Adobe CS installation: Talk about user-hostile

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
November 25th, 2003 • 7:44 am

I was going to give good marks to Adobe for having provided a fairly easy to install package of software titles with its “Adobe Creative Suite”. But then the installer recommended that I quit all applications first before installing the software. I can understand having to quit existing Adobe applications if they are running, but all running applications? Might as well log out and log back in holding the Shift key down (which is what I did, in fact).

You’d think that by now, Adobe would have jumped on the Mac OS X bandwagon and embraced a simpler approach for application installation. These are just regular applications, for crying out loud. They are not system-modifying utilities! I guess user-friendliness is just too much to ask.

The installation went fairly smoothly after that, even though it was quite long with little indication of progress at times. Then I quit the installer and set about resuming work. Of course, I had to log out and log back in again in order to launch all the applications that I normally have running while I am working.

Then I decided to apply the recently released Acrobat 6.0.1 update before actually trying to use the product. (Based on the many complaints with the products, I thought that was the sensible thing to do.)

The download is a disk image (.dmg) that expands into a volume entitled “AcrobatProPackage_all”. Not exactly a user-friendly name either, but what can you do? Then when you would expect a double-clickable application right inside that mounted volume, all you get is… a folder called “AcrobatProPatch Package”. Mmm. So now the update is a “patch”. OK, fine… Inside that folder, you’ll find… a single item that bears the name ‘”AcrobatProPatch Package” and has a generic Mac OS X application icon. They didn’t even bother to use their own icon for the update/patch/package/whatever!

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that things are getting worse rather than better when it comes to user-friendly at Adobe.

You double-click on that generic-looking application and what do you get? This:

Update Dialog

As far as I remember, previous versions of Adobe software updates used to be able to locate the software to update themselves and not require that extra step. Again, a great sign of progress on Adobe’s part.

In fact, the updater does appear to be able to locate the software to update, since it automatically switches to that particular folder containing Acrobat 6.0. So why doesn’t it go all the way, select the item, and apply the update without user intervention? Beats me.

If this continues, we are going to end up having a parallel industry of “Adobe Annoyances” experts. When it comes to user-friendliness, except for a few bright spots, most of them on the Mac platform, it seems to be that the industry as a whole is regressing. Adobe seems to be confirming that trend.

2 Responses to “Adobe CS installation: Talk about user-hostile”

  1. Pierre Igot says:

    Yup. I happen to agree with the palette issue. More generally, many UI elements should be customizable when it comes to font size. Apple itself has some work to do in that respect. I know someone who has a 17″ FP iMac and does not use the native resolution because the text in the menus is too small for her. So she uses a non-native resolution, which of course looks very blurry — but bigger — on that flat-panel display.

    If Apple gave her the option to change the font size in the menus system-wide, she would probably switch back to the appropriate resolution. I suppose I should see if I can find an appropriate setting for her using TinkerTool… But even then, TinkerTool warns that “some applications will ignore these settings”. And I suspect she uses some of these applications. So that wouldn’t be a solution.

    In the long term, we have to anticipate the day when we’ll have flat panel displays with a 300 dpi resolution. Will Mac OS X be fully scalable then? It will have to be. (Of course, we’ll also need graphic card monsters with huge amounts of VRAM, but that’s another issue…)

    There is definitely a lack of Mac-friendliness (which usually means lack of user-friendliness, period) on the part of Adobe that has become more and more apparent in the past few years. It’s really too bad.

  2. Dan Farrell Davis says:

    Here’s one for ya.

    I help a woman near 70 who won’t budge from Photoshop 4 because the palettes have gotten too small.

    I spoke to Adobe years ago about this and one other thing she found disconcerting: the zooming “animation” used in Streamliner (I think it was called) because she seemed to suffer something like the effect of a strobe light to a seizure-prone person. Adobe shrugged.

    She also finds a second monitor an anathema since this is the only way I can find to increase the palette size.

    Anyway, Adobe’s attention and concern to this kind of details, like the installation
    issues you highlight, have definitely grossly faded the luster of the gold standard they used to be, despite Russell Brown’s energy and commitment.

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