thread the issue is pretty well stated, but there seems to be no one with any clout at Adobe willing to respond or make a commitment to fix the problem as it should be - as a no cost patch for existing users of PSE 9. Where does the buck stop?
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Vince37mr

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I placed a reply or a comment on this thread on May 5th regarding readability and the UI. Now i can't find it. A search for 'arc minutes' reveals the first post and part of my post as a comment. Is there any way I can retrieve the full comment please?
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Nancy Jacobus

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I have trouble seeing due to cataracts the white letters on black and gray background on my newly purchased Photoshop Elements 9. I had PE 5 and that had gray background and black letters and I could see it. I did not know PE9 would be difficult to see. Is there any setting that I could change to reverse the screens color?

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Photoshop Elements 9: Background screens in PE 9 haard for me to see with white letters on black and gray.
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Byron Yarboro

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I have Photoshop Elements 9.0.3 (210 10320.m.11320) and many of the sliders that adjust things like opacity and brush size are almost the same color as the background. This makes them difficult to see. This should be corrected in future update.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Photoshop Elements 9 Adjustment Sliders Are Difficult To See.
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Linda Klohs

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The responses on this thread have been sufficient in number that the official response should be something other than "we read your frustrations and we might do something about it, some time!" This is an inadequate response from a leader in software programming.
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Karen Jones

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How do I change the background color of the menu bar. It's a dark grey and I have a problem seeing the menu items. i.e. File, Edit, Image, etc. I have gone into organize/share under preferences and chose "light" but it's still dark grey.
Any help is appreciated. ksjonesy

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Change menu background color in Photoshop Elements 8.
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Barbara L

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Apparently one is not able to change anything, including the font size which is practically unreadable on high resolution monitors. That's what everyone is complaining about in this topic.
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Dorothy James

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the tiny lightweight pale grey letters of the menu on the dark grey background interface is really hard on the eyes. I have a hard time even reading the menu choices. Would love a preferences option that lets me change the appearance of the background to one with more contrast or larger menu type. I love the capability of Photoshop but dread/postpone working in it because of the interface. For a program designed by people who should know design, this is unbelievable.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
PSE user interface is incredibly awful.
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Axel S

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Brett N (Official Rep):
"Mac and Windows 7 both come with free software to calibrate your monitor...."

Just until Adobe comes up with a solution the following calibration setting SLIGHTLY enhanced the UI contrast:

The MacBook Pro (OSX 10.6.8) allows to calibrate the monitor using the Calibration Assistant (Preferences->Displays->Color->Calibrate...).
There, selecting the target gamma 1.8 has a minimal impact on PSE9 ́s UI contrast - I would not suggest to use the "Expert Mode" in the Assistant...

BEFORE:


AFTER:
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Sandy Hyman

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I am very frustrated, and there are many others who are as well.

PhotoShop CS5 (along with some other applications in the CS5 suite) are not accessible. The toolbar and dialog boxes/sliders are MUCH too small to read, even if a person has normal vision, which I do not.

I noticed this problem in an earlier version of Elements that I owned, and when CS5 came out, I called adobe, specifically to ask if it was fully accessible--meaning could I change the font size in the UI so I could use it.

I have tried EVERYTHING INCLUDING changing my screen resolution a bit, and NOTHING WORKS to fix this. I was told that the screen resolution was the problem.

Changing screen resolution is UNACCEPTABLE. I bought a high def monitor so that I would have excellent visibility and increased resolution. I am partially sighted and was ASSURED several times over the phone by the sales person that CS5 addressed this problem. I am the president of our local camera club and I CANNOT USE PS CS5!. And many other members of our group have had problems with it also.

It is unacceptable that the software that is supposed to be the industry standard is way behind the times when addressing usability issues as well as ADA standards.

I have called to discuss this matter with Adobe on more than one occasion and was told that I should have checked the website before buying and that the sales staff was not necessarily well-informed about the resolution issue. I specifically called to order over the phone so that I could express my concern about this issue in past versions and get assurance from a live lperson that it was no longer an issue in CS5. If I have to dig and get all my info myself from the web, why have a live sales staff at all, and if you do, why do they not have the honest information?

And the industry standard softwarre should easily support the newer monitors with higher resolutions--isn't that what we photographers are striving for--more definition?

To be fair, I purchased the CS5 suite, and it's interesting that some of the sofware is accessible and some is not. Dreamweaver is not as bad as Photoshop but Bridge is just as bad. So the foundation for the capability to fix this problem is there, just not implemented properly across the board.

