Design Principles for CorelDRAW Graphics Suite on macOS

Hello everyone,

I thought it might be of interest to give you some insight into what the design principles were that we undertook when we set out to bring our flagship CorelDRAW Graphics Suite product to macOS, many years after being established on the Windows platform. As all our dedicated existing users will understand, the product has an incredible depth of functionality, longstanding and unique ways of presenting and interacting with that functionality, and also a very established Windows-centric user experience paradigm.

Actually, many of our users on macOS, who want the established CorelDRAW Graphics Suite experience for Windows, find that Parallels delivers an optimal solution for them. So why make a version for macOS that has a different user interface for the same underlying depth of power and functionality? That is what we evaluated and evolved during the planning and design phases of the product, while the development team brought all that functionality to life on the new platform. We worked closely with Apple to iterate through various ideas of how to best embrace the macOS platform paradigms in a way that resulted in a product experience that would be most familiar to Mac users engaging with the product for the first time, or at least for the first time in a long while.

Windows and macOS are fundamentally different platforms with different systems and frameworks for things like application windows, menus, toolbars, keyboard shortcuts, and more. Users have different expectations, depending on what they use. We strove to deliver native products that embrace the particular design paradigms of each platform, while we adhered to their respective interface guidelines and core user expectations.

On macOS, we designed for application windows that utilize the standard customizable macOS-native toolbar, and a single inspector panel at the right. If you have a MacBook Pro, you can also enjoy the additional Touch Bar experience. While Windows users will miss the ability to make multiple custom floating toolbars or float numerous dockers, Mac users understand a different set of conventions, because they are similar to other macOS-native applications they use, including those made by Apple. Where Windows users expect scrollbars and mousewheel, Mac users may be more familiar with navigating their applications with a Magic Mouse or a MacBook’s Force Touch trackpad.

We will certainly continue to evolve and iterate in these areas, especially as macOS and Apple hardware continue to evolve in the future. Customization is definitely an area we want to do more with, as the product evolves, to meet more of the needs of macOS users in ways that are both optimized and integrated with native macOS paradigms. In particular, we are gaining insights from user feedback on the most commonly used items to consider adding to the set of commands available on the native macOS toolbar.

We also felt some things were core to the established product experience and should remain consistent across platforms, such as interacting with tools and objects on the canvas, working with color, configuring application preferences and document properties, printing and exporting, and more. These are core to the trusted experience you expect with CorelDRAW Graphics Suite.

Our long-standing global user base builds their businesses, develops their creative voices, and realizes their imaginations with our products. We strive to continually develop and improve, and your feedback is essential to the design and development of future releases. We invite Mac users to join our beta program and work with us to provide ongoing feedback to shape the evolution of the macOS product, in both near-term updates and future versions. If this interests you, please visit http://www.corel.com/beta.

Stela Kostova - Director, Product Design, Corel

  • Don't take this the wrong way but all you said doesn't fix the issues that are within CorelDraw for Mac. The biggest issue in my opinion (and from others) is that this version for Mac is slow and uses tremendous amounts of CPU power for very simple things like typing. I can't imaging that Corel did not see this when they were in the test stages. I will continue to use parallels and Corel on windows (as much as I hate windows this works way better). 

    Yes, its nice to think of he people using the Mac but your biggest customer base was use to the way and tools that Corel presents in windows so this is what you should have thought of and those that use Corel for the first time and that have never used it on windows can then get use to using just like the others. heck other software companies do this. why not Corel? 

  • Here's the thing: graphics applications need to be designed to allow users to get their work done in the most efficient way possible. And not every user does his work in the same exact way or wants their work space arranged the same exact way. This is something I think Apple fails to understand when it forces a one-track-mind-only way of doing things onto a graphics program for creative workers.

    Consider Adobe. They've been getting some flak for not conforming their apps fully to Apple's "human interface guidelines." But that's because the conventions and keyboard shortcuts Adobe has used in their applications are far more established throughout the graphics industry than Apple's "human interface guidelines" for OSX. We're talking 30 years of established history. Adobe does not need to change anything. And if they did change things to comply it would send Adobe's user base into a furious frenzy. I've used the same keyboard shortcuts for zooming, hand-panning and what not in other applications, like the defunct Freehand drawing app -another thing that pre-dates OSX. Adobe allows for floating palettes and tool bars. It doesn't allow as much customization as CorelDRAW. But it's still pretty functional and consistent. The paradigm is long established. And Adobe's applications and the plug-ins that work with them look identical on both Windows and MacOS, which is something CorelDRAW for both Windows and OSX should achieve.

