27 January 2008 ~ 3 Comments


For the last 10 years, web browsers have been more or less capable of downloading files on their own. The worlds’ collective “downloads” folder sags in testament to this fact.

Adobe, continuing its tradition of wildly over complicating the download process, presents us with this confusing array of controls, progress meters and data – all while downloading a single file (Adobe Reader).  Here we have the “Adobe Download Manager powered by getPlus”.

Some observations about this dialog (that appears to have been programatically generated?)

  1. Three progress meters. Three. To download a single file? Anything more than a single progress bar is exposing too much of what’s going on under the hood – none of which we need to know about.
  2. “A short-cut to resume download and installation from point of interruption has been placed on your desktop.” What is a “point of interruption”? Has the download been interrupted? It appears to be proceeding normally.
  3. Why is the icon so bloody large? It’s positively massive, dwarfing all other components in the composition.
  4. There’s too much confusing terminology for Adobe Reader downloaders.  Unless this audience is computer scientists or software developers, because who else understands “KB/sec” or “Decompression 20.9%”?  More importantly, who cares?

What if we reduced this dialog to its bare essentials? And what are those “essentials” anyway?

Progress and termination.

Look, we’ve even left the gargantuan icon in place. I had to point it out in case you missed it…

3 Responses to “Overkill”

  1. Frank 30 January 2008 at 5:48 pm Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more about the complexity. Also, I just wanted to download the file, not install. I’ll install when ‘I’ want. There are 2 active-x controls I have to agree to just to get the download. I tried to stop the download and completely start over again. Deleted the active-x controls, cleared the cache and the icon on the desktop. Still asked me to resume. Always makes me wonder what else is being installed.

  2. Steve 8 March 2008 at 3:20 pm Permalink

    I just give in with adobe I cant even resume from the desktop download. I just feel that its all a waste, windows helps informs me that its yahoo that is stopping the download, then its informing me to upgrade adobe. at present im just trying not to open any link that has adobe to download. as it just locks up my pc. Im by no means a novice on pc’s but made to feel like a dinosaur

  3. Rob 9 March 2008 at 12:12 am Permalink

    Remember when downloading an application was really just downloading the entire thing and running the installer? Why all the unnecessary complexity?

    Adobe has some terrific products – Fireworks (previously Macromedia), Lightroom, etc. Why on Earth they feel the need to overcomplicate a process we’re all so familiar with is beyond reason. I fail to understand how all of these download managers and optimizers add value to their products. It’s not part of their core business and it really shows.

Leave a Reply