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Thomas Wagensommerer

Vectorworks User Interface Overhaul

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59a8698308fa3_ScreenShot2017-08-31at3_54_00PM.png.c1a63741b13bf8712fb6fcb296057775.png.137b90e078bea35e4416d16db545828f.png

 

brown - purple - yellow - blue REALLY?

 

Looking at screenshots from VW 2018 makes me extremely sad. Seemingly Vectorworks is the last application adhering to the kindergarten color scheme.

 

A design application must not use colors in the interface!

 

Look at any self respecting or professional design application and please get rid of those colors in the interface.

 

 

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Autocad2015_refined_user_interface-742x417.jpg

Edited by Thomas Wagensommerer
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3 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

I'm in the light and bright mode, too.  So User skin settings should be way to go for the different prefs.  I'm also for legibility.

 

Me too.

 

3 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

Here's some horsing around to show that the itty bitty text could be improved.  It's not a proposal, just a proof of concept for a VP OIP.  Rearranged things so similar functions are near each other.

 

Lots of great ideas here! A few things I might tweak:

  1. Move the "..." over so they align with the "v".
  2. Just put the Viewport name box next to the word Viewport and lose the "Name:" descriptor.
  3. Put Lighting Options above Date Visualization so its next to the Render settings. Ultimately I still believe the lighting options should be rolled into the Render settings and not be separate. They already are with Custom Renderworks and it should be consistent for all render modes (eg. I want to find Ambient Occlusion when I tap the settings button next to OpenGL).

Kevin

 

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Good thoughts, Kevin - This is just my thinking of improvements if the current design holds but gets tweaked.  If future UI overhaul completely redoes the OIP and dialogs, this is not likely relevant.  Mainly I wanted bigger text and click targets, plus arranging things in related groups. eg the foreground and background render area always messes me up.  I click for background render options, then when the dialog or context menu is dismissed, I have to search for  the location of the foreground render options. I think it's something about the full width bars getting more most of my attention. The ID text indicating Foreground and other items outside the bar(s) is hard to locate - for me, anyway.

 

I put in Kevin's ideas so we can have a look.  It's all fine with me.  I fooled around with pen colors for Menu and Dialog bars but it didn't add to cohesiveness. So returned to black.

 

Some comments regarding Kevin's mods:

1. Move the ellipsis (. . .)

         I don't think ellipsis location makes much difference.  The dialog bars are classed if anyone wants to play around with pen or fill. Sorry, didn't yet class the text or other objects.

 

2. Remove "Name" descriptor in Selection ID area.  

         Symbols also have an informational Name field near top of OIP,  with the Name descriptor and a Name text field (and Page/World info). So the convention of no descriptor would need to be carried through for symbols and other types of objects. Moving the Name field up to the Selection ID area is kind of a stretch.  That Name field at the bottom of the OIP in current OIP design is also used for IFC info, and maybe other info depending on type of object(s) selected. So, for consistency, the IFC field should move up, too.  Not sure what location works best.  Also, if multiple objects are selected the OIP needs intelligence to not fill the Name field, whether in current location at bottom or, per this idea, near top.  An inactive field can be confusing, especially if no descriptive/ID text.  Took it out for now, but the Name descriptor might be useful in some situations.

 

3.  Put Lighting Options bar in or adjacent to the Render controls area.

         OK by me. I moved it into the Render area.

 

New image attached.  Seems the forum image filter blurrs the inline display, so suggest Click to expand the image.

File attached for any who want to explore without starting over.

 

-B

 

 

 

 

OIP SLVP2.png

VW Dialogs.vwx

Edited by Benson Shaw
file mods

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° Yes,

visibly grouping similar things to separate from other things.

And you best (unintentional ?) idea, make these 9-dot Vertex Origin pickers larger !

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6 hours ago, zoomer said:

(unintentional ?) idea, make these 9-dot Vertex Origin pickers larger

Oh, yes.  That was intentional.  One of my first tasks in this exercise was to make those origin picker dots larger and with greater separation.  One question is whether this larger array has enough room around it to skew when it responds to non ortho views and orientation.

 

Those origin dots are a nice concept and I use them a lot, but the dots and array are so tiny!

•  I often miss click those suckers. Maybe 30% miss on 1st try? It's way more than "once in a while".

•  Then I fail to notice that the click failed to pick the intended dot - usually because no change rather than hit wrong target dot.

•  Then I make my next operation on the selected object.

•  Then notice that the operation did not proceed from the expected origin.

•  Then Undo.

•  Then hover the picker again to aim, click and verify the result.

