It’s hard to learn Photoshop and Illustrator, so many new users don’t. How can we hang onto them?

Two weeks into their trial, most new Creative Cloud users drop off precipitously. While our research identified three core reasons for this—the programs are technically intimidating; the tutorials, too long and too dry; the trial period, too short—our core problem is essentially behavioral: Adobe has just under two weeks to instill a habit of creativity in their new non-professional users.

So we focused on evolving Adobe’s trial model from feature- and tutorial-based to expression- and practice-based. Because these new users are united in their desire to create out of enjoyment and expression—as opposed to, say, career imperatives—we proposed a learn-by-doing approach to adopting the Creative Cloud habit.

Our approach takes shape in two models: the Journey and the Studio.

The Journey focuses on encouraging and guiding new users’ journeys. We introduce technical knowledge gradually, with each new ability building on the previous, and personally, with choose-your-own-adventure paths that adapt to user behavior and triggered actions. Games support trial and error and frequent feedback, and social channels encourage sharing and triumphs.

The Studio translates the classic atelier model into Creative Cloud onboarding. In this approach, practice makes perfect. New users create their artwork, support, critique and collaborate with each other, learn from professional mentors, and share their work with the world.

Our proposal opened up a deeper, more creative business relationship with Adobe, with strategic planning for our approach currently in progress.


Content strategy
Audience research
Story concept