Lightroom's Personality Expressed Through Its UI

by Johann Gudbjargarson

I work as a developer, and one of my interests is UI (user interface) design. I place so much value on this that I even started using the Mac platform more because I prefer the OS X user interface over that of Windows XP and Vista. Yes, working environment is that important to me.

Lightroom also has a very good UI design. Working within the Lightroom environment is more exciting for me than working in Photoshop and other similar programs.

What's interesting to me is how Lightroom is logically divided into 4 modules to help the user maintain a good workflow. Prior to Lightroom, I used four different applications and had to navigate among these programs to export and import photos, build and export annotations (keywording), and even copy photos to make sure the originals didn't get effected. With Lightroom, photos are only imported once and can then be organized, developed, printed and exported to the web as one task or exported in various format and sizes. Jumping back and forth in the workflow is quick and easy with all changes to pictures in modules instantly visible in other modules, no special action required, and without affecting the original images. The interface design helps even the most scattered photographers maintain a certain degree of organization.

Lightroom's well-designed user interface compelled me to switch from other applications. And because it runs on both Mac and Windows, I had the freedom to change platforms too.


2007-06-01 17:11:56
Spot on. I had iView Media Pro for DAM, Nikon Capture NX 'cos I love the UM and also the RAW tweaks, Aperture becuase like you I feel the UI is critical and Apple gets me there. Then along comes Lightroom and it's like "hello!"
2007-06-02 08:14:03
I also switched right on time to a MacPro just before (and mainly because of) Lightroom...
Needed all the horsepower and harddrive space I could get to work on a 23" Cinema Display that makes working like a charm with thousands pictures.
I left iView for what it was, knowing that Adobe will get its DAM workflow at least as good as iView or Aperture, but I hope for Lightroom to become much better !
It's "hello!" for me too.
Greg Ferguson
2007-06-02 22:58:48
I agree about human-interface and Lightroom. I developed for the Mac for years which made me very aware of the importance of an easy-to-use interface that was intuitive.

When I played with the first beta of LR I was impressed - I judge an app by its ability to anticipate my needs, and how well it "thinks" like I do. Lightroom was like putting on a nice glove. Within a minute it seemed second nature to use it and remains that way. Occasionally I will get my panels acting weird because I jumped between modes, but a couple taps on shift-tab and it's nicely reset and I'm back where I like to be.

I really like that it has a feel of modality to each of the modules, but it's never locked me into a modal behavior. One key press and I'm directly back to another module.

And, though it's a complex program, it still runs pretty nicely on old hardware. My image editing gets split between two different machines, depending on where I am. At home in the living room I'll be on my old G4 Ti Powerbook, running at 500MHz. It's connected to a 19" LCD. On the road it'll be running on my G4 iBook, which is a 1.33 GHz. In either case, LR still is usable. I can only imagine how nice it'd be on a newer portable or on a Dual Core box.