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ADE: A bad evolution of the 21st century library

Community Beginner ,
Aug 17, 2021 Aug 17, 2021

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I was Adobe's first user of Acrobat in Chicagoland, while it was provisionally named Carousel. I am known in the font world (I almost went to work for Sumner Stone), books on demand, and e-books. I designed Adobe's most-downloaded e-book. My doctorate is in design, with emphasis on interactivity.

 

I've been using Adobe Digital Editions for years. It is probably one of the worst user experiences I have on my computer today. It's slow to open files; paging using the scroll wheel or thumb (by far the most important interaction!) is fatally flawed (one full revolution advances about six text lines); zooming and panning are similarly intractable. (Compare Mendeley's use of PDFNet -- much smoother.) The main advantages seem to redound to Adobe and publishers, not to users. I don't know what else to say except that in many ways it's a level worse than what Acrobat Reader has evolved into. Acrobat itself is similarly focused on amenities that protect the upstream actor but at the same time deeply impact overall usability for the lower-level user, with almost every mouse move or keystroke they make. This trade-off is unspeakably unfair. And there is no adequate feedback loop (for example, this little echo-chamber we have here is a perhaps deliberately inadequate solution).

 

It's the 21st century. Adobe, with its quasi-monopoly, has successfully supplanted the brick-and-mortar library. Why should we ever have to put up with this garbage?! Just because Adobe spends a good chunk of its capital on an army of paid and nonpaid boosters to burnish its image? Though millions are compelled to use this, this is not world-class work and it never was!

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