Users Shy Away from the Cutting Edge in Software

Opinion: Motivating and training professionals to take full advantage of upgrades is hard, so lots of cool new features are going unused.

Technology providers very often live in a dream world where it is enough to bring a new feature or program to the market to push the envelope of how professionals go about their work.

In all fairness, there is some historical foundation for this. Desktop publishing was a home run. Enthusiastic users adopted Photoshop before there was actually a practical use for it in the publishing workflow.

Even today, certain niche functionality can change user behavior if there is a strongly perceived need for it: The fast adoption of Camera Raw tools is a good example for this.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read Edmund Ronalds column, "Raw Format Is a Lifesaver."

But these examples should not mask the horrid truth for vendors: Most users dont care about technology or cutting edge features. They just want to get their job done, and usually, the most efficient way of doing this is by using exactly the same methods you employed yesterday and the day before.

It is actually quite ironic that the industry that has epitomized innovation as a driving force in society is probably the most change-averse in history.

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