I hate Photoshop’s user interface

I have been thinking about buying a copy of Photoshop CS to use on my digital photos. So, some time ago I downloaded a demo version and decided to experiment with it a little bit before making my decision.

I have used the demo to edit and fix some photos. After some experience with it, all I can say is that I am dazzled by its features and power, but I hate its user interface. Why is it so unresponsive? Let me explain.

I am not using a very fast computer, and I imagine that you are supposed to use a top-notch machine if you buy Photoshop. However, my complains are not about the overall speed but of how the user interface works. For example: any operation that you request via a menu command or a button click will block the whole application. Haven’t these guys at Adobe heard of multithreading? Corel got it right here. Saving a file is a perfect candidate for multithreading: when you click Save, the app spawns a new thread that saves the file, as Word or Corel PhotoPAINT would do, and let the user meanwhile continue with other things. Photoshop chooses to amuse you with the progress bar while it display the nasty hourglass…

Some hard-core data: when minimised and no files open, Photoshop’s CPU load (as reported by SysInternals Process Explorer) oscillates between 8 and 12. Word, as a comparison, oscillates between 0 and 2 when minimised and with no open files. What is Photoshop doing?

Another little issue. When you are editing a JPEG file and click on Save, the JPEG Options dialog box pops up. First, the caption and window borders appear, and then the contents of the dialog box become visible. This takes, on my laptop, an average of 3.1 seconds. You could imagine that the data displayed on this dialog is obtained through complex computations; well, it doesn’t. The dialog just shows four drop-down lists, a textbox and a group of radio buttons with fixed content. Why does this dialog need 3.1 seconds to appear on screen every time? It does not get better after you repeat the same action a few times.

More things. Many menu commands have an associated keyboard shortcut, such as Ctrl+O for File/Open or Ctrl+L for Image/Adjustments/Levels. They don’t work. Nothing happens when I hit Ctrl+O. I’ve tried re-assigning the keyboard shortcuts but nothing changes.

I don’t think I will buy Photoshop. It is powerful and packed with features, but I need something that does not get in my way as Photoshop does.

Oh, well…


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