25 Replies Latest reply: May 11, 2010 11:20 AM by craulmedia RSS

    Support Page

    yenaphe Community Member

      I've had to show some help content to a partner today about AE CS5, and came across the official support page here: http://www.adobe.com/support/aftereffects/

       

      So I started looking for a link to the official help page in the right navigation menu, which looks like where all important links are. Couldn't find it. Looked briefly everywhere else without noticing the small link at the bottom of the left column.


      So as I didn't saw it, I came back to the main navigation menu to check if it was there but now. So I clicked on "additional help" button and finaly found it here.

       

      Sorry but how can you say that the "Official" help is an "additional help". Sure i've missed the link in the left column, but it's so small that I hadn't seen it.

       

      Seriously, how is it possible that the official support page doesn't have a link to the actual help files in it main navigation bar ? How can it be hidden under an "Additional help" button ?

       

      I'm going to be really honest there. CS5 is a major release, and I'm very happy about it, but the help experience is disatrous. No toc in the official help, link hidden on the official support page. You would get rid of the official you couldn't do any better than that. And I'm not even talking about CHC not working properly.

       

      I'm really angry at how it has become really difficult to access a precise information that you know where it is. That is not the level of quality I expect from a company like Adobe.

       

      I know i've already complained in the former forum about the removal of the Toc without replacing it with any viable solution making a browsing experience bad, and for that I can understand that you want to hide it, but it's a big step backward from CS4. And that's a major letdown.

       

      Seb

        • 1. Re: Support Page
          AlexCzet

          I have to agree with Sebastien.

          The help client is only helpful if it actually helps to find the information we need and not only show us how much information there is out there.  That seems to be the focus of adobe help right now.  Of course it is useful to link to all the tutorials and ressources out there, but the manual is most often what is the first thing we want to see, and it should be super easy to access.

           

          Thanks

          Alex

          • 2. Re: Support Page
            Animotion.nl ACP

            Also very much agreeing with Sebastien here. The official help should be easy to find.

             

            Joost van der Hoeven
            Adobe Certified Instructor | Apple Certified Pro
            ..........................................................................................
            [ A n i m o t i o n ]
            audio-visual design

             

            [w] www.animotion.nl

            • 3. Re: Support Page
              jdhughen Community Member

              I too agree with all here.

              While all the "online" features are great for "Extra or Additional" help. the main and initial help should be local and have a TOC, basically an online manual.

               

              Joel

              • 4. Re: Support Page
                Todd_Kopriva Adobe Employee

                A little background. The H&S pages for CS4 had a big,  prominently displayed Help button because the Help menu/F1 behavior of  most CS4 products took users to the H&S page instead of Help (After  Effects was an exception).

                 

                For CS5, the Help menu/F1 behavior of all CS5 products takes  users directly to Help (with the Help TOC open), so the need for  a big Help button is less critical. Not that we think the Help link is  any less important. In the new design, the heading of the first column  is "Getting Started and Help" in large font. A backup link is included  in the Additional Help panel. The change also  freed up room to highlight important community contributors.

                • 5. Re: Support Page
                  yenaphe Community Member

                  Thanks for the clarification Todd. But anyway, not having a direct link to the official help page in the main navigation menu is a very bad choice, and can only create confusion and suspicions about it.

                  • 6. Re: Support Page
                    Laura_Kersell Adobe Employee

                    Thanks for your engagement on the CS5 Help experience. I’m on the Adobe Community Help team and wanted to clarify that Adobe Help, as the definitive reference for Adobe products, is a highly valued component of the overall Community Help offering, and is not endangered content. Try choosing Help (or F1) from any CS5 product and you’ll arrive on the Help homepage for your product, with direct access to Adobe Help and TOC. We are listening and appreciate your feedback.

                     

                    The Community Help AIR application is an important offering for CS5. Much has changed since the prerelease version and will continue to evolve to offer features valued by users. Update to the latest version for new navigation and search options that allow you to search Adobe reference only, and access Help for additional Adobe products via Home button. http://www.adobe.com/support/chc/

                    (Preferences are saved across updates, so if you’ve set yours to Open Help in browser, please reset Accessibility Mode to “Open Community Help application” and give the new release a spin.)

