The New Adobe CS3 User Interface

Now that I have installed the new CS3 Design Premium release version and have actually spent some time working with the new applications, I’m starting to understand the fuss a lot of people made and are still making over the new Adobe user interface. Although I was a beta tester, I’ve mainly been using Fireworks and Dreamweaver CS3 because those are the apps I needed to use to work on my current projects. As you probably know by now, neither Fireworks nor Dreamweaver have been updated to the new Adobe UI.

Illustrator UII’ve been working on a new logo for my business site which will be used to perform a sort of rebranding of my business (both online and print collateral. I’d started the work in Illustrator CS2 and moved to CS3 last week to continue. In the included image, you can see the Illustrator interface with the latest revision of the logo in a landscape letter sized page at 100%.

In that image you’ll probably first notice that the main toolbox is now 1 tall column which saves precious horizontal screen real estate. I have it floating over the artboard as this is my preference but it comes docked to the left by default. On the right you’ll see a number of panels reduced to icons and labels which saves a lot of space and lets you concentrate on the work you’re doing. To the right of that you see the Layers and other panels in their “normal” openend stated like you are used to and, on my machine they are actually on my second monitor even if you see them in the same image as the main interface here.

To be honest, at first I was really sceptical about this new UI and, like many others,  I was worried that it would “break” the Macromedia UI which I generally found more efficient and elegant than the old Adobe UI. But as I use it more and more, what I’ve come to realize is that this new UI actually keeps what was best in both the old Macromedia and Adobe approaches. It is more flexible than the old MM style and solves the proliferation of countless screen space guzzling palettes in the old Adobe UIs. It looks very polished too but, more importantly, it works very well even if it does require some getting used to for an old Macromedia user like me. Even those who have been using previous versions of Adobe applications (also like me) will probably need a little time to find their bearings within the new UI.

To me, this new UI is a marvel of sophistication, elegance and efficiency and I am now somewhat disapointed that Fireworks and Dreamweaver will have to wait until CS4 o get the same interface. Lastly, I have to give the InDesign development team huge kudos for going the extra mile and adding even more sophistication to the concept by letting users add and delete items in the main menus as well as color code items that are used often so they are easier to spot. As I spend more and more time in ID to design the layout of my interactive PDF tutorials, I can appreciate all the extra effort they put in making ID one of the most sophisticated pieces of software I ever tried.

2 thoughts on “The New Adobe CS3 User Interface”

  1. I so agree. It’s good to hear someone else who likes the new UI as much as I do. I hear so much negative feedback from users about it, and I really can’t see where they’re comming from. I think it’s amazing. The more I use it the more I love it.

  2. I don’t understand the negative feedback either. I guess people really get set in their ways. After using those apps in CS3 with the new interface for a few more weekes, I love it even more now and I can’t wait for Fireworks to have its interface changed as well. At least the Macromedia interface had already made a great leap towards the same elegance by eleminating the proliferation of panels a few years ago. I’m happy that it was the inspiration for CS3’s interface and that Adobe chose to use the best of both worlds then improve on it…


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