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How does Adobe benefit from the free user feedback at

Adobe can use some free user feedback at without spending a penny. They might have to trudge through some ambiguous feedback, but none the less:
1) It’s a great place in addition to their own communities to get interesting feature requests.
2) It’s a good place to pick up ideas and feedback. They can then validate the case or concern within their own strong user community.

What is Dear Adobe/

Dear Adobe is a wonderful site for those users who are irked by Adobe’s products in some way or the other. Users can complain about the aspects that irritate them the most in a particular or all products and suggest improvements if they want to a well.

If a user wants to complain to Adobe and be heard by them without having to go through any hassles, Dear Adobe is the perfect tool for the task.

How can Adobe benefit from

Even before Adobe acquired Macromedia in 2005 (for $ 3.4 billion), both companies had strong online communities to engage with and obtain useful feedback about their software.

So how does Adobe benefit from Dear Adobe then, since they already have a good mechanism in place to gather user feedback from?

The difference between Adobe’s User Community and Dear Adobe

What’s different about Dear Adobe from Adobe’s official community? To start with, it’s not run by Adobe and there is no registration required if you want to participate with the community (voice your opinion in this case), like on Adobe. It’s also a place which focuses upon helping users accomplish one single goal- voicing their issue with an Adobe product in the simplest way possible- select app you’re pissed about, say it and submit it!

It wouldn’t be true to say that Adobe blogs would be just as easy to gripe about Adobe products. It’s easier for users to express feedback at Dear Adobe than at the latter. While you could reach out to the author of a product blog, I’d say many users wouldn’t, unless the author explicitly states somewhere to be contacted for product feedback (which wouldn’t really happen, I assume). Also at Adobe blogs, users would be not be very encouraged to express feedback unless they find the right blog post (that is related to the feedback they have to offer) to comment upon.

Gain Feedback from Novice and Intermediate Users

Adobe can thus benefit from Dear Adobe since it attracts users who are not interested in going through a registration process to express their feedback. It would be nice to assume that since these users don’t think the effort required to post on Adobe blogs, find and reach out to their product managers, or register on their communities, they consist of lesser power users who are highly passionate about the software, and instead consist of more novice and intermediate users. But one can’t say with certainty. If this was the case, Adobe would definitely benefit. This would give them easy access to these harder to find users in order to understand better what sort of issues do they face, and thus try and make their products offer a better user experience across user expertise levels.

Validate the Data with Users on Adobe’s own User Communities

The feedback Adobe finds useful can then be validated through surveys at their own Adobe Community. This will allow them to validate the data and understand better how much does the issue impact its users.

Adobe tunes into

Does Adobe use this information? They definitely should. In fact they do so. Here’s a blog post by John Nack, Principal Product Manager for Adobe Photoshop, who writes about the fact that Adobe is tuned in to, and another blog post by Mordy Golding, a former product manager for Adobe Illustrator, telling users how their feedback can be more constructive.

One of course, you’ll have to filter for useful feedback out of the all the information that exists at DearAdobe since there’s a lot of feedback over there which is simply fun to read because of the way it’s written- with a lot of attitude and more inclined towards bashing than always being useful. But hey, what more do you want for free?

What are your thoughts on Dear Adobe, and how Adobe can derive further value from it?

  • Thanks for the write-up! Very thoughtful piece. When we started Dear Adobe it was with the intention of being as informal as possible, hence it’s completely anonymous. Like you said, this better enables users to show their true colors. Also, we’re so glad to have Adobe working with us directly, the only goal of the site was to get some of this feedback recognized, and it seems to be working! Here’s to more and more improvements!

  • Cone Trees

    You’re welcome Adam. My pleasure. It’s a nice concept and implemented just as well. What’s interesting to see is that that over time, the website still remains clean, uncluttered and easy to use.
    Adobe working with you directly confirms the value they derive from Dear Adobe. Rock on!