January 15, 2006

This is how we hypnotize you…

Names to memorize, names hypnotize, names to make your mouth ex-er-cise…

At last, the secret of Photoshop’s staying power can be revealed: it’s the hypnotic power of those interesting names on the splash screen as the app boots up. Seetharaman Narayanan, Seetharaman Narayanan… Just his name alone has inspired all kinds of madness. I remember on my first visit to Adobe walking past offices and thinking, “I’lam Mougy… Grace Ge… why do I know these names?,” not realizing the extent to which the splash screens had bored into my brain. One look & you’re hooked. [Of course, customers’ names can hypnotize right back: my wife is transfixed by “Martin Evening.”]

The practice of listing team members’ names on the splash screen goes way back, but in recent years it’s fallen on hard times. Officially, the names just don’t fit anymore, as modern apps rely on armies of engineers, QE’s, researchers, designers, translators, and (yes) us marketing schmoes, among many others. But it’s a bit deadening, I think, not to see the connection to real folks. Photoshop has defied the trend, adding randomization so that everyone’s name can be listed at least some of the time. And I smiled seeing that Lightroom proudly lists its crew at launch.

Without pulling the curtain too far back (Jeff Schewe’s penchant for posting photos of well-known engineers in Speedos notwithstanding), I’m all for helping connect names and faces to the tools they create. I hope this blog helps in that effort, as have Jeff’s stories about Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom development. Similarly, the Flash team’s making of Flash 8 video gives insight into their process, and the app itself even includes pictures of the team. Let’s keep this trend alive.

10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]
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