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Dynamic / On-Demand UI Display

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

I mostly just wanted to get a feel of opinions. No worries on whether this conversation will determine the very fate of Vectorworks 2020 or anything like that, I'm simply asking as I have been working with a number of other applications recently that have a different approach to UI than Vectorworks.

We hear lots of feedback about users disliking the multiple levels of dialog boxes, which I agree with. However, what I hear less often is that users dislike palettes. Often, the feedback is more in the way of users actually wanting MORE palettes (like the ability to pull apart Shape, Data and Render from the single Object Info palette for example), or ways of collapsing portions of palettes when not in use.

What I see in a lot of more recently developed software, is a large number of palettes that appear only contextually. I personally tend to dislike this, but that may just be because I "grew up" technologically with most of my software having a relatively static UI where elements were always visible and available onscreen, and changed their CONTENTS based on my selection (like Attributes or OIP) but never went away entirely. 

Fusion360 for instance, has palettes that are completely context-based by default. Even their workspace system is designed less like our system of "The workspace is for your industry" sort of thinking, and more a "The workspaces are for the different phases of design" which I like the idea of. But it seems to make the UI more difficult to learn since you can't just eyeball around the screen, you have to actively click on things, and sometimes in a certain order, to remind you that the UI element even existed.

I'm mostly just looking for feedback and starting a discussion with this, there is no particular project in mind when I make this post, hardware and software UI is just something I think about in all my various work.

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Fewer dialogs, more palettes = less friction. Good examples of this: Cinema, Rhino, Maya, Unreