Design insights & tutorials.

Adobe Users: Let Your Voice Be Heard

adobe-feature-request-webpage

Adobe. Some love, some hate. But it goes without saying that Photoshop and the rest of Adobe’s software catalog is industry standard. There’s a good chance most designers have at least had to use some flavor of the Creative Suite, even if you primarily use other software.

I was never much of a Macromedia user, but I heard much consternation in the design world when Adobe bought out Macromedia. Turns out there were legions of Freehand users who were staving off the switch to Adobe Illustrator as long as possible. Seems there were plenty of excellent features in Freehand that have yet to be ported over to Illustrator. And perhaps never will. I also discovered that some of the so-called missing features were actually just a case of mistaken identity. Either named differently, under a different menu, or located in a palette or a palette sub-menu.

As someone who is always looking for a better mousetrap, I regularly demo as much graphics software as I can. Not only might I find a better tool, but sometimes one finds tools and concepts that might have never crossed your mind—things you use once and never want to go without.

Having used both a ‘free rotate’ tool as well as a keyboard shortcut for brush resizing in another graphics software tool (Alias Sketchbook) I wanted to see these included in the next version of Photoshop. I was using CS3 at the time. To my surprise, when eagerly drooling over the feature list for Photoshop CS4 I saw both of these features included. I can’t say with any certainty that my voice was heard by Adobe. And no, I do not have any insider connections to fast track these types of things (I wish!). But I did do something that every Adobe user out there should be doing on a regular basis: I submitted a feature request.

I do this constantly, along with submitting bug reports. I have the URL bookmarked in my browser so I can go there directly when the bug or idea pops up. I started doing this after browsing the official Adobe user forums a few years back. One of the Adobe gurus mentioned on an unrelated thread that Adobe may monitor the forums, but bug reports and feature requests must be submitted via the official Adobe feedback form to get into the Adobe system.

Every single bug report I have filed has been followed up personally by an Adobe bug report team member. It hasn’t always been quick, but they have all been followed up, and once they do contact you the conversations via email progress quite quickly. Feature requests I have never received a reply from, but as mentioned above I have seen features which I have requested added to future versions of the software.

Here’s the interesting part: Adobe does listen. And the more feedback they get, the more likely they are to take heed. A short while back an ‘Adobe gripes’ website came out (Dear Adobe) which got a little buzz, and also got Adobe’s ear. What’s interesting to me is that users will take the time to post to a gripe site, or blog about how much Illustrator sucks because it’s missing feature X from FreeHand, or post to Twitter about something that’s broken. The same amount of energy required to do this would much more effectively be used telling Adobe directly on their feedback form.

I’m sure there are a lot of factors, including not even being aware of the feedback form or the feeling that nobody is really listening at the other end. I can’t speak from experience about the feedback despite seeing the features I requested included in Photoshop CS4, but I can confirm that Adobe does follow up on bugs and the team is actively interested in hearing about them and fixing those issues.

So I am asking our readers to do the same. Bookmark that feedback form. Use it. Submit bugs, ask for new features. Let Adobe know, get what you want. Use your blog, your tweets, your forums to gripe—but also urge others to take action and send feedback to Adobe. They have a way for us to do this; let’s use it.

I’m also thinking that the Go Media reader community might be a great place to organize some mass feature requests. Keep an eye out in the near future for some polls where we can find some top issues we communally want to see added to Adobe software, and work as a whole to requests these features. Until then, do your part and tell Adobe what you’re thinking. They want to know.

About the Author, George Coghill

George Coghill isa freelance humorous illustrator/cartoonist specializing in mascot cartoon character design & cartoon logos. His cartooning & illustration work can be seen at CoghillCartooning.com and at his cartooning and illustration blog. Be sure to follow me on Twitter here!
Discover More by George Coghill

Discussion

We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • http://blogs.adobe.com/jd John Dowdell

    Thanks, George… appreciated. Different product teams do trawl the net looking for feedback, but routing requests directly to the appropriate team makes sure these requests go right to the exact people who can make a difference.