•  Then redo the next operation on the object, and lean in again to verify that it succeeded.

 

Near start of this thread, JimW suggested that we show what we want or illustrate the problems and complaints.  Might be a call for free concept and design work, but I don't mind at all if it helps we users get what we want and need. This sample OIP for a Viewport has all the original items in same or less space, but is easier (for me, at least) to comprehend and use. The target buttons and bars are all larger and therefore easier to "hit" with a click (for me, anyway).

 

Other approaches:

• A "large print" version of existing palettes avalible via key command or a button on the palette. No redesign required.

• Invent a magnifier or a hover/rollover lens (that would be annoying!) that doesn't also defeat screen resolution or other use patterns.

 

But really, the interface is just too full of tiny little objects and controls.  Make em bigger.

 

-B

Edited by Benson Shaw
vanity

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1 hour ago, Benson Shaw said:

Those origin dots are a nice concept and I use them a lot, but the dots and array are so tiny!

•  I often miss click those suckers. Maybe 30% miss on 1st try? It's way more than "once in a while".

•  Then I fail to notice that the click failed to pick the intended dot - usually because no change rather than hit wrong target dot.

•  Then I make my next operation on the selected object.

•  Then notice that the operation did not proceed from the expected origin.

•  Then Undo.

•  Then hover the picker again to aim, click and verify the result.

•  Then redo the next operation on the object, and lean in again to verify that it succeeded.

 

Exactly !

Same as small visibility buttons in C4D object Manager :)

 

(Trick : ALT+click to switch both at once. But would not help for Bensons suckers)

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Control handles on objects need to be a different colour so it is obvious which are object handles and which are control handles.  

 

I don't use Selection hilighting because I like to be able to see what I am doing in a clear context.  

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On 1/15/2018 at 1:51 AM, zoomer said:

° Yes,

visibly grouping similar things to separate from other things.

And you best (unintentional ?) idea, make these 9-dot Vertex Origin pickers larger !

 

Yes and once similar thing are grouped allow them to be collapsed and out of the way.

It's funny to me to show position handles on a Viewport given this something I'd change on maybe 1 occasion a year and generally only as an attempt to fix a quirk.

It could easily be collapsed for a Viewport but ever one is different. So a way to set if collapsed or not by style would also be good.

 

So looking at a bigger offender here is a design review of the Space Object. Showing how good collapsible sections could be.

 

 

SpaceInterfacePNG.png

Edited by Matt Overton
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Nice Matt. There should be somebody at Vectorworks whose full-time job it is to constantly trawl through VW and do this sort of UI analysis.

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On 1/13/2018 at 3:18 PM, Kaare Baekgaard said:

 

No law dictates, that the interface of a design applications must be dreary slabs of gray, black, grey and some more gray. It may be fashionable at the moment, but I prefer to be productive in a light and bright environment rather than hip and depressed in a fashionable bore.

 

Do not listen to Thomas.

 

I am not against change as such, but let it be dictated by rationality rather than fashion, and let it come seamlessly, so that I do not have to learn my most important tool all over again.

 

I agree with this, the dark interface is not really that ergonomic in most cases as the contrast between text and background is often too low making it unnecessary hard to read easily. It would require bolder type etc. to compensate.

 

The argument using a dark grey interface for colour critical work does not hold much ground imho when it comes to VW as it is not colour managed, and it would require a fully colour managed workflow as well as well as the client having a colourmanaged workflow with proper profiles for their devices etc. , not to mention having a proper working environment as well to avoid colour casts on the monitor. I'm quite sure that 95% of the technical/engineering etc. VW users would not meet such requirements. I've seen it too often that my subtle colour gradations where "destroyed" by the client looking at the PDF export on a monitor on full blazing brightness in bright sunlight basically blowing out all subtle colour differences (not to mention that the colours would be completely off from as intended.

I don't mind having a dark grey interface, but only as an option. I've seen software actually adding a light/light grey user interface in addition to the default dark grey interface because users were requesting it.

Something maybe worth looking it as the iMatch DAM (Digital Asset Management) program user interface, which allows you to basically control the colours etc. of the entire user interface in a fine grained manner. Though there are so many options it is a bit bewildering as well, but you can save those adjustments as themes to chose from, or something like Affinity Designer where you can set the extent of lightness/darkness of the grey interface instead of just two options.

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Small but useful thing - it would be good to have the ability to print any dialogue or UI pane, either for record, for marking up corrections, or documenting standards.  Printing to the system dialogue would allow for creation of pdfs.