                    • 7. Re: Support Page
                      yenaphe Community Member

                      Hi Laura,

                       

                      thanks for poping up to answer our thoughts. I just gave the new client a test drive.  Sadly the TOC is still missing on every page but the first one, which still makes the navigation really cumbersome. I can see some improvments in the new CHC, but honestly the experience is still no good enough to be really usable.

                       

                      I know you're working hard on it, and you'll eventually make it better, usable and usefull. But while you are working fixing it, we are blocked with no real meaningfull way to browse the help, which is really problematic as far as I'm concerned. Search results still returns links from other adobe products that are installed on my system and it's not a good behavior too.

                       

                      So for now, I'll turn it off again until the next update. But please, before fixing the CHC, fix the actual navigation scheme so we can use the help in an efficient way.

                      • 8. Re: Support Page
                        Todd_Kopriva Adobe Employee

                        Sebastien, regarding the problem with search: Can you confirm that this problem only occurs in the CHC, and not when you search from After Effects Help on the Web?

                        • 9. Re: Support Page
                          Laura_Kersell Adobe Employee

                          The search "Adobe reference only" option in the CS5 Community Help app will confine results to just the Adobe product selected, and display content from Adobe Help only. I just checked it with After Effects, and results are confined to just AE Help. It can be toggled on and off to see results from the Adobe Community (including Adobe TV and Adobe Developer Connection), or just Adobe Help/reference. Its a really useful feature that came from CS4 user feedback. The Community Help AIR app search UI is intended to be a bit simpler to navigate than the web help, but that's a matter of preference of course.

                          ch_AE_search_adobe_ref.png

                          • 10. Re: Support Page
                            AlexCzet Community Member

                            I think that what we are all talking about is that the official "help" needs to be prominent search result and then community websites are like the cherry on the pie.  Right now it feels like everything is sort of put on the same level.  When we search for a help card, we want just that.  If we want more, then great, but it feels like Adobe is trying really hard to show how connected they are to the plethora of content out there, but by doing that they are adding too much noise to the signal

                             

                            Alex

                            • 11. Re: Support Page
                              yenaphe Community Member

                              That same checked button doesn't seem to work here. And I'm with the latest version of CHC just checked again. It's working correctly on the web though.

                               

                              I 100% agree with Alex's comment.

                               

                              But I can't see how removing the toc makes the browsing simpler either in CHC or on the web ? Seriously have you tried to browse the official help files without using the search ? Just by jumping from a category to another ? Try and compare, and you'll see in less than 5 minutes that the CS4 browsing experience if by far more enjoyable than the CS5, either on web or in CHC. At least the browser can have tabs to keep some references.

                               

                              Once again, I'm not ranting just for the purpose of ranting, and I understand that you are following the inglorious metrics, but forcing everyone to jump in the search paradigm is a very bad choice, and removing the only design element that made official help easily browsable is a bad choice too.

                               

                              And I don't understand why you can't simply put some ajax or javascript to make a Toc that can slide in or out from the left border of the webpage, like you do in Lightroom for the panels. Or use the left column in the CHC to keep it right in front our eyes.

                               

                              Search is good when you know what you search but don't know where the info is. Toc is good when you know what you search and you know where it is. Toc is good when you don't know what you search too, and less random than typing some keywords in the search.

                              • 12. Re: Support Page
                                jdhughen Community Member

                                For me it's real simple.

                                 

                                1. when I click on help or F1 , Help should open local first then all the new toys are available if you opt to use them. at the very lest it should remember how you left it setup or have prefs so you can set it open to open that way.

                                 

                                2. The TOC MUST be available on the left and remain available at all times regardless of what is displayed on the right.

                                 

                                It is the biggest PITA to try to use help the way it is now.  There is a reason the "old" paradigm of TOC on the left, content on the right has been around forever. It works, it's simple, and a more direct method to browse for what your looking for. It's not broken, why are you trying to fix it. If I want to go on-line and see all the other great things I can, but I want to start Local, TOC on the left, content on the right, then go from there.

