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Video: Dear Adobe, Your Mobile Apps Are a Mess


User interface designer Brad Colbow has sparked a conversation about Adobe’s mobile app lineup with the 5-minute video critique above. It’s titled “Dear Adobe, Your Mobile Apps Are a Mess.”

Colbow says he finally got around to exploring a new workflow with Adobe apps after purchasing a new iPad Pro. However, it was hard to find exactly what he needed because Adobe currently lists 31 different mobile apps for all kinds of different things.

“There are 4 apps with the word Photoshop in them, but none of them look like the Photoshop I know and love,” Colbow writes over at Medium. “You need photo editing? There are 3 apps for that: Adobe Photoshop Fix, Adobe Photoshop Mix and Adobe Photoshop Express.”


“These iPad apps don’t feel professional. They feel like big experiments, big ideas,” says Colbow. “It’s now 2015. It’s time to take iOS seriously as a pro tool and do what you do best. Don’t give us 30 apps that each do one thing. Give us one app that does 30 things. We don’t need you to be Instagram. We need you to be Adobe.”

“I understand if I can’t use full blown Photoshop on my iPad Pro. I don’t think I need full blown Photoshop. But at least meet me halfway there.”

Colbow’s video and article were noticed by Adobe. Scott Belsky, the founder of Behance (acquired by Adobe) and Adobe VP of Products and Community, left a lengthy response in the comments.

Belsky explains that the app lineup page on Adobe’s website is “sorely outdated” and will be fixed, and that it includes business apps outside of the “creative suite.” He also explains that Adobe has been working for years on “deep-linked” compatibility that helps you sync content between desktop and mobile apps.


But Belsky does agree with much of Colbow’s feedback and criticism.

“Your feedback makes one thing really clear: our external story is not clear enough — and customers will struggle to engage with the modern apps and workflows we have created if we can’t help them navigate the apps that matter to them,” writes Belsky. “Our team wants to do a better job of this.”

“No doubt, we’ve got a long way to go,” he says. “We need to clean up the old apps from an era where creativity was limited to a single app and saved to your camera roll. We need to better organize and merchandise the new apps. And we need to support even more mobile workflows that would typically take you more time (and more training) to complete on desktop.”

“Thanks for the feedback, and for inspiring us to make more progress to enable the future of mobile creativity.”