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8 hours ago, Chad Hamilton HAarchs said:

Small but useful thing - it would be good to have the ability to print any dialogue or UI pane, either for record, for marking up corrections, or documenting standards.  Printing to the system dialogue would allow for creation of pdfs.

Wouldn't a screen capture program take care of this? E.g. TechSmith has a screen capture program called SnagIt that also comes with an editor to mark up screen captures etc. It's a really flexible capture program and it is available for both Windows and MacOs.

This might be a more flexible option for you than being able to print any dialog or UI pane.

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10 hours ago, Art V said:

Wouldn't a screen capture program take care of this? E.g. TechSmith has a screen capture program called SnagIt that also comes with an editor to mark up screen captures etc. It's a really flexible capture program and it is available for both Windows and MacOs.

This might be a more flexible option for you than being able to print any dialog or UI pane.

Yes, screen capture works, but that is clumsy and takes multiple steps - seems like including a print button should be very easy.

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13 hours ago, Art V said:

Wouldn't a screen capture program take care of this? E.g. TechSmith has a screen capture program called SnagIt that also comes with an editor to mark up screen captures etc. It's a really flexible capture program and it is available for both Windows and MacOs.

This might be a more flexible option for you than being able to print any dialog or UI pane.

With screen capture you do hit an issue with long object info palettes. The space object above runs off the bottom of the screen requiring two images and stitching to get whole thing. 

 

Print option would capture the whole whole thing in one step. Also with multiple panel dialogue box it would hopefully capture each panel as one page in one step

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Personally I like the coloured interface, as it give Vectorworks more character than some other design applications, and can help usability. However, I also agree a fe different interface options might help solve this, but that seems like a lot of work, when there are more important things for focus on.

Jonathan Reeves is an award winning architect, author of Innovative Vectorworks BIM and professional Vectorworks & Twinmotion Partner specialising in Training Sales, 3D, and BIM.Websites: http://www.jra-vectorworks-cad.co.uk/

 

 

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I certainly hope that the following is a non-starter. This concept of embeding functionality into a multi-purpose tool is a time waster. The ability to edit one's workspace environment is where this type of action is best addressed. Create a new palette for items that one perceives as functionally similar; drop items that your usage doesn't warrant access to, but please do not embed functionality into another selection tier that must be chosen before the tool can be accessed. Can you imagine having to select a pencil tool to draw something then a pull-down menu to choose between a line/circle/rectangle/double line/etc. where circle is the first and default selection because of alphabetical sorting of the pull-down.

As it stands I am frustrated daily with the fastener tool which in VW2013 is the only means to draw structural bolts. The default is determined by a pull-down menu where the first item in the list (the default) is a socket head bolt (rarely if ever used in structural assemblies). Then you have to choose the corresponding structural nut. Which could have been a default because unless you are building a go-cart you would never mix non-structural with structural components.

 

On 2017-11-05 at 6:43 PM, Itchy said:

 

 

@JimWOff the top of my head here is a few examples of how you can from 37 to 4

 

Framing tool: 4 to 1; Structural Member, Framing Member, Rafter, Joist.

2D steel Tool: 20 to 1; (there is a tool for metric and one for imperial) Take the interface of the framing member in regards to selecting steel shape and size and make that into a tool for 2D steel shapes, and then get rid of Angle, Bulb flat, Channel, I beam, Rectangular Tubing, Round tubing, Square tubing, Tee, Wide Flange, Z section
 

Fixing tool 13 to 2; (one for 2D & one for 3D maybe?). Combine bolt and nut (Imp. + Met.), wood screw, sheet screw, lag screw, carriage bolt, hole, screw thread.

That's just tools that I can see on the "Detailing" tab I have open.

Happy to consult to VW and I can keep going, ha :)
 

 

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On 2/8/2018 at 7:23 PM, Matt Overton said:

 

A new offender to add to the list of interface missing the mark.

 

+1 Matt Overton (as usual) Totally agree!

My take is that the Graphic Properties dialog should open directly from OIP, and Skirt visiblilty should be controlled from OIP:

5a7e6f3e50eb7_DTMOIPBasic.thumb.png.6198b263c89cf94b76c142112847da5b.png 

 

And

1. Site Model Settings:

The settings dialog does not match new nomenclature in OIP:

• Settings indicates 3d Triangle - OIP calls Mesh.

• Settings indicates 3d Fill but it only applies to surface of Grid and Extruded Contour modes

• Settings refers to Sides/Bottom, OIP calls Skirt ( I actually prefer previous versions "Hull"!)

