Jump to content

Vectorworks Interface

Recommended Posts

Hi all,


Interface seems to be one of my favourite forum topics. This is a conversation I am having with my local distributor.


I would consider myself a master user of the app, and I am by no means asking for a dumbing down of the software. What I am asking VWI for is to start reviewing the usability and legibility of the tool. I love the new features that are added from year to year, but I feel that features are being added without proper consideration to layout and interface design.


Some examples of what I believe  poor interface/usability are - :

  • The new titleblock tool (too many front facing options),
  • The slab tool (editing is no where near a s simple as the Floor command object),
  • Rr the structural member tool (confusing in layout and how it relates to Framing Member and Columns Tools).


I may go into these at a later date, but for now a perfect example is the Pilaster object's preferences dialogue window (See my attached markup below comparing the pilaster object with an app that I believe uses better design technique in this area).


I would suggest with some input from a inclusive design consultant, and applying simple graphic / UI design techniques Vectorworks could bring more order (and approachability/usability) to an app that year by year becomes more laden with long lists of parameters in dialogue and palettes. Yes, with the complexity of modern architecture, we need more settings. But the settings should be as simple as possible to comprehend quickly. Deeper settings can be nested and revealed as required. And with the use of styles, the more complex settings are often not required to be seen most of the time.


What do you think?






Link to comment
1 hour ago, Diamond said:

applying simple graphic / UI design techniques Vectorworks could bring more order (and approachability/usability) to an app that year by year becomes more laden with long lists of parameters in dialogue and palettes.


Full agreement here.  I would love to see more visual hierarchy and intuitive use of graphics to communicate instead of row upon row of text settings.


Personally, I would be happy to see a year of product development where the emphasis was on enhancement rather than expansion.

Don't add anything to the program, just refine and polish up everything that is already present.


Link to comment
8 hours ago, zoomer said:

Of course VW would need a GUI.


I like the functional look of the "stylized" Palettes that are always shown instead of VW

palettes in the Teaser Videos when a new VW version gets released.


I think those look pretty, but they may may not work from a functional point of view. Maybe this type of styling could be the long term goal. With annual releases and subscriptions, incremental steps is the key. For now legibility and usability should be the main goal. Good presentation should be a by-product of this.


With our own work, we can get too close to it. Sometimes we need to stand back and see the bigger picture. If there is something in the current Vectorworks code that doesn't support this quality of legibility and usability, now is the time for Vectorworks to assign the resources to start the journey.


Am I being fair in my appraisal?

Link to comment

Hi Kevin,


1 hour ago, Kevin McAllister said:

The current method of incremental steps seems to be making random interface choices without an overall plan. Someone needs to make an overall plan..... at least the marketing material of the last two years has that.

Yes, the last couple of years of marketing material does show a considered and consistent UI message.


On this topic in other threads, people (including myself) have asked for dramatic overhaul of the UI. We saw how well that went down for Apple with the Final Cut Pro 7 to X change over. Vectorworks Inc only has one baby.  My new thinking is that changing too much, too quickly would not be good for the tool.


What I didn't make clear when I mentioned incremental change, is that I believe it needs to happen within a masterplan. Focusing on one or or two UI areas each year would overhaul almost all troublesome UI in about three years. In that timeframe, each software release would make these changes easily digestible.


Link to comment

Archicad went the bold way and now its there.

I am sure there were a lot of protests. Maybe even for being different than before.

I have no problems with bold changes.

Overall I think its cool.


Step by step, if a big plan is behind, is ok for me too.

But generally I would prefer that new features come at a complete state.

And there past already 30 years of development for those small steps.

One feature a year when its ready and cool, opposed to parts of 10 features over 10 years.


Of course small steps like adding contrast to fonts/ palette texts would help now to make

things better readable. Like I find the hierarchical class display super unreadable.

If there is only a tidy area where I can click to in a large white space, I would prefer some

guide lines or visible grid. And I don't understand why I have to cursor target a little

number field when I could grab the whole row to change my Layer stacking order and

such things. Or why I can't scroll my drawing or do other things just because a dialog

window is opened. Still lots of dialogs have "Preview" buttons, why not auto execute after

each input. Or the common used ENTER to input numbers will activate the OK button and

close your dialog.



Edited by zoomer
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...