July 30, 2008

Photoshop.next UI hints on CNET

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you’ve heard me talk ad nauseam about the need to better manage Photoshop’s complexity.  We need to give you the power to make the app “everything you want, nothing you don’t.”  Last week Stephen Shankland from CNET asked what kind of progress we’re making, especially in the context of the more task-based interface of Ligthroom.  I disclosed some details that appear in his article:

 

Adobe is taking a page from the Lightroom specialization playbook for Photoshop by trying to make it more customizable to specific users and tasks. But in contrast with Lightroom, company is trying to do so without sacrificing the software’s general-purpose nature, said John Nack, [principal] product manager for Photoshop.

 

“We want to make it possible to be everything you want and nothing you don’t,” Nack said. “One of the tough things has been dealing with the enormous breadth of Photoshop. We end up presenting same interface to architects as we do to Web designers as radiologists as prepress folks.”

 

To achieve that goal, Photoshop’s interface will become more open-ended and even programmable, he said.

 

“You’ll see some of the things we’ve learned about Lightroom–making things browsable and less modal–come into Photoshop,” Nack said. In other words, it’ll be easier to shift Photoshop from one task to another.

 

With a “Configurator” application that should be released by Adobe Labs within a month or two of release the next version of Photoshop, Adobe will let users create and share their own Photoshop control panels written in Adobe’s Flash programming language, Nack added. “Our goal is to make it possible for expert users to reconfigure the environment on a task-by-task basis and share those workspaces with other people. You don’t have to write code. You can knock together an interface and make it sharable.”

 

As I’ve written previously, using Flash in the Suite isn’t about slathering the UI in a bunch of blinky banner ads; rather, it’s about giving people an easy way to connect, tune, & extend their work environments.  The AIR-based Configurator app is just one way to build these UI elements–one that lets you Lego-together functionality without writing code, then easily share the output.  The tool isn’t ready to take a bow yet, but it’s coming along really nicely & I’m looking forward to showing what it can do.

 

[Related/previous: Future Photoshop UI changes]

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