While we’re on the subject of User Interface…
Adobe, as makers of the dominant creative software that powers the planet, are certainly due some criticism. But beware the wrath of the angry user. Via lili katschen on Twitter, I see the Intersphere has its own forums for endless Adobe gripes.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I have Adobe critiques of my own. Those have more to do, however, with the dangers of monolithic, commercial tools, and the missed creative opportunities they can engender. I believe in the power of digital technology, so I think the alternative can be not only to pick up a paintbrush or a Bolex camera, but to try a simpler tool or DIY creation. No matter how good Adobe’s software is, if you’re trapped inside it, it’s no longer useful. Escape it, and you can come back to a CS4 with fresh eyes.
But these sites read more like an endless bug log. No app – even a simple one – would stand up to that scrutiny. And, ironically, you begin to see that the problems often lie not with Adobe but the development frameworks on which they have to rely. (Even that may be a good argument for more open source development, not exclusively, but as a way to begin to build better frameworks for the future.)
Anyway, that’s not why I bring you this. I actually wish Adobe apps would misbehave more, because these glitches start to look like wonderful abstract art.
Dear Adobe, a relatively friendly site that works like a Twitter for bug reports and does get some Adobe responses, starts to read like haiku:
“should a gaussian blur really bring my system to a stall?”
“Quality is better than quantity”
“i love you but you’re expensive” (hmmm, that could apply to so much…)
“I miss HomeSite.”
I can almost hear Creative Suite, the opera. Philip Glass-like piano ostinatos play in the background as designers with funky glasses and just-unbuttoned shirts step in and out of spotlights, murmuring the final echoes of a digital graphic design age…
Adobe UI Gripes is more of an ongoing, out of control juvenile tirade. Oddly, though, its contributors seem to have hit upon some fantastic mode in which Adobe CS becomes a glitch workstation.
You know what this means: someone needs a Glitch Suite GS4. vade, can you get on this?
And yes, I think it’s time to stop thinking about user interface altogether and begin imagining what our computers could do if these crusty 80s UI relics could melt off the screens for a day.
While not intending it, the blogs have given us a glimpse of what that process might be like, in a post-apocalyptic GUI wasteland.
All images via Adobe Gripes. Seriously, guys, keep these coming — they’re gorgeous. A lot better than some of the actual work people create with CS.