                                 

                                Joel

                                • 13. Re: Support Page
                                  Laura_Kersell Adobe Employee

                                  Hi Sebastien,

                                   

                                  Could you send us a screenshot of the Community Help app with the search results you are seeing? The latest version of the CHC is 3.2.0.610. On Mac go to: File>About Help, on Win: File>About Adobe Help. If you've been active with prerelease content and builds, you might also need to install a new product helpfile from the Community Help AIR application install page. www.adobe.com/support/chc. I'd really like to make sure your build is running properly, so the screenshot would also help.

                                   

                                  Thanks,

                                  Laura

                                  • 14. Re: Support Page
                                    yenaphe Community Member

                                    So I removed the CHC and reinstalled, and downloaded all updates.

                                     

                                    here is my version number (3.2.0.610):

                                     

                                    CHC_versionNum.jpg

                                     

                                    Search work as expected now, but there still many problems, and here are my findings in attached pics:

                                     

                                    You'll notice that:

                                     

                                    1) Some of my products are Missing (AE)

                                     

                                    CHC_noAE_dropdown.jpg

                                    CHC_noAE_atAll.jpg

                                     

                                    2) Search in Bridge doesn't find the Photoshop menu

                                     

                                    CHC_bridge_noAnswer.jpg

                                    CHC_bridgeOptionPS.jpg

                                     

                                    BTW, no one ever answered this question, so I take this chance to ask again: Can you tell me why you removed the so helpfull TOC to replace it with nothing, and why you don't want to bring it back to help people better browse the help files ?

                                     

                                    Just so you know, I'm not against change, but removing features without giving a proper solution is not my idea of innovation. And please don't tell me that it's all about metrics.

                                    • 15. Re: Support Page
                                      Laura_Kersell Adobe Employee

                                      Hi Sebastien,

                                      Thanks for the screenshots. Here's what's happening;

                                      1. AE help needs to be reinstalled from the Community Help AIR app install page: www.adobe.com/support/chc. Close/Quit Community Help app. On install page, select After Effects from the product drop down menu, then click Install Now. In the application installer dialog, click Open, then Run Now since you already have the latest version installed. This will update the installed CH app to include AE Help content.Add more products if you want following the same workflow. Click the home button and you should see the AE icon. The CHC home page gives you access to product help for all products installed on your system.

                                       

                                      CH_air_app_home.jpg

                                       

                                      2. The Bridge content you are looking for is in the Help system: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/creativesuite/cs/using/WSEC5DD830-699C-4edb-9615-4E369166A440a .html

                                      It may have been a search term issue. I tried searching on "tools menu in Bridge" and the top result was also the one above.

                                      Bridge content is also indexed jointly with products like Photoshop, so you if you have Photoshop (or After Effects, etc.) selected as the product, returns will include Bridge topics (which is what the attached screenshot illustrates).

                                       

                                      bridge_topic_search.jpg

                                       

                                       

                                      If navigating to Bridge content, note that for CS5 it is organized under a Creative Suite heading on product help homepages.You can also find Creative Suite (and thus Bridge) topics from any of the product help home pages that ship with Bridge, such as Photoshop. Click on the Creative Suite link, just beneath "Using Photoshop" and you'll see an Adobe Bridge topic in the TOC.

                                       

                                      AE_home_CS_title.jpg

                                       

                                      3. The main reason the TOC isn't on every topic page is that we want the "Help TOC" to offer more than Adobe reference content. The homepage for CS5, and the Community Help AIR app, is a start in that direction, and will continue to evolve to offer navigation options that serve a diverse set of users and products. We've offered a new search panel in the Community Help AIR app that allows view of both content and results simultaneously, and lets users of products like Flash search across the upwards of 10 Adobe Help collections for their product. We use a range of user research methods to understand where users are struggling and try to respond to the majority use cases. We've chosen not to dominate the content experience with multiple persistent navigation systems.We understand you have a preferred method of navigation that works for you, and that you put high value on Adobe Help, which is also appreciated.

                                       

                                      FYI for the sake of others reading: The Adobe Help TOC is not on every Help topic page, but can be accessed in these 4 ways:

                                       

                                      -Help package title in breadcrumb

                                      -Home link in breadcrumb

                                      -Product title in banner

                                      -CHC "Home" icon in app chrome

                                       

                                      Hopefully this gives you a bit more context for the change.

