Reflections on the Photoshop CS6 beta
As a quality engineer here at Adobe it is the team’s number one priority to deliver a high quality product. Why? You, our customers, our fans…demand and deserve it.
We remain focused on the customer in every meeting, every brainstorming and planning session. What are we solving for? What is the customer impact? What will our customers expect? What do they need to improve their workflows? How can we better help our users be more creative and productive?
With Photoshop CS6 now shipping, I wanted to give you a glimpse behind the scenes of what it took to deliver Photoshop CS6 and the hugely successful Photoshop CS6 beta. It was an absolute thrill to be able to get a beta into our customer’s hands – over one million of you that took the time to download and explore the beta for yourself!
Some Fun Facts About Photoshop CS6
- Photoshop CS6 was code named Superstition because it was the 13th version of the product.
- We fueled the team with 312 cases of beer over the two years it took to create Photoshop CS6. (I lost track of the amount of other spirits consumed…)
- We produced 9 babies. (A record!) You can find them listed under “production babies” in the “about” screen. (If you visit us on the 10th floor of Adobe HQ, think twice before drinking the water!)
- Because everyone checked in their features on time, Seetha Narayanan proclaimed the last few months of Photoshop CS6 development to be “the most boring end game ever!”
- During the CS6 shipping celebration, the San Francisco Fire Department was called twice. (So, we burnt a little toast during the cooking competition!)
The Photoshop CS6 beta
Just as we pour over details of building a feature, our goal is to make certain you have a consistent, smooth and well-tested experience and this is precisely the benefit of a beta.
We knew Photoshop CS6 was shaping up to be one of our best releases to date. And for only the second time ever (Photoshop CS3 was our first public beta), we decided to share all that Photoshop CS6 contained before ship – from GPU technical innovations, keen focus on improved UI, productivity and stability enhancements and of course some Photoshop “magic,” to name just a few. Every feature of Photoshop was used at least once during the beta, and most of them were used many, many times. Here are the top ten features used during the beta:
Preparing the beta for Prime Time
As we prepared for the beta, we tracked every single detail to ensure consistency and accuracy and the best experience for you when you went to download the beta and learn to use the new features. (Yes, really: We are very picky.) We pre-populated the beta forums with FAQs, checked, double-checked and re-checked everything on the staging server before pushing the beta live.
We place a high importance on interacting with our customers and the beta was no exception. Once the beta went live, we had team members assigned exclusively to be on the front lines monitoring the Photoshop CS6 beta forum – with the rest of the team participating where needed and focusing on finishing up CS6.
At the end of the beta, we racked up over 8,963 total forum posts on 1,690 threads alone. Your suggestions and input were invaluable allowing us to tighten up our product and documentation to ensure customers would be successful by the time CS6 launched.
Thanks to our over 4 million Facebook fans and all who contributed to our Photoshop CS6 beta, which exceeded our wildest expectations: hitting 500,000 beta downloads in less than one week after launch. I was actively tracking our beta download count and constantly checking the server stats to try to predict when we would we hit one million. Sure enough, we saw over 1,086,187 downloads and page views totaled well beyond 4 million.
We are grateful to you for your Photoshop beta participation. Your keen feedback helped to not only shape CS6, but has primed the pump for future releases.