I watched the Adobe Max keynote session yesterday. Adobe’s big initiative seems to be pushing as much stuff to the cloud as possible to facilitate collaboration with teams. The online versions of these applications would mostly be for other members of the team to make fixes, changes, offer suggestions, etc.
In other words, Adobe thinks that groupthink and design by committee over the internet is the future of design. Their hyped-up happy talk examples showed designers being given input from other super-enthusiastic team members who would change background colors, switch typefaces, flop images, scribble on the design with change requests, etc. Everyone on the team would comment with written in-the-cloud replies, such as “Great Job, but make it pink.” and “Yeah, that really pops! We all love it!”
Although I can see some use for this in collaborative teams — especially those working remotely — I do not need non-design team members and clients scribbling on my work, changing typefaces, rotating images, and changing my color schemes. The very last thing I need is to provide clients with the ability to start monkeying around with the work I’m doing for them.
I’ve been on teams for years that used inCopy with InDesign, and although it worked, people were constantly stumbling over each other and making messes of things. Adobe seems to have taken this basic idea and extended it to their other apps in what seems like a convoluted, complicated, and confusing collaboration of everyone commenting on and changing whatever the team designers create.
Adobe’s existing collaborative tools that they’ve already built into some of their apps, such as the ability to share PDFs within the confines of the Adobe system, haven’t been especially useful to me. When I’ve tried using them, I get nothing but confused replies from clients asking me to send PDFs via email or DropBox or whatever other file transfer method they’re used to.
I suppose in some situations, with the right tightly knit teams, this collaborative approach could be useful. I can’t see myself having much use for it, though.