I have been using Corel PaintShop Pro Photo for many years, and that software has ALWAYS allowed me to adjust the size of the menus and dialog boxes. There are many times when I wish I could use PS Cs5 but in all honesty, I can do just about enything that software does using PaintShop Pro, and it's MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE.

I would appreciate someone contacting me to let me know how Adobe plans to deal with this and when, and how I can be compensated for a product purchase where I cannot use the product.

Thank you.
Sandy Jo Becker Hyman
President, Photography Club of Long Island / info@pcliphoto.org
President, PortViews Photography / info@portviewsphotography.com

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Photoshop UI Not Readable or Accessible.
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Linda Minton

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Sandy, since you are the President of several large photography clubs, perhaps you will get more attention than the rest of us have. Although the Adobe responders here have tried to be helpful, they evidently don't have the clout to do anything except pass it along to their superiors (no offense, guys). This whole issue is just beyond frustrating, and is spoiling my (and many others') previously high esteem for Photoshop, P.S. Elements, and other Adobe products.

The level of disdain that upper management and/or Product Teams hold for their customers is pretty incredible ... and insulting. They must be raking in so much money that losing a few thousand angry "drop-out" customers (plus really bad word-of-mouth) just doesn't make any difference to them.
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Sandy Hyman

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Well perhaps we have to all call and/or write on this and other forums that we are dissatisfied customers. I know that I will not be buying another adobe product (and I will recommend the same to everyone I can think of--even on facebook--until someone takes notice.
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Allen W

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For Photoshop CS6, how about add option to set a dark user interface style [UI skin] like Premiere Pro or Lightroom? It's very helpful to be able to work on images in a dark interface because it enhances our eyes' perception of color. Can this be possible in CS6?

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Photoshop CS6: Dark user interface style [UI skin] like Premiere Pro or Lightroom?.
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David Dobish, Photoshop Engineering Manager

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@Allen W, I understand that your request is for PS CS6 but this topic pretty much covers the general request from users to have Photoshop allow for UI color changing.
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Allen W

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For Photoshop CS6, how about add option to set a dark user interface style [UI skin] like Premiere Pro or Lightroom? It's very helpful to be able to work on images in a dark interface because it enhances our eyes' perception of color. Can this be possible in CS6?

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Photoshop CS6: Dark user interface style [UI skin] like Premiere Pro or Lightroom?.
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Susan Ruscetta

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It's easy enough to put a wide black border around a photo if someone prefers such a dramatic contrast with their project, but the rest of the work area is unreadable, especially with such a small font size. Why is this so difficult to fix?
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Linda Minton

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"Why is this so difficult to fix?"

Susan, you have gotten to the core of the issue on this forum. There has been no clear or reasonable answer to this simple question here, nor do I expect to see one.
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Sandy Hyman

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Why should we not expect to see an answer to this? I think that we all have to hold Adobe accountable for this very serious flaw. We don't have this issue with other vendors--why with adobe? I think that unless the user community truly holds adobe accountable, and that might mean either refunds or boycotting until it's fixed, I think that is a very important move, given the responses that so many of us have gotten from them.
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Barbara L

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I agree. I have never used PSE before and just got ver. 8 with my computer thinking it was the "gold standard". I had always used PaintShop Pro since almost it's beginnings when it was made by Jasc. I have version 10. I was so disappointed with PSE due to the UI fonts and colors. I agree that people should boycott them until they listen to their customers. There actually are a few features in my PaintShop Pro that PSE doesn't have. I am reluctant to upgrade to a later version of it because I read that it is also becoming "bloated" and doesn't have 64 bit vers. yet. I wish they would have stayed with Jasc.
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Philip Goddard

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I don't understand why all this enthusiasm for Paintshop Pro. I have little doubt that it is more intuitive to use than in much earlier versions that I'd tried to use, but I just installed the trial version of its latest version (X4), and I have to tell you that it has EXACTLY THE SAME atrocious, partly unreadable UI colour scheme that PSE9 has, and, although the program has more configuration options than PSE9, I could find NO options or adjustment for the UI colour scheme.

