Mar 25, 2011

Does Adobe Do any Usability Testing?

Is the goal to annoy users?

<snarkiness warning="on">Quite frequently anymore, it seems that large companies modify their flagship products just to annoy their users. Once they have a virtual monopoly they seem to feel that it then becomes their job to to foist less and less usable interfaces on us, just so we know our place.  Microsoft was the current champion with the Office 2007 ribbon bar fiasco, but Adobe just sucker punched us with the new search feature in Adobe X (hey where'd they get the idea to use an X instead of 10? That's really clever. I hear the next version will be call iAdobe). In homage to NPR's Whad'Ya Know?  I'll give you three options on how Adobe changed their search box and you pick the true story.
  1. In defiance of human interface guidelines on button size, Adobe decided that it would talk smack to their clients by making the buttons in the find popup really, really, no really, small.  This allows you to slow way down while positioning your mouse to click.
  2. Because Apple's latest HIG promotes the use of more white space and Adobe is still mad at Steve Jobs over that iPhone Flash spat (despite playing tribute band with that X moniker), Adobe decided to remove all the whitespace they could and cram the buttons really close together even though the find options are in a new popup and there is plenty of room to make it any damn size they want.
  3. Adobe decided that the rule about not putting a cancel button right next to the buttons the user actually might want to hit was nonsense. All users have pinpoint laser accuracy when moving and clicking a mouse and if they don't they would rather have a search box disappear so that they have to start over. Don't we all secretly just want to hone out mousing skills? Who cares about actually getting work done?

I think they succeeded

If you guessed that the correct answer was all three you get Shantanu Narayen's voice on your home answering machine telling callers to put human inteface guidelines where the sun don't shine. </snarkiness>

About Me

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Tod Gentille (@todgentille) is now a Curriculum Director for Pluralsight. He's been programming professionally since well before you were born and was a software consultant for most of his career. He's also a father, husband, drummer, and windsurfer. He wants to be a guitar player but he just hasn't got the chops for it.