                                       

                                      Best regards,

                                      -Laura

                                      • 16. Re: Support Page
                                        yenaphe Community Member

                                        Shouldn't be AE help already installed since I already have AE installed ? This is really confusing. I shouldn't have to manually add the help contents of the software I have installed.

                                         

                                        And for the Bridge exemple, my point was to show you how frustrating can be search based help. I have a menu called Photoshop in bridge. If I want only official help I need to check "this reference" and then I search for Photoshop. No result. So I have to try again until I find the keyword that adobe thinks is relevant for Me. And Bridge is a cross install tool, so if I need to check for all it's reference inside other Adobe products I'll have to uncheck "this ref only" so then everything will be crowded with community help content. For info, I found this page in less than a minute using the TOC.

                                         

                                        And yes I know I can access the toc from those 4 ways, i've already been told that. But nobody in the CHC team finds this frustrating, so I won't complain anymore, I promess. Maybe i'm the only guy in the village who doesn't like to go to a page, then jump back to the first page to go to another, then jump back again, then again and again and again.

                                         

                                        And it's not just a navigation method it's a paradigm shift. See how frustrating it is for users who don't want to search your help. See the bridge exemple I stated. I have a menu called Photoshop, and I search for Photoshop as it's the most relevant term for me in this menu, and no results. I have to multiply the searches because Adobe search thinks that Photoshop is not a relevent term. I want to browse the official help. Why not keeping the 2 methods ? How hard is it to embrace a sliding menu, hidden by default for exemple, ala Lightroom (seriously, have a look at how lightroom hides and shows panels) for official help pages. What's the cost of that ? I'm not against search, just it's not the only solution, and not the best anyway.

                                         

                                        And justifying this change just to make Flash users happy, well, I'll remember that one. Let's kill all other apps features so Flash guys will be happy when searching for the 10 different flash apps available.

                                         

                                        And I don't think blending official help and community help in one "big" happy help is a good idea. You just don't know how good the community content is, and how relevant it is just based on tags and text content. More and more content is in video, and video SEO is just not there.

                                         

                                        So I won't bother you anymore, I understand that you don't care to mess up dedicated design for search paradigm, that you don't care about 10 people complaining against the huge mass that doesn't care anyway. You wanted community involvement to improve the pages with adding comments and such. I joyfully did that in CS4, check for the 200 comments I added in the AE french help and for the dozens I added in the Pr/AE english help.

                                         

                                        I won't bother doing that for CS5, just because you don't care. I'm fed-up complaining on this topic, I'm fed to explain that you design choise is a bad design choice. I'm fed up of not having the choice to navigate into the help files and forced to use search instead just for the sake of metrics. And I'm just fed up that I can't access the content easily to add valuable info. See, that's the magic of it. You design this for the mass people, the ones who never gets involved or cares, in order to try to involve them more, and in the end, you loose the dedicated guys who tries to help for the good ol' mass too. Just because they can't access the info as easily as before. Brilliant.

                                         

                                        Thanks Laura for your patience.

                                        • 17. Re: Support Page
                                          jdhughen Community Member
                                          function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

                                          .

                                           

                                          And yes I know I can access the toc from those 4 ways, i've already been told that. But nobody in the CHC team finds this frustrating, so I won't complain anymore, I promess. Maybe i'm the only guy in the village who doesn't like to go to a page, then jump back to the first page to go to another, then jump back again, then again and again and again.

                                           

                                           

                                           

                                          I hate it. It make no sense, and serves no purpose other than to muddy the

                                          water and force a lot of other content on you that you aren't initially

                                          looking for. You should be able to get straight-up help/TOC like we've been

                                          able to do since forever and then if WE desire go to the other stuff.

                                           

                                          Joel

                                          • 18. Re: Support Page
                                            AlexCzet Community Member

                                            What I don't understand is why this is so complicated.  Help should be simple, if not it is not help.

                                             

                                            It feels like you guys are just bloating the whole thing to an extreme, but you won't see that you are making things worse, instead you are blaming users for not "getting it".

                                            It is kind of like the whole installer disaster in CS4.  Instead of keeping things simple you just made it the most complex installer in the history of installers, and then tried to make people understand how it was necessary.

