As we get ready to wrap up 2010, I wanted to share a few reflections from what turned out to be an eventful 365 days – from our team’s whirlwind trips around the globe visiting thousands customers in 20+ countries – to the most significant Acrobat launch in recent years, with Acrobat X in the fall. Because this was such a momentous announcement, we needed to approach some things differently than before leading up to launch day. We wanted to know what keeps our customers up at night. We wanted to understand their pain points.
My first Acrobat launch as product marketing director was an incredible experience. I was able to hear first-hand how customers saw their business success and how Acrobat plays an important role in helping them achieve their goals. In spite of the economy, wherever I went, the mood was generally optimistic. Customers were excited about the prospects for their businesses and were thinking and planning ahead. But the biggest surprise for me during my travels around the globe was to hear the incredible passion that our customers have for our products and how they innovate. Here are the top three insights I learned along the way:
Be transparent with customers – We wanted to be transparent and simply share more than we had before with customers what we were doing with the next version. With that in mind, we briefed 1,200 customers on Acrobat X prior to the announcement. We involved the prerelease community, that included 3,100 participants, in the Acrobat X development process as early as possible. We kicked off the program in March 2010, starting with a small set of power users to test the early builds and provide their feedback. We asked these people to put Acrobat X through its paces, use it as if they were running their businesses on it.
Building better products starts with users – For Adobe, the prerelease program was an incredible opportunity to meet and understand our customer base first-hand. This was a great opportunity for the prerelease community to familiarize themselves with the new features and for the Acrobat team to jumpstart the feedback-soliciting process. The feedback we received from was incredibly valuable and ultimately helped us build a better product. I couldn’t have been more pleased and excited by the responses we received from our visits and the feedback from the prerelease program. People are passionate about Acrobat and how they use it. Every day, people are using Acrobat to make their businesses run better.
Quality vs. quantity in features – The new focused features we introduced in Acrobat X hit many of the pain points we uncovered during the months leading up to launch – better SharePoint integration; a smoother, leaner user interface; simpler content reuse; improved security to name a few. The new ActionsWizard, which simplifies multistep document preparation and publishing processes, was a big improvement because it let users automate frequently used Acrobat functions which reduces training and makes collaboration easier.
Looking ahead, how we work is changing and the technology to work differently needs to be available. Services will play a bigger role in bringing Acrobat to more people. The customers I met were excited by the prospect of making services like Adobe SendNow and CreatePDF available on a variety of devices.
Acrobat X has raised the bar for collaboration and sharing. In the New Year, we’ll continue to reach out to customers for feedback and insight into how they use Acrobat to help run their businesses and what we can do make it better. If you’d like to be part of the prerelease program, you can sign up here. Regardless, we’re always eager to hear from you.
Mark Grilli,Director of Product Marketing, Acrobat Solutions
In case your head is spinning by the new features and capabilities in Acrobat X, we’ve just made your lives a lot easier!
Our fantastic Acrobat User Community experts have developed a series of Acrobat X Tips and Tricks videos in Adobe TV that walk you through not only the new tools, but also the cool, lesser-known capabilities that have been available since earlier Acrobat versions.
We don’t need to tell you that Acrobat isn’t just about converting to PDFs, and each video in this series discusses Acrobat’s richer capabilities like adding multimedia to PDFs, protecting your documents, creating customized “actions” and developing PDF Portfolios. For instance, our first video in the series, “Adding Rich Media to PDF Files,” shows you how to add Flash, video and sound in a PDF using the new Content panel in Acrobat X.
Whether you’re interested in creating forms, producing engaging marketing materials with PDF Portfolios and everything in between, stay tuned to @Acrobat for tweets featuring these Acrobat X Tips and Tricks videos!
…. And today’s grand prize is Acrobat X Pro! Ready? Here’s your third and final question for this week’s contest. On your mark, get set, go!
Say you have a page in a PDF file that contains a large image with a white margin around it. What’s the easiest way to remove the white margin?
Keep sending us your answers via Twitter with #AcrobatContest in your message and follow us @Acrobat for winner information, news, tips, future contests and even some Acrobat tricks. Be sure to check out the contest requirements* for eligibility. Good luck!
We also wanted to give a special shout out to the winner of the second Twitter contest this week – @jamesfritz! He was the first person to correctly answer Wednesday’s question asking the quickest way for Acrobat to detect and add fill-able fields. Ready for the answer? Click on the create button, choose “create PDF form” and simply follow the wizard instructions.
* Please note that you can only win an @Acrobat Twitter contest (aka Tweetaway) once every six months. Valid for US residents only.
By this time, let’s assume that you’ve already gone to see what all the fuss is about over Adobe CreatePDF. (What’s that? You haven’t seen it yet? You rascal! Read no further and hustle over to check out CreatePDF now!)
And then come back and read this blog post from Rebecca Staley, Acrobat.com Community Manager, who provides insight on all the nifty new features and uses for CreatePDF. So throw that traditional stapler away!
Even if you still haven’t seen the works over at CreatePDF, you can probably guess that the service is primarily for – well, creating PDF files. CreatePDF can certainly do that, and can do it well, if we do say so ourselves. Did you know, however, that there’s more? Read the full blog post here.
Congratulations to the winner of the first Twitter contest this week – @adsnell! You were the first person to correctly answer Monday’s question about the fastest way to remove sensitive information (like all Social Security Numbers) from a PDF file. And what was the winning answer you ask? Search and redact using a template!
Now onto round two. Remember to submit your answer through Twitter by including the hash tag in your response, #AcrobatContest, to be eligible. You can also follow our Twitter handle @Acrobat to get the latest contest announcements and details. Today’s prize for the first correct tweet is a free year subscription to SendNow, Adobe’s new document exchange service! Just in time for all your end of the year files, photo collages and large projects.
Ready? Here’s the second question:
You have a PDF form open in Acrobat, but none of the fields are fill-able. What’s the quickest way for Acrobat to detect and add fill-able fields for you?
Keep those great answers coming via Twitter, and be sure to check back in on Friday (Dec. 17) for our final contest of the week. Good luck!
We’ve shared some great resources here to get you started with Acrobat X, and now it’s time to put what you’ve learned to the test! We’re kicking off a series of Twitter contests this week to test what you know about Acrobat X against questions put together by our very own product team. Turn the week of December 13 into your lucky week!
Every other day this week, we’ll post a question at @Acrobat about features and tools available in Acrobat X, and the first person to answer each question correctly via Twitter wins a prize. Our first prize for the winner will be a gift bag of Acrobat X and Adobe goodies.
Be sure to tag your response with the hash tag, #AcrobatContest, to be eligible, and follow our Twitter handle @Acrobat to get the latest contest announcements and details.
Ready? Here’s your first question:
What’s the fastest way to remove sensitive information (like all Social Security Numbers) from a PDF file?
Stay tuned on Wednesday (Dec. 15) and Friday (Dec. 17) for the next questions. Good luck!