User experience begins with the software installer

A multi-post rant about problems when installing (and uninstalling) Adobe's Creative Suite 3 shows that a company's brand may start and end with its installer program.

User experience begins with the software installer
Writer John Welch on his Bynkii blog ranted up a storm this week over his experience installing Adobe Systems' Creative Suite 3. He wonders how it could happen that a software powerhouse could offer such a terrible installer. Or maybe it's because Adobe is so big — Welch isn't the only customer who's had trouble with the installer.

Welch complains first that there are 3 executable launches in the process and has the user authenticate before committing to the install. Worse, he says that when the installer complains — about running applications for instance — it doesn't tell the user what the exact problem is. (I've expurgated, marked [cut], some of his salty language.)

Evidently, when it asks for DVD four, if you click OK before the disk mounts, it FAILS THE INSTALLER, and you have to re-do the entire thing. Why? Because by disk [cut] four, it hasn't completely installed anything. That's four DVDs by the way. Not a single [cut] program completely installed. So not only is it a [cut] pain in my ass to use, but it can't even do the one thing it was built to do right! IT DIDN'T INSTALL [cut]!

And because there's no log file created, Welch said that the installer must start over from scratch.

There are people being BORN in less time than it the Adobe installer to do it's thing. I can install HUMANS faster than I can install CS3!!!

In a followup post, Welch asks how Adobe can create Photoshop but not a robust installer.

Of course, many Adobe CS users have had similar problems. After reading Welch's post, I spoke with a buddy in publishing who said she had "nightmares with the uninstaller." She said that finally the IT department had to be called in to sweep her machine for all CS3-related files. During the process, she couldn't use InDesign for days.

According to a later post by Welch, the failed CS3 install also messed up his Acrobat installation.

A comment by Wrinkle in Time on Bynkii.com points out the updating that will be required if and when you can actually install the suite. "Kiss your afternoon goodbye."

Don't forget to download the updated installer using the installer update that spawns a series of anonymous applications to anonymously update the installed applications.

Adobe has become the new Extensis. Whereas I used to cheer for Adobe, I'm now waiting to see when Apple will release a "Pages Pro" layout product (you know they have one).

So, a warning to developers big and small. Your company's brand may start and end with its installer program.