PODCAST: Will people use Adobe Photoshop on an iPad?

Estimated read time: 9 minutes

I’m not much of a Photoshop user but know many of you are and certainly many of my projects wouldn’t get done without somebody using Photoshop.

So the news that Adobe would roll out Photoshop on iPad was interesting to me.

Will people use it? I for once don’t even have an iPad. Also: A minority of mobile traffic to this site comes from tablets. Most are phones.

But nonetheless, it’s interesting and I talked with Lindi Wheaton, of The Pixel, and who uses Photoshop to discuss the topic. You can listen below. Can’t listen? Keep scrolling for the transcript.


Christoph: Hi Everyone, Christoph Trappe here, The Authentic Storytelling project and I’m joined by Lindi Wheaton. She’s the owner at The Pixel.

Lindi: Hi. Thanks, guys, for having me.

Christoph: So we actually want to talk about Adobe rolling out Adobe Photoshop for your iPad. A very interesting topic. Did a little bit of a Twitter poll on my Twitter account. I should mention I’ve had a relationship with Adobe before. This is not a sponsored podcast or anything like that.

We’re going to talk about that a little bit to see if people will actually use it. But first, The Pixel. That’s a really cool name for a company. How did, how did that come about?

Lindi: Well, about 10 years ago, I started The Pixel right out of college and I really focused on what is the foundation of the web, a web design. The foundation of anything is a pixel. So from that, then I was able to do the web design, digital marketing, and I’ve just build upon it. So instead of just having, you know, Wheaton.com or LindiWheaton.com, I wanted a business name. More people could be part of it, and it’s just a foundation.

Christoph: Very creative, the-pixel.com is where you can check it out. So let’s talk about Photoshop. I am not the person in charge here on how to use Photoshop. Haven’t used Photoshop in a long time, but interestingly, I also haven’t used an iPad in a really long time. So really quickly we’ll embed the Twitter poll, probably with the blog post here, but 45 percent said that they totally would use Photoshop on their iPad, 27 percent said nope, and 28 percent, if they read the answer correctly, they don’t even have an iPad, and I actually fall into that category.

I have an iPad, but only my four year old uses it to watch slime videos from YouTube.

What’s your opinion? Will people use Adobe Photoshop on the iPad, or would you?

Lindi: I could see it being beneficial if you’re in a meeting or you needed to change mock-ups on the fly just for the conversation and then to have that stuff in an easy digital format, then you can take it and use, but to make wireframes that are really detailed graphics. I don’t think so.

The computer will always trump that. The flexibility, the scalability, the computer has versus an iPad is huge, so I don’t know how they’re going to be able to incorporate it. They might keep things like the layers clearly because that’s Photoshop, the blending options, the topography, but you won’t be able to have smart objects. You might not be able to save to the web. That’s a huge thing for web designers like myself. How do we save to the web on an iPad? You can’t. So, it’s just going to be used for meetings, which is great, but that’s the limitations.

Christoph: Why can’t you save to the web?

Lindi: On your iPad? Well then you’ll need to upload it or send it via email. I just think that would be harder versus a mouse. We know how to export, you know, the DPI, you know, what you’re saving it to. With the iPad, I could just, I don’t think it could be seamless.

Christoph: It doesn’t sound very easy to me, but of course I’m not the person using Photoshop, like ever.

So is this similar? So let me put it this way. I’ve written two books, and I basically wrote those books on my phone. So right now I’m sitting here, the phone in my face and I’m talking to the recorder, and I voice dictate the posts directly into the WordPress app. Sometimes I thumb them in so 900 words in an hour is doable, and when I say that to people, they say, “That’s crazy. I need to be sitting in front of a computer to be writing.”

Do you think it’s going to evolve like that? That it’s going to become easier, or not?