    Apple does a decent job with developing its own OS. But I think they should get out of the way of developers when it comes to the inner workings of their applications. When I am working on design projects I prefer the user interface of the operating system to stay out of my way as much as possible.

    I do not like big columns of trash eating up precious screen real estate. Apple needs to take a clue from how it messed up with Final Cut X several years ago, allowing Adobe the opportunity to become even more of a monopoly with creative software. Premiere Pro is even more dominant than ever, thanks to really stupid missteps from Apple on several points (like breaking backward compatibility with old FCP projects!). Oh, that brings up a MAJOR PEEVE of mine: Corel removing backward compatibility with the earliest versions of CorelDRAW.

    I've been using CorelDRAW for about 30 years now. And I really DETEST Corel breaking the ability to open CDR files made in its earliest versions. If you try to open a CDR file made in a version earlier than CorelDRAW 5 in any newer version of CorelDRAW it will not open at all. The file will be blocked. That is a PUNK MOVE. That is something that needs to be fixed. I should not have to literally run a virtual machine on a new computer or run a vintage PC just to open an old CorelDRAW file. The way I see it is the newest version of CorelDRAW should be able to open files from the oldest version of CorelDRAW. It is only an embarrassing failure of software development not to make that so. Corel needs to fix that deplorable problem ASAP.

    Getting back to the original train of thought, the folks at Apple do not always know best. Very often, driven by their own conceit, they demand to shove what they think they know is best down the throats of any users. Well, I refuse to have any brand loyalty to a computing platform, be it Microsoft Windows or Apple OSX. I just want to get my work done as efficiently as possible. And I'm not going to put up with egotistical garbage from some "suit" in California dictating to me how he demands I use the software to get the work done. If the guys at Apple think they're so great why is it that Adobe owns much of the graphics industry rather than Apple? It's not Apple Photoshop. It's Adobe Photoshop. A bunch of the stuff that made the Mac platform great for creatives was made great by Adobe. So I think Apple is infected with a little too much hubris right now. They need to gain a little more sober perspective on things before they wind up digging themselves into an even deeper hole than the ones they've climbed out of in the past. If they want to be so rigid on how applications can function on their platform it won't be long before others like me see that it's easier to get the job done on an "icky, gross" Windows PC.

    Corel needs to make CorelDRAW for OSX every bit as customizable as the PC/Windows version. Adobe isn't going to relent on complying with Apple's "human interface guidelines" tyranny. I prefer little tear-off palettes and custom user-made tool bars as opposed to thick screen-hogging columns of pixel-spam eating into the workspace. Apple apparently doesn't seem to get this. Their decision makers must be too busy boating around on their yachts, eating caviar and not actually using these tools the rest of us need to use to make our livings!

  • I've been using CorelDRAW for about 30 years now. And I really DETEST Corel breaking the ability to open CDR files made in its earliest versions. If you try to open a CDR file made in a version earlier than CorelDRAW 5 in any newer version of CorelDRAW it will not open at all. The file will be blocked. That is a PUNK MOVE. That is something that needs to be fixed. I should not have to literally run a virtual machine on a new computer or run a vintage PC just to open an old CorelDRAW file. The way I see it is the newest version of CorelDRAW should be able to open files from the oldest version of CorelDRAW. It is only an embarrassing failure of software development not to make that so. Corel needs to fix that deplorable problem ASAP.

    Totally agree. I complained mightily at the time but I was a lone voice. I now have to keep X5 on this machine in order to be sure I can open old files. I will need to be able to run X5 and v12 (for Trace) for evermore, so a virtual machine is going to be a requirement.

    Thanks Corel

  • Although I agree with all the principles and sentiments expressed by Stela, you have to admit that this is very much a project in development. The program is slow and does crash (something we knew and accommodated to for many years in Windows). I fervently hope that Corel quickly improves and up-dates the MAC version to produce something as good as the Windows version and hopefully better...