 

2. 3d Attributes each display style:

Attribute controls should include Line (color, weight, style), Fill (color,  3d hatch?, etc), Texture  for each of the various 3d display options (Mesh, Grid, Vert Grid, Extruded Contour, etc.)  Current edit options do not allow full control in each 3d Display style

 

3.  The Skirt is currently only an option in the Mesh and Extruded Contour options. Skirt is hollow in Mesh style, Solid in Extruded Contour style.

A. Skirt should be available for any/every 3d Display style.

B. Skirt should have  OIP option for Hollow, Solid, none for each 3d Display style.

C. Section VP should have separate control for Skirt - Hollow, Solid, None.

5a7e71ff37817_DTMCombo.thumb.png.536e4414c201af022f77e29b92b0152c.png

 

-B

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And, while we are on the Site Model interface:

Site Model Section VP OIP should have  option to fill the section below the terrain.

 

Seems that the Site Model Section VP has to have some depth, or the cut plane just disappears. What up with that? I wish for a cut plane VP. No depth. Solid line through the DTM with option for fill below the line.

 

-B

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1 hour ago, Benson Shaw said:

+1 Matt Overton (as usual) Totally agree!

My take is that the Graphic Properties dialog should open directly from OIP, and Skirt visiblilty should be controlled from OIP:

5a7e6f3e50eb7_DTMOIPBasic.thumb.png.6198b263c89cf94b76c142112847da5b.png 

 

 

-B

 

I don't mind the nested dialogues, specially the new style list down the side. To me it's certainly preferable to multiple dialogue boxes. 

Do agree it could be improved for faster navigation from Object Info Palette and will conceed i can see the appeal at times to have direct links. Still why can we have the best of both worlds and head towards an Interface the is rich as required, spares when not.

 

To me it could be in the form of a universal setting button. Main part of button would take you to nested dialogue, a small drop down triangle would let you pick which panel you want to jump to quickly to a panel. Having an option to expand the list into individual buttons as demanded (say option-click drop-down part fo button).

 

As for other suggestions for site model, yes it could be much improved.  

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Matt Overton said:
2 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

 

5a7e6f3e50eb7_DTMOIPBasic.thumb.png.6198b263c89cf94b76c142112847da5b.png 

 

 

-B

 

I don't mind the nested dialogues, specially the new style list down the side. To me it's certainly preferable to multiple dialogue boxes. 

 

 

I think nested dialogues help organize the clutter when there are miles of parameters to wade through.  Particularly for related parameters normally used  together.  Agreed, nested dialogues are tedious.

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My desire for OIP access to Site Model graphics is response to my frequent need to test or trouble shoot the graphics. Sooo time consuming to enter/exit the triple nest of settings>graphics>edit dialogs and rerender and repeat many times to test more options. Tracking the positions of the target field as the dialogs open requires more focus than it should. I concede that nesting is one possible organizational device, amongst many. I disagree that the current nested graphics dialog is any better organized than a direct button in OIP would be.   The graphics dialog access could also be placed in the Site Model right click context menu. 

Edited by Benson Shaw

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Honestly they should just license the C4D interface and move on. Its infinitely customizable and everyone could quickly and easily organize VW the way they wanted. Here's a screen shot of the C4D "OIP" -

 

5a7f2d3c44fa3_ScreenShot2018-02-10at9_32_50AM.thumb.png.6d91c30f950f294a734e743290bf12d7.png

 

Note that you can select two tabs at once (in this case Basic and Coord.) and they show as two sections with separators. Imagine seeing the Shape and Data tab in VW at the same time if you wanted.

 

Also note that individual sections open and close. In my screen shot "Quaternion" is closed but "Freeze Transformation" is open. In the discussions above if everything was put into the OIP in sections you could just open and close as needed. Sections you never use could remain closed.

 

You can also have multiple version of the C4D "OIP" open at once, all docked in the workspace.

 

In my opinion it would take an awful lot of work and a really good interface designer for VW to even touch an interface like C4D.

 

Kevin

 

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I think the interesting thing about discussing interface design is how to get all that data organized visually, and hierarchically.  Some of us respond better to the visual organization, others to the written data organization.

i personally like the idea of expanding or collapsing tabs - allows me to see information together that I think is important.

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The jury is still well and truly out for me on tabs.  Microsoft Office has tabs in its later versions and I still haven't become used to it.  

 

I would much prefer that effort goes into:

- updating and improving capabilities (some of the parametric objects are very old and well overdue for modernising); and

- establishing greater consistency in the interface.   

 

My pet beef on the latter is the Tool Bar data entry boxes.  Tabbing takes you to the next data entry box on the Object Info palette and the next data entry box in the Create Object dialog boxes so why doesn't it on the Tool Bar.  

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