Lindi: Mmm, maybe, but there are still going to be some restrictions. I think you’re still going to be able to make the box on your phone for, like, a wireframe, but when it comes to adding all the graphics and nice pictures, if you want that gradient or the drop shadows, it’s going to be limited. I don’t know how they’re going to get around that usability of it, using a stylus maybe, but the right click. I know Apple doesn’t have that now, but what’s the iPad going to do to the home button? Is that going to be the right click? How is that actually going to work?

Well, your iPad has to have like a keyboard then with it, because I use my keyboard a lot. You know to copy/paste, you hold shift down to move layers. I just don’t think it’s going to be a good user experience for the designer. It’ll be nice for meetings and to get the quick wireframes out there. We kind of have a concept and then go back to the PC and build it.

Christoph: And of course writing something, even if it’s voice dictated – a lot fewer things there that I have to do than designing something.

Lindi: Yes, absolutely. Like designing. We have a lot of thought. We had to think about not just how it’s going to look on your phone or the PC, but what’s that user experience going to be like? There’s so much that goes into it and just also someone that has a really big iPad, or iMac monitor, the iPad is going to be restricted on that. Just the screen size. I don’t like just working in this little tiny area. I want my big Mac. I want to move things around and then I can actually story tell a lot better through my design when I can see everything a lot more so I understand the iPad and the app, but I think it’s only going to be used for like meetings and only be efficient for meetings.

Christoph: And so I do I bring my computer to meetings all the time. My laptop. Do designers bring their computers to meetings yet?

Lindi: No, I don’t have a laptop. Usually, they might, but I think it’s also a distraction, too. You need to be in that moment. You need to understand what, what the project even is, who is our audience? Everything that a client said is going to be dumped on you, so you need to make notes and sometimes having just a little notification on your computer takes you away for a couple seconds, and then you’re like, oh, what was I thinking? What was I doing? It’s critical. You might only have 30 minutes to show the whole dump on a project. That’s really good, 30 minutes, don’t let it be taken away with a little popup on your laptop.

Christoph: That’s actually one reasons why sometimes I just go with paper to meetings because the notifications, it’s crazy. So we did ask Adobe if this is also coming out on the iPhone, I didn’t hear back but, but it’s probably the next step.

Lindi: It probably will be, but I just see that as being like wire frames, like just drawing a box with your finger. Like here we go, here’s a dropdown menu, here’s the text, it’s going to say menu over it, but there’s really no, like, graphical style that goes behind it. They maybe you can change it to red, but I doubt you can have a gradient on it or maybe have a pattern or have a drop shadow or have any cool things. It’s just going to be very basic. Very like, like, two dimensional.

Christoph: Yeah. So we’re not quite on board yet. We’ll see what happens. We’ll, we’ll see how it evolves. Do you … I was at the Adobe Summit the last couple of years. The last one, they were talking about voice commands. So in theory, I could sit here and say, “Add a drop shadow, blah blah blah,” you know, whatever. I don’t know. You know, you could say voice commands and it would do it for you. Do you think that would ever be at a level where it can actually be used?

Lindi: Boy, wouldn’t it be, like, distracting to people that you’re sitting by, too? Like, “Sorry to distract you.”

Lindi: I sit next to people. I’m like, “Oh, drop shadow out here.” “What are you talking about?” “Like, I’m just telling my Adobe what to do, don’t mind me.”

Christoph: That was actually, that was the biggest thing that people were saying when they were talking about that, and it’s totally in its infancy, but they said, so open office design, right? And of course, now and then you hear somebody else, they’re talking over you, computers, 10 designers add drop shadow at once.

Lindi: Maybe we shouldn’t do that. But it’s really a neat concept how voice recognition can do all that. I don’t know yet. But maybe, but yeah, it’s going to affect a lot of computers.

Christoph: So we will see what happens. That’s Lindi Wheaton’s opinion and mine to an extent. The-pixel.com. Check her out over there. A great blog on usability things and other website-related topics. Thanks for joining us.

Lindi: Thanks, guys.