Upgraded. Deflated.

January 21, 2011

What a let-down :(
Sure signs that I’m getting older, number 37 in a series: software upgrades no longer excite me.

Photoshop has helped to mould the design industry we know today. I’ve been around long enough to remember life before Photoshop, and it seems like a very long time ago. Designers coming into the industry in recent years have known nothing else and, like me, they have no viable alternative. We’re stuck with the application as an industry standard for better or for worse. It has even become a verb, a confirmation that it dominates its market; think Hoover, Xerox etc.

But its ability to surprise diminishes with each successive version. The video demonstrating CS5’s new Smart Fill feature conveniently created a buzz in the lead up to the launch of the CS5 suite, drawing gasps of amazement from designers worldwide. As ever with these things the reality was not quite as amazing in practice and the need for it in day-to-day projects is minimal.

Software marketing promises a false dawn. Design challenges remain design challenges; no amount of new features will replace or enhance the ability to interpret client requirements. Improvement and change comes only with experience.

If upgraded software makes you more productive, then it’s worth the price of admission. However, if it makes you a better designer, you’re doing it wrong.

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    Designing the Middle is the personal blog of Rick Monro, a UX designer & consultant in Belfast, Northern Ireland

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