    (Feature requests have a lifecycle related to that of development cycles… generally, requests made soon after a major release catch the team when they have the most opportunity to prioritize new feature work.)

    tx, jd/adobe

  • toddkopriva

    Yes, thanks, George.

    I just posted a link to this great reminder on my blog:

    http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2009/08/feat

  • http://www.gomedia.us jeff_finley

    Yeah good idea George, a mass feature request will be very motivating!

  • http://www.thegraphicmac.com JimD

    Excellent post George!

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Thanks for the vote of support, and also for the scoop on timing of feature requests—good to know.

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Thanks James!

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    Great post, mass feature requests would be really nice

  • jglovier

    AMEN! I've submitted several feature requests – don't know what's in the works but how can anyone complain without having at least spoke up!

    (my biggest urk right now is Illustrators palettes! Maybe I just don't get them, but I wish there was a better global palette system in place like Photoshop has. I HATE having to open past .AI docs just to get colors I want to work with!…I'm going to tell them this right now…)

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Interesting idea. I kind of like having my palettes be specific to the .ai file, but perhaps an additional palette that is global might be nice to have.

    You do know you can import swatches from other .ai files as their own palettes, right? Go to the fly-out menu on the Swatches palette, choose “Other library…” then navigate to the file whose color swatches you want to use/import. It'll show up as it's own unique swatch palette, and remain across all files.

    Alternatively, you can edit the default .ai document that gets created for new documents and customize lots of settings, panel/palette items to your prefs.

  • tphinsf

    You might want to check out this post on the Inside AI blog — you can save a custom startup profile with just the color swatches you want:

    http://blogs.adobe.com/infiniteresolution/2009/

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Thanks for posting that link, exactly what I was referring to.

  • sigurarm

    Good post. You are such a positive guy :D

    Few years ago I made a wish at the Adobe forum. I said I wanted a vector brush back into Illustrator, the kind that used to be and with the qualities that a such brush has in FontLab, were you can endlessly add to to the previous form.

    One of the moderators replied back and asked me to describe in more detail what I was referring to. I was of course very pleased to see such an eraser in the next version of Illustrator and a vector brush in the version there after.

    Maybe the were working on it anyway and were just checking if the knowledge had leaked. But it was obvious all the same that they were and are reading what the users are saying.

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    As Adobe's John Dowdell mentioned above, the Adobe teams also scour the net (and I assume the forums) for ideas & bugs, but seems the most direct way to ensure the Adobe team sees them is to use the Feedback form.

    And glad you requested that feature, I love the Eraser and Blob Brush tools in certain circumstances. Much more than when I read about them, they seemed superfluous at the time but I have found them very handy in certain circumstances.

  • jglovier

    Thanks very much for the tip!

  • mark

    How about a mass request to upgrade less frequently. It seems more profit-motive-driven than actual addition of missing features, or dramatic improvements of the software. Fire a few programmers if you can't afford them, and don't work on a 'must release upgrades and get more loot” schedule.

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Based on Photoshop (since the Creative Suite is fairly recent), the release schedule has pretty much been every 18 months since the beginning: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Photoshop_re

    Since there is rarely a situation where one is required to upgrade, I am fine with them keeping things updated.

  • Pingback: Adobe Illustrator Feature Requests: Round 1 | GoMediaZine

  • Dan

    Excellent job..
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  • http://twitter.com/rubyaf nancy

    I think that only refers to Adobe's website and not their software. What comes up when I click your reference – brings me to a page that actually lists this website as having a problem and a suggestion on how to improve that page…..not really what I think you were looking for…
    Report forms

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Which link are you referring to? The ones in the post take me to the Bug Report/Feature Request page at Adobe.com.

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  • http://www.orjinkrem.net orjin krem

    Great post on GoMediaZone on using Adobe’s feature request form. Yes, the product teams DO consider your requests.

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