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Adobe Photoshop’s quick actions for creatives

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s never heard of Adobe Photoshop. 

The powerful graphics editing software has become enormously popular with creatives in every field imaginable—and its popularity is due in large part to its massive library of features for image enhancement and editing. 

The problem with having so many features? They can overwhelm or confuse new users unfamiliar with the product’s interface and capabilities. 

That’s why Adobe tackles this issue head-on with its hands-on tutorials. 

From the start, users open the Photoshop app and are greeted with a modal window that highlights several interactive guides that teach new skills in five minutes or less.

The highlighted features aren’t just chosen at random. Adobe curates the most helpful tutorials from its own employees and community members. The company also prioritizes the tutorials that achieved the highest completion rates amongst these audiences for inclusion in its welcome modal window. 

Note the golden present icon in the top right portion of the image modal window pictured above. This icon leads curious users to an extensive list of other helpful tutorials.

Ultimately, this curiosity is what Adobe’s onboarding experience is all about.

 “One thing I’ve learned across the board is that people just like to explore,” says Deepti Pradeep, group manager of Growth Product Management at Adobe. “If you suggest it for them, it’s less successful. If you point them to the right place for them to explore, they do a lot more from there.”

Pradeep argues there’s a hallowed middle ground between intensively hands-on product tours and more casual experiences that allow users to go at their own pace. 

“It’s about finding the balance between pointing users to the right sets of actions but giving them the pleasure of exploration,” she suggests. 

In the case of Photoshop, whose core user demographic is made up by professional creatives, it’s often best to just let users explore and play with tools on their own. 

This learn-by-doing approach shows up in the welcome modal window in the form of the “Quick actions” option. The feature allows users to perform certain editing tasks and apply unique effects with a single click. New users learn essential functions while doing them instead of watching a video. More advanced users may find these helpful, or they can skip ahead to more advanced Quick actions that apply to their current interests and needs.

What makes this #GoodUX:

  • Adobe built a user onboarding experience that keeps its target Photoshop audience in mind with its “learn by doing” approach.
  • The company provides just enough in the way of guide rails to suggest tutorials for the features its existing user base have highlighted as the most important or popular.