It is truly appalling that Adobe has given us the tacit message "Up yours, dirty paws - you can like it or lump it like everyone else!", and has ridden roughshod over its very dissatisfied customers. It's just a crying shame that one cannot usefully 'escape' to the current version of Paintshop Pro. I guess the developers of the latter were just being 'sheep' trying to be trendy and copying trendy but user-hostile aspects of PSE or the Photoshop family.
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Allen W

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can this topic's title be changed so that it's for "photoshop" in general, and not specifc to "photoshop elements"
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Sandy Hyman

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makes a lot of sense and actually, the same issues, in terms of font size, apply to most if not all of the CS5 suite.
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Barbara L

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There are many other topics in this forum related to Photoshop that might be more relevant to users of that product. I think Photoshop Elements has issues that may be different from the CS products.
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Blaine Byers

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I see Adobe has today announced the availability of Elements 10 with a trial version available in late September. I looked at some of the video presentations and read most of the descriptions on the presentation pages. Nothing about options to change the font or colors in the UI was mentioned, and some of the videos show a gray background with light gray characters in the UI - certainly not what most of us has been asking for. It is now probably wishful thinking to expect any type of patch for Elements 9 (in my many years of experience with PSE Adobe has never released a patch for any version). We will all have to wait for the trial version of PSE 10 to really find out if UI options have been added, and then decide whether or not to buy from Adobe again. Too bad there is not much competition out there. I started to look at Paint Shop Pro, but all the negative feedback from the users discouraged me from downloading that program.

Blaine Byers
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Marcin Lezak

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Anyone who want to wait for a trial or do upgrade only because of colors/UI change possibilities, there is no sense. In Photoshop Elements 10 NOTHING IS CHANGED at this point. I've just made upgrade. Wasted time on this forum, empty words and so on. Adobe has us deeply in the ***... of course there is a chance to see it in trial and possible paralell update, but... Now I not believe for that anymore. Cheers!
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Linda Minton

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Marcin, thanks for this update on PE10. I was afraid of that. I have switched to PaintShop Pro and am actively promoting it to others.
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Braunsky

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Why in the name of all that is holy would they not fix this? It's been a bitter complaint for how long, two years? Longer? I even tried upgrading to the suite, and the trial version trashed my PSE & PRE projects. I got NO response from Adobe on that score at all, except a prepackaged "we don't support our trial versions." WTF?? I explained that I was trying to decide whether to purchase their very expensive software and would not if my poor old PSE/PRE 9 projects would be rendered inoperable. Nothing. They kept closing my requests for support while I was trying to resurrect my PSE/PRE 9 projects. Is Adobe now controlled by terrorists who are trying to blind us and drive us all mad?
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Mike Chamberlain

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I'm lucky - I haven't parted with any money - just downloaded the trial of Elements. The trial just ended and I've uninstalled it. Bye bye Adobe! If you ever get around to fixing the UI, feel free to email me!
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didi

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This forum is really a joke. You pretend to listen and nothing happens. Big fail again, Adobe.
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Marcin Lezak

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But the biggest joke is that the UI colors change from developing side is a trivial task at the point we're talking about. I could understand that there were no patches before new version, but ... if there is no fixes in new release? In that way someday Adobe will drop PSEL because they will have no sales, but why it would be almost none? ... this whole topic is an answer. Probably there is and will be much more cases like that. This is a domain of policy like Adobe showed to us.
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Barbara L

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There has to be a way to make Adobe pay attention to their customers. I have heard that using bloggs is an effective way to put pressure on companies to satisfy their customers, so I started a blogg with the link to this forum as the topic. I placed it under the "Digg" blogger because the staff recommended it as one with a large following. Go there and add your own comments. Here is a link to that page http://digg.com/ I have never blogged before but this link tells you what an effective tool it can be. http://articles.directorym.com/How_to...
It will be interesting to see how many comments this blog topic will get.
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Mike Chamberlain

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I just downloaded Google's Picasa. It's really easy to learn and use, and has a brilliant face recognition feature. It maybe doesn't have all the features of Photoshop Elements, but it does everything I want it to, and it has two huge advantages over Elements:

1. The UI is clear and legible
2. It's FREE!

In fact the only argument against it is that you'll be helping Google even further along the way towards world dominance.
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Richard Weatherby

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This issue is discrimination against the elderly and aging eyes. Just try it in the evening under low light and a bad tilt of the screen. This can't be hard to fix as the product use to have the proper user inerface. This newer UI does wonders to turn frustrated users away. I am considering dropping this product and looking elsewhere.

I took a course which used an older version. I ran out and purchased the product, only to find this new UI. You can't imagine how disappointed I am. I have never seen a product go so far in the wrong direction. Are they looking for some formal appearance? Maybe I will look for other products.