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Benson Shaw

Daunting Jargon and Terminology

Question

Musing and Wishing about terminology in Vectorworks.

Discussion:

Many features and processes in Vectorworks have names or jargon which are not often encountered outside of CAD. Or, the terms seem to refer to things only an expert would approach even though the tools/processes are fairly easy to understand or implement. This is an issue if users fear these features and processes because of the unknown terminology and therefore avoid exploring and using the software capabilities.

Early Solution Ideas:

•Rename some items with more descriptive names.

•Continuing Education via videos, demos, speeches, this forum, etc so the terms are not so scary.

•Expand the scope and capability of the What’s This feature in VWX Help menu. What’s This should identify and briefly explain objects in the drawing, fields and options within palettes and dialogs, menu items, tools, etc. What’s This is commendable because it links to a related Help page, but the linked page does not always reach the heart of the question or uncertainty.

• other TBA

Examples:

• “Advanced” button near bottom of OIP for a Viewport. What’s This links to Help page about the OIP in general. I’m guessing many novice users fear to click the “Advanced” button because something terrible and irreversible may happen. In modem configuration, Operating System config, and other contexts "Advanced" dialogs are accompanied by dire warnings that an admin needs to be present and that changing any options might permanently damage or disable the computer. Nothing in the VP>Advanced dialog requires any special expertise or advanced knowledge. Suggest rename to “Graphic Options” or “Graphic Display Options” or???

•Join? Add Surface? Compose? Add Solid? Similar functions, but these command names do not differentiate very well. Is there good reason for these functions to be separate commands? Opinion: Join and Add Surface should be same command. Maybe Add Solid, too. Just call it Add or Combine or something descriptive. Many 2d and 3d commands have similar function and could be combined (Hats off to Kevin M as champion of this cause!)

•NURBS - Not a common word. It’s an acronym, Non Uniform Rational B Splines. But that explains nothing for most people. “What’s This” briefly mentions free form curves, but dwells on NURBS Modes. Hover box could indicate “3d curves and curved surfaces” or similar. Without a clue, this valuable but obscurely named tool might be ignored. Because of unfamiliar words certain Vectorworks processes may seem inaccessible (even though they are easy to learn). The adoption of 3d in general can be impeded for many users just because of terminology.

• Project Tool in 3d Tool Set - Rename to differentiate from the other English pronunciation eg my science “project”. This tool shares some functionality with the Push/Pull Tool. Combine them?

•Other 3d process names may be off putting. Boolean? 3d Power Pack? If unfamiliar, why bother? Why move to 3d at all?

•Resources - not a very self explanatory term. Also, it’s unclear why one thing is a resource and another is not. Experienced users are comfortable with this but may be unable to clearly define or explain.

•The concept of Types and Styles needs solid explanation. And the various implementations need specific definitions: Line Types, Wall Styles, Slab Styles, Level Types (go ahead, explain this one!), Text Styles, others?

•Site Model - Previously called Digital Terrain Model shows that terms can change from version to version. “Site Model” is fairly self explanatory term, but the acronym (SM) is not as cool as DTM. Site Modifiers such as Pad? Grade Limits - why is this plural? (formerly Fence, then Grader). Sorry, I don’t have better words for these. But they are related to real world excavation and grading practices, so maybe some better words from the industry?

Lots more. This is a general wish for descriptive terminology where possible and/or more accessible “quick help” explanation.

-B

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+100 about the terms

•Join? Add Surface? Compose? Add Solid? Similar functions, but these command names do not differentiate very well. Is there good reason for these functions to be separate commands? Opinion: Join and Add Surface should be same command. Maybe Add Solid, too. Just call it Add or Combine or something descriptive. Many 2d and 3d commands have similar function and could be combined (Hats off to Kevin M as champion of this cause!)

That's more about the interface and usability glitches you will trip over in VW

at every corner. I would be very happy if there will someone finally clean up.

(DXF/DWG export single/export multiple, Move 3D/2D, .......)

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Benson,

I love this post! All good ideas. Accessibility is key. 3d is a simple as lines, surfaces and solids :-)

3d Power Pack

Ha marketing speak from the 90s! In my workspace all of the 3d commands have been freed of their submenu and live as a group in the model menu. There are way too many submenus and dropdown. My jewellery instructor had a theory that all of his tools should be visible around him because seeing them would help inspire a solution to a problem he was trying to solve. My tool palettes in VW have been set up this way for years.

ubbthreads.php?ubb=download&Number=16388&filename=Screen%20Shot%202016-08-21%20at%208.34.32%20AM.png

Just yesterday I discovered that I could do something I thought I couldn't - use the Visibility tool to set the visible classes in a sheet layer viewport. Now if there were only something that would assign class overrides.....

+100

Kevin

Edited by Kevin McAllister

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