in commentary, dvorak, mac os

Dvorak-Qwerty support for Adobe CS

So, here’s my latest Dvorak-Qwerty keyboard support rant.

I received a very odd ‘personal’ response from an Adobe customer support representative regarding my request for Dvorak-Qwerty support for Adobe’s Creative Suite applications.

My complaint: Dvorak-Qwerty does not properly work with Adobe products.

(See my previous post for background on DQ if you have no idea what I’m talking about)

Here’s a snippet from what I wrote to Adobe about this annoying problem:

I must toggle to the QWERTY layout to use my shortcuts, then toggle back to Dvorak when I need to type. This is very annoying. Would Adobe consider posting a relatively minor update to address those users who rely on the Dvorak-Qwerty keyboard layout in Mac OS X?

They wrote back to me today (within 24 hours, as promised on their website):

I understand that you would like Adobe to post a minor update for Macintosh users who rely on Dvorak-Qwerty keyboard, as you have to continually toggle between these two keyboards in order to use it to type text and use short cut keys respectively.

I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.

We need to inform you that Adobe® Systems continually develops new applications and improves existing products, but cannot comment on unreleased products until a press release is posted. When new releases become available, the details regarding new features and purchasing information will be posted on the Adobe Web site at the following URL: http://www.adobe.com

Ok. So they seem to grasp the issue, but then again … the response mimicked the phrases from my complaint so closely that it left me with the distinct impression that some sort of AI compiled and regurgitated a customized automated response based on my input. The part that annoys me most is that the automated response tries too hard to appear like it came from a real human. Or perhaps what annoys me is that it doesn’t seem like it came from a real human, but Adobe would like me to feel as if it did.

I can’t say that I expect to see a software update from Adobe that addresses my issue anytime soon. I’m guessing there aren’t too many users out there who suffer from lousy DQ support (and it’s not just Adobe products that lack DQ support), and I’m assuming that the Adobe user base is so massive and the number of suggestions to improve their software are so many that my little complaint may be backlogged until Adobe CS 10.

It’s nice that Adobe has a system in place to so quickly respond to a customer input. I bet a lot of R&D went into this auto-rapid-super-friendly-personalized response system. Still, it raises a larger philosophical question about automated, rapid customer support. Is a quick reply better than a delayed reply (or no reply at all) if it is canned and impersonal? Is it actually worse if it’s canned and impersonal and it attempts to be personalized in a very fake way?

In addition to the mimicry of my original complaint, the ‘personal’ message also included my name at awkward intervals throughout the response. Here’s an example:

Troy, also, please visit the following URL on the Adobe Web site for the latest customer service and technical information: http://www.adobe.com/support/main.html

And later on in the (relatively short) message:

Troy, the Web Support Portal Representatives are available from Monday to Friday.

I’m convinced that a human would not reference my first name repeatedly in such an awkward manner.

The Adobe response was signed by ‘Victor M.’ of Adobe Customer Service. I’m sure that Victor M. exists, but he surely would not have typed out such a weird response to a customer. I really wouldn’t expect a human to type out a detailed response within 24 hours from such a massive company. It had to be a generated response. So what’s my point? If Adobe is committed to a personalized, rapid customer response, I would rather receive a message that said:

Hi Troy, we get a bazillion comments and suggestions every week. We got your message. A real human will read it. We will consider your input.

A week or two later, perhaps I would get a message that said:

Hey Troy, We read your input. We understand that you’ve submitted a feature request about our support for Dvorak-Qwerty. It may be part of a future Adobe release, but we can’t make any promises. We’ll do our best. We’re considering it. Really. Please understand that we have a bazillion other feature requests already in the queue, so your input will be addressed in the order it was received since we’ve determined that it’s not a critical application error.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather see a response like that. To be fair, perhaps the response I received wasn’t automated. Perhaps Victor M. used creative cut-n-paste to respond to my query. Still, it seemed disingenuous; it seemed like a cookie-cutter response cloaked in a ‘personalized’ message. It seemed, in other words, automated in the worst way.

If any of you reading this are Dvorak typists who use QWERTY shortcuts (and use Adobe apps), please consider dropping them a note. Maybe all ten of us will get them to consider updating their software…

  1. I’d say the response you received was undoubtedly an automated form. I think your analysis was right on the money and somewhat entertaining to read (for me anyway). I, personally, hate automated responses. Anyway, I’m going to send Adobe a similar message (even though I’m a QWERTY user) to see how my response compares to yours. Results to come. . .

  2. That’s a great idea! Looking forward to see if the response is the same. Thanks also for submitting another DQ input. By the way, the letter from Adobe ended with this line: ‘We thank you for your time and are pleased to inform you that you are one of our esteemed customers.’ Hmm. I suppose I should write back to let Victor M. know that ‘I am pleased to be informed that I am one of Adobe’s esteemed customers’…

  3. Hmm. After I read this, I logged back on to Adobe to check my case. It’s been closed. Adobe’s response (from Victor M.): “Troy, in response to the information you have provided I am closing your case at this time. If you have any other information pertaining to this case or have any further issues you may re-open this case at any time or open a new case.”

    “Thank you for your response on the information that had been given. As an Adobe customer, you are our first priority. Your comments help guide development of future versions of Adobe products and support.” The message ended with this, which gave me a good laugh: “We thank you for your time and are pleased to inform that you are one of our esteemed customers.”

    Yeeah. Woo hoo. I’m still esteemed!

    Well, we’ll see what happens. I’m discouraged by their lack of response (automated or otherwise) to your input. I also think they seriously need to evaluate the value of their automated responses if they want their customers to feel that they have truly been listened to. I guess I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now, but I plan to resubmit my suggestions in a few months if the problem isn’t addressed in a what I assume should be a relatively minor update. I’m also assuming it’ll take more than a few months, because this is likely a fairly minor issue that most users don’t face.

    By the way, in my response to Adobe, I told them that I had commented on their interesting customer support on this site. Perhaps this will hurt my cause more than it will help it!

  4. Hey, drop me a line if you are interested in testing out our new QIDO (Qwerty-In > Dvorak-Out) device.

    It connects between the external USB keyboard and Mac (or PC).

    We also added the Dvorak-Qwerty layout, so it has a mode to support Qwerty-In > Dvorak-Qwerty-Out.

    Anyway, let me know.

    Kind regards,
    Theo

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