On Monday night, Adobe sponsored a birthday party for FrameMaker and RoboHelp. I had some good food and great conversations. Many thanks to Adobe for a fun, well-planned event.
During the party, though, I witnessed simmering resentment that didn’t jibe with the festive mood Adobe was trying to promote. And that anger was coming from at least one user of the spotlighted products.
While Adobe representatives were on stage celebrating RoboHelp, I had a conversation with someone whose department was using RoboHelp. She was very unhappy with product—and even less pleased with Adobe’s support. I heard the words “out of touch” and “they just don’t get it.” Ouch! Instead of upgrading, her group is currently evaluating an XML workflow with a non-Adobe authoring tool.
I have <mumble> years of experience with FrameMaker. I’ve used structured FrameMaker since the mid-1990s (when it was called FrameBuilder), and it has been a key part of many, many successful projects.
But even I had mixed emotions about attending a birthday party for FrameMaker. In the past five years, there’s been a rising tide of complaints from users and consultants about the product. Issues include poor product positioning, lousy support, and new features that are not useful to the people who use the product. Just check out Val Swisher’s excellent post about FrameMaker and Scriptorium’s review of FrameMaker 10 to see what I mean—and be sure to read the extensive comments on those posts, which provide additional context.
Was I the only person who experienced the disconnect between the party atmosphere and widespread user dissatisfaction?
Adobe must listen to its customers. Otherwise, the next party might be a wake.