A redesign of the
Adobe Exchange has been released. Thanks to all who have participated in discussions over the past many months reviewing comps, schematics, and beta versions. With this release we believe we have fixed the major inconveniences users have reported over the past months. Clearly there is more work to be done and we will continue to be in communication about where we can next take this experience.
Some release notes:
There are "empty" stars next to the existing (pre-May, 17) comments in the comments section of the item detail page. In the new version of the exchange we have the ability to show a rating next to comments in each commenters post. But since this data relationship did not exist in the prior version, all comments already in the system as of May 17, 2007 have a set of blank stars next to them (but dont worry; the rating each person submitted before is still in the system and goes into the current aggregate rating of the exchange item). In other words, no data is lost. We have just created a way to display ratings attached to comments for all subsequent comments.
Authors/contributors are listed in
orange We did this to raise the visibility of contributors. Whenever you see an authors name, if you click it you will go to a page of exchange items uploaded by that author.
In some cases Exchange items have long URLs in the description. If the URLs are long enough they have the possibility of breaking the layout of the page. If you, as an author/contributor, see this happening in a exchange item that belongs to you, you can go edit that item to massage the text to fix the problem. If you need help please shout.
Please go ahead and note any bugs you find in this forum. We will be checking this regularly!
I hope this release allows your participation in this lively environment to be much more smooth. I look forward to hearing from you.
David Hatch, Chief Information Architect, Adobe Web Team
I am trying to search for some items I submitted but can't find them. I am trying "Image Catalog" in the InDesign section or "Font Catalog" and nothing shows up. It's actually "ID Image Catalog" by "couponboy". Shows up in listing of all items but not when I search it. Other items with "image catalog" in the name show up when I search. Do I need to re-edit my submission? Or is it really a search problem?
Also, when I looked at my item in detail, the name had "VCS" added to it. What is that information? I see another item that has that.
I like the direct download link, the speed seems good so far, easy to read. I can change font size, yay!
First of all: thank you very much for the hard work!
The HTML format is much more useful. You can now print and search the text on a page. "Back" button works much better too.
Hopefully extensions' description can now be indexed by search engines (the way it worked before the Flash interface was implemented a few years ago)- so they are easier to find.
Couple of quirks I have found with the BETA:
Something is really slowing down interaction with the pages. For example when the page loads after the search it feels like I have to wait for some invisible elements to load before I can start interacting with the page.
It feels like there is a script that is constantly running on the page and slows down the interaction. I have tested on three different computers and had the same experience.
More importantly the search functionality seems to be downgraded from the previous version:
It looks like search is conducted only within the titles of the extensions and not within the description or other fields. In many cases in order to find an extension I have to enter its exact name!
I really hope this can be fixed!
Another usability point: the default value for the Category dropdown in the search should be "All" so user can search the entire exchange without an extra click.
In the extension search box enter a common word such as "Browser","validation","popup","form" and hit search button.
It doesn't find anything.
No extensions for "form validations" or anything with "browser" functionality??? That's not right.
Sooo much better than the Flash exchange. But here's an issue:
When uploading/editing an InDesign Script, the compatibility only lists InDesign CS and CS2. CS3 is NOT listed. Can you please add it? I want to update my script listings to say they are CS3 compatible, but currently I can't.
Thanks and keep up the good work. This is a great step in the right direction to making this a good resource again.
It would be nice to be able to filter by platform. I'd like to find only Mac scripts for instance. Reduces the amount of useless stuff I have to root through.
The email window that pops up looks horrible. (You get this window when viewing a script and you click Email: contributor name) The spacing in Safari is very strange. There is no space on the left, the text hits the side of the window. Right side spacing has the same issue. Shouldn't be hard to fix.
Well! When David said, "very, very soon" to me, he meant it! So, I've had a chance to look over the changes so far, and I'll offer my feedback on what is up there now.
First off, the positive:
The biggest improvement IMO is that the site is now much, much faster and more responsive! No more waiting forever for that flash whirly-ma-gig just so you can see a simple page. It is actually possible to stay on the site and navigate to where you want to go without becoming frustrated/bored/mummified. The site is snappy now -- and congrats on moving way from flash into HTML/CSS, which actually works effectively! Good job!
Also very nice to the update is that you can actually do effective searches! It is very nice to be able to sort the master lists and categories by downloads, rating and date, especially. The "filtering" feature works fine, although I believe it could be combined effectively with the broader and more comprehensive "Advanced Search" feature. Don't you?