                                             

                                            Help is something that should be helpful, and not require all kinds of additional steps to get to the info you need

                                             

                                            Alex

                                            • 19. Re: Support Page
                                              Animotion.nl ACP

                                              Op 6 mei 2010, om 15:57 heeft jdhughen het volgende geschreven:

                                               

                                              I hate it. It make no sense, and seves no purpose other than to muddy the

                                              water and force a lot of other content on you that you aren't initionaly

                                              looking for. You should be able to get straight-up help/TOC like we've been

                                              able to do since forever and then if WE desire go to the other stuff.

                                               

                                              Joel

                                               

                                              Amen to this.

                                              • 20. Re: Support Page
                                                craulmedia Community Member

                                                Dear Mrs. Kersell.

                                                 

                                                the majority of Adobes problem with satisfying user experience is lacking objectivity on their own products.

                                                Doesn't matter if its the layout and usability of a community forum, a employees blog or even the software itself. Disappointing if you think about it that you guys are creators and designers of DESIGN SOFTWARE not taking the trivial thing serious?

                                                Just if you like it, that doesn't mean that the rest of the world likes it too!

                                                 

                                                The Online Help System is bloatware now.

                                                It does not have anything to do anymore with the logic of navigation.

                                                Instead of discussing and explaining here, you could have used the time to fix what you've broke.

                                                 

                                                Not everyone wants to install additional tools and applications like (hot) AIR.

                                                What most of you people at Adobe are forgetting is the fact that not everyone is working permanent on its own machine nor that people have instant administrative access at hose machines allowing them to install tool and apps.

                                                Talking a little off topic for now, but that's one of the weakest parts working with software which is not "multi machine" capable as fire and forget whenever i would be able to carry all my settings and presets with me and install them with ease and without quirks in my workflow setting up everything from scratch everytime i'm opening Adobe software on alien machines.

                                                 

                                                However.

                                                 

                                                You're using simple HTML websites, no PHP, MYSQL or some complicated AJAX implementations, so whats the problem working with a frameset consisting two frames one for navigation and one loading content?

                                                Where's the prob?

                                                 

                                                Look here http://documentation.apple.com/ it's not perfect and some functions need to be polished but it's absolutely the right direction of user friendliness.

                                                 

                                                At Adobe Online Help i'm lost after a few clicks.

                                                • 21. Re: Support Page
                                                  yenaphe Community Member

                                                  BTW, can we get rid of that annoying yellow box asking if it's our version ? I summon help from the Help menu inside my CS5 application, then why do I always have this nagging floating panel asking me if i'm on the correct CS version ?

                                                  • 22. Re: Support Page
                                                    Todd_Kopriva Adobe Employee

                                                    Sebastien, that yellow box is mostly intended to address the person who arrived at a page through search (e.g., through Google) and ended up on a page for the wrong version.

                                                     

                                                    If you close the box, it should stay closed, including for future sessions. If it doesn't that's a bug.

                                                    • 23. Re: Support Page
                                                      yenaphe Community Member

                                                      I have the feeling it get resetted everytime new content is downloaded & extracted in CHC. I'll keep an eye if the yellow screen comes again after an update, and fill BR accordingly.

                                                       

                                                      And you're right Todd, this box is relevant if you arrive on the help page from the web, but irrelevant when you arrive on the help from the menu of one of my installed software, and even more irrelevant when this same software launch another software specificaly designed for help.

                                                       

                                                      So sadly again, the experience is not good (or at least not well thaught on this specific case).

                                                      • 24. Re: Support Page
                                                        jdhughen Community Member

                                                        Sébastien Périer wrote:

                                                         

                                                        "this box is relevant if you arrive on the help page from the web, but irrelevant when you arrive on the help from the menu of one of my installed software, and even more irrelevant when this same software launch another software specificaly designed for help."

                                                         

                                                        Amen !!

                                                         

                                                        Local help with constant TOC first !  then online if you want more.

                                                         

                                                        Joel

                                                         

                                                        Message was edited by: jdhughen

                                                        • 25. Re: Support Page
                                                          craulmedia Community Member

                                                          Dear Mrs. Kersell,

                                                           

                                                          this Thread is NOT Answered.