Now With Multiple Undos!
Quark’s latest advertising campaign brings a harsh light on features they should have had years ago, and illuminates exactly why InDesign is steadily growing market share.
For years I designed countless layouts under the yoke of Quark’s primitive interface and function set, not only wondering why I couldn’t accomplish obvious things (like import a PSD) without an Xtension, but why no one stepped up with a competing project. (PageMaker doesn’t count and never did.)
When Adobe finally debuted InDesign, it was clear even from the buggy and clumsy Version 1 that Quark’s days were numbered. Since 1999, Adobe has released three more versions with a fourth launching as I write this. Like Photoshop, InDesign is a complete program, feature and function-rich out of the box and from here on out, new features are just bonus—an ever more creamier and delicious icing on the cake.
Unfortunately, Quark has been playing feature catch-up, and their latest advertising campaign brings a harsh light on just how behind Xpress 6.5 remains.
You’ve seen the ads. Two page spreads, bold colors, left side with full-size portrait of a “designer,” right side with an interesting quote and some copy that highlights the new version’s features. (The concept itself isn’t bad—certainly better than Adobe’s latest campaign that shows some dude lying on a bed with the tagline “It’s everything but the idea.” How wonderfully passive.)
Unfortunately, Quark is a victim of their own marketing. In their body copy, they highlight the following major features of 6.5:
- PSD Import
- QuarkVista (edit documents without leaving Quark)
- Multiple Undos
Out of the four, three have been in InDesign since its inception. (The fourth is specific to Quark and having never tried it, have no idea if it’s just a set of crappy filters or something really revolutionary.) This is, in a nutshell, bad advertising.
Where I work, it’s a constant debate in choosing what to advertise when we release a new version of a product. It always boils down to one thing: is the new feature something the user wants or a feature the user expects? If it’s the latter, then don’t advertise it—let the customer assume it was always there.
If Quark followed this mantra, little wind would be left in their marketing sails. In this era of software, a “feature” like multiple undos is expected. Not having them would only confuse and anger customers—like me, five years ago, when shifting an object twice meant you better know where it was going. It would be like developing a text editor and advertising “Now with cut and paste technology!”
If Quark is trying to woo InDesign users back, they are going to incite little reaction beyond a derisive laugh. If they are trying to woo new designers, the young reader is not going to understand why layers warrant a bullet point. Doesn’t everything have layers? If they are trying to convince their existing customer base to upgrade … well, maybe the ads will work, because there is nothing quite so vehemently hated as Quark’s one level of undo.