In addition, it's nice to get
back the capability to have the ratings attatched with the reviews! It helps to see who rated what and why. Thank you. The loss of (old) individual star rating info is unfortunate, but I'll live with it. Also, a new feature -- you can add ratings and reviews without having to open another page! Yay!
Other nice things include getting
back 300x200 previews on the description pages, the ability to contact the contributor via e-mail (although the interface for this needs tweaking **see below**), favorites and alerts. These are a few starting steps in making the Exchange interactive and user friendly.
Now for areas which still need fixing/improvement:
When I do a search, some weird things happen! First of all, the results seem to be very random! For instance, if I search for an author or name of a contribution, the results are not ordered alphabetically, by date, by rating, downloads, or any other discernible method! Why not??? Also, the search results are not sortable by these methods like everything else! It makes it difficult to find what you want or see things in an orderly manner when you get more than 2 results from your search. This needs to be fixed/changed.
Keeping on the subject of search... the "Publish Date" feature in the "Advanced Search" needs some attention. The options available are simply not sufficient. The maximum value you can search for is "1 year". Anything older than that simply cannot be searched for with the Publish Date feature. Given that there are many submissions on the Exchange from 1999, 2000, etc., this needs to be changed! There should be a "More than 1 year ago" option, or even more specific, a year-by-year option.
The "Show All Reviews" option on the pages needs to be implemented better IMO. As it is, it shows 5 reviews by default, and clicking "Show all Reviews" then shows 10 reviews, with arrows to view the next 10, etc. I believe that if you have a link on a page that says "Show all Reviews" it should actually
show all reviews! It's still to hard to see them all. Alternatively,
or in addition, the default contribution page should show 10 reviews by default, with arrows already in place to see the next 10 reviews.
The preview images on the list pages are still quite miniscule (sp?). It would certainly be nice to have these even just a little bigger (50-100%). However, I realize that this poses another problem - horizontal page space. Let me just say that an 800x600 optimized layout for this type of a site seems rather small, don't you think? Especially on the list pages, content is "long and skinny". I realize that the entire Adobe site is built around an 800x600 layout, and this probably makes things difficult, but 1024x768 could sure make this thing nicer! (BTW - Why IS Adobe still optimized for 800x600?? You CAN'T tell me that there are people out there buying CS3 and using 800x600 resolution! Note: cnet.com, Yahoo.com, etc.)
One thing that I'm disappointed not to see here (and I hope we'll see it soon) is a contributor listing and contributor profiles. The "old" Exchange had a contributor listing. It would be nice to have that back, with sortable options for "most contributions", "highest rated", "most downloaded", most d/ls per contribution" just to name a few. Also, a contributor profile page would be really nice. A personal page where users could see information such as contributors' website, favorite uploads, hobbies, interests, "about myself", etc., etc.
Speaking of contributors' websites... I've looked for a place to add that to my uploads, and I can't find it ANYWHERE! Some people have it, but how do I add it? I would like the option to add it globally to all my uploads (this would make it user-friendly).
The "Email Author" link currently brings up a new window with a small form. This window desperately needs just a little bit of CSS love applied to it. The text is left justified with no spacing from the edge of the window, and the form boxes stretch the entire way across. Give this baby a little formatting! :-)
On the individual contribution pages, the "Download" box currently contains some basic information about the contribution. I believe it should also contain the "Compatible Products" info, as this is something very basic that people look for, and it is too hard to find on the pages as is (Also, is the "Language" option necessary? And can I enter "actionscript" or "HTML" as needed? :-P) The entire "Additional Extension information" section might be able to be done away with and the information melded into other areas of the page. Just an idea there.
This may be a little pet peeve of mine... but we used to have a little feature on the old Exchange called "Downloads per Day" that kept a running list of the most popular new submissions. It was an easy way to tell what the best new stuff was. I'd like to have that back.
I did a test to try and update one of my old submissions with a new "Preview" URL. The submission is still "pending" in my "Uploads" list (which, BTW, would be nice to have ordered sensibly and sortable), however it is still "live" on site and available for download. In addition, the new URL is also live! Now, personally, I think this is GREAT! I don't have to wait on some "approval" process to change something that has already been approved! On the updates, even if the old file was still live until the approval of the update was done, that would be nice. However, I'm wondering where the discrepancy is, since my "uploads" list says it is still awaiting approval.
