I am past the point of getting excited about Adobe CS5, though they are doing their darndest to get me that way. Yes, there are cool features being added in. No, I will likely never use them with any regularity. It’s the things I do use regularly (the snowflake upon the tip of the iceberg touched on in today’s strip, for instance) that have been bothering me since the turn of the century that they stubbornly refuse to fix. I say “stubbornly” because when we interviewed Von Glitschka back when CS4 came out, he told us that was exactly the way they behaved in the face of his feedback. One imagines some dickhead in front of a team of young programmers stating emphatically that “we don’t need to change the way our software works, you need to change the way you work with our software.”

One imagines, anyway.

But the usability differences between similar programs have become too small and too stupid not to simply become fixed through less effort than it takes to devise a way for Photoshop to invent a photo for you. The spacing between a page and the edge of a window should be no different in Illustrator than it is in InDesign, for instance, and in InDesign it is a comfortable amount of pixels. In Illustrator it smacks up against the side like a 14-year-old at a junior high dance. When you turn on rulers, the page in the window should adjust for the encroachment upon the available space. In some programs this happens, again, comfortably. In Illustrator it does not care what you turn on or off, or how you resize the page in the window, or what zoom you are putting to it. For crying out loud, it doesn’t even recenter the window in a resized window if you have the bloody page centered in the window to begin with! Photoshop and InDesign do this. As the original family of software, there is really no excuse for this kind of shoddy craftsmanship.

I understand that Flash and Dreamweaver are their own animals and require very different interfaces to achieve the goals of each program. I get that. Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator are so similar in use and function however, that a unified approach to usability is demanded.

Adobe’s options in this matter are to either fix these problems straight out, or explain to me in a rational fashion why default rotation in Photoshop is clockwise and default rotation in Illustrator is counter-clockwise. There have pretty smart people over there. I’m sure someone has noticed by now.