Case Study: Adobe Photoshop Levels Up!

screen shot, software, gamification
2011 saw gamification make an impact on customer engagement (foursquare) and improved business functioning (Rypple). Adobe, who sells digital media and web design and production applications, are testing a unique use for gamification: Learning!

But why is Adobe using gamification? Will it be successful? Engaming delved deeper into the prototype of Adobe Photoshop Level-up and Jigsaw to see what’s in store.

Why Gamify Photoshop?

Adobe products are known for its’ ability to create amazing web and digital media designs, and for those of us who have tried to learn it will agree that these are products for the experts. Its’ complicated interface with hundreds of options to click, and tools with non-descript names like ‘polygonal lasso tool’ and ‘elliptical marque tool’ leaves much to be desired by the designer wannabes. However, with more and more job tasks calling for digital design skills, there’s an increasing demand for a quick and dirty web and digital media design and production application.

Enter Adobe’s competition.

Online sites, like,, and Google’s Picasa, with easy interfaces and user-friendly tools are popping up everywhere allowing individuals to build their own website. These sites are fully loaded with templates and WISIWIG editors, and while the individual will never become an expert in coding, with this technology they don’t have to.

So how did Adobe respond to the competition? They gamified.

Screen shot, leaders, badges

Adobe Photoshop Level-up and Jigsaw uses game elements, like missions, points, badges, levels, and juicy feedback to:

  • Encourage people to learn the interface;
  • Increase sales among Beginner customers;
  • Build a foundation of knowledge that will transfer to all Adobe products.

Customers will enjoy using LevelUp and Jigsaw because it:

  • Makes work fun
  • Makes learning more awarding
  • Make it easier to understand
  • Enhance the user experience
  • Provides a sense of Mastery, accomplishment, and challenge


LevelUp for Photoshop allows players to earn points and badges in hopes of winning the Master Collection from Adobe. But what value will the points have once the contest is over? Also right now Adobe is controlling the content, perhaps if it opens up for third party developers to generate content it will increase the popularity and promote the system even more.


At the moment, Photoshop Level-up and Jigsaw is in the testing phase, which means Adobe wants more feedback to see if it’ll be profitable. We predict that this application will be available in their future products, and that consumers will have the option to enable it. Here at Engaming, we think Adobe should take it a step further and come out with an application for beginners using easier language, a simple interface, built-in templates, AND uses these cool gaming features to make it fun to use.

Does Gaming Make Learning Easier? We want to hear from you! Tweet and Comment!

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