On this note, I want to mention my last "negative" observation of the new Exchange. This "BETA" (and thank you for calling it that, BTW) went live several days ago, and there still have been no new submissions approved. Why not??? I still maintain that there needs to be someone approving these things
DAILY (at least every business day)!!! Once a month will ABSOLUTELY NEVER DO! I don't know what it takes on the business end to allocate someone's time to make this happen, but if we're going to have an Exchange, it needs to happen. Daily approvals keep people coming back. Monthly approval makes people forget.
Anyway, in conclusion... it's good to see the updates. Several key areas were addressed, and the Exchange is at least usable again. On the other side of the coin, I'm glad this is still in "BETA" stage, as there are many improvements that still can/need to be made. Keep up the hard work, and keep in touch!
Uh oh! It's been so long since I've actually tried to browse around the Exchange... I just noticed. What happened to the subcategories under Photoshop Actions?? There used to be "Image Effects", "Text Effects", "Aclets", etc. Now there's just "Actions". I'd really rather not sort through 5000 plus actions just to find some cool "Image Effects". Please bring the subcategories
Karl S has made some great points. I can't disagree with any of his findings and he certainly took a lot of time to give a very detailed review. As one of the contributors who has always been highly respected and ranked, his opinions should carry great weight.
I imagine the search field is still being tweaked, I notice a couple of grayed out drop down lists.
His second post regarding the categories of actions - I can't believe I didn't notice that before. One of Karl's actions - beams of light (http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/exchange/index.cfm?event=extensionDetai l&extid=1040733) was actually the first action I ever downloaded. I used it in a project at the lab I used to own and that graphic is in use today.
I would like to second Karl's comment about clicking "Show All Reviews" should mean show
I do like the 25-per-page listing, I wouldn't mind having the option to bring that to 50-per-page. But certainly not a critical request or even an important one.
And some descriptions seem to just end in mid sentence. Look at Karl's Frozen Text action for one example.
This version is much better than previous that worked on flash, but still not so easy-to-use as old one.
The pics in the list of items are too small - 48x32px is insufficient for preview. Also in the old version was the possibility to browse all items in one page, in the current version the number of displayed items is fixed.
I cant seem to download anything. I'm not sure what I'm overlooking. I've set my firewall to allow from this site, turned off the pop-up blocker, and done 100 different things to try and make it work all to no avail. I'm running XP home with a McAfee secondary firewall. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, I'm missing out on loads of cool stuff!
I am wondering how the traffic is on the redesigned exchange. Is it even an appreciable fraction of the former exchange?
Will Dave Hatch and his team take that into consideration? Maybe swallow their pride and do a new version of the original design? I am still scratching my head over how they thought that throwing away a brilliant user-friendly design would be a good idea?
The traffic (or lack thereof) will be the indicator. I haven't used the exchange since they killed it. I played with the new one, but still hate it.
And it's awful quiet around here. More evidence that people just aren't interested.
Like Colleen above, I too cannot download anything. I've tried on three different computers: one of which has never accessed any Adobe sites, so cookies are not an issue (it is set to accept all cookies). This is extremely frustrating.
Is this really a beta? It looks more like alpha to me!
What's up with the Exchange *search*? What are those blank dropdowns? The results are always inconsitent. There is no indication of the products the extension is for.
Not a good job at all Adobe!
I have been trying now for 30 minutes to purchase a copy of Photoshop Elements. I live in Bermuda and for some reason cannot find a store that will accept my country of origin in order to allow me to purchase. It is extremely disappointing that a multi-national such as Adobe cannot get it right.
Please advise of the hold up and why this appears so difficult for Adobe?
I'm a CS2 user trying to download a set of actions from the Exchange and my Windows XP computer will not start the download. I get a beep sound when the window indicating the download should begin shortly appears. Clicking 'here' yields the same result. Does anyone know why this is might be happening and how to get the download to work?
The difference between the old exchange and the new one is like the difference between macintosh and windows. One is a pleasure to use... and the other is well... functional. But not the vibrant community center it once was. This one is incapable of sparking the same inspiration the old one did.
As an author on the site, I appreciate that the exchange now has the capability to post user reviews. That's certainly a nice addition. However, it really should allow the author to post a reply to a review...I had someone post a 1-star review of my product who clearly has never even used it. It sucks that I can't even defend against a poor, unjustified review, the way I can on other listing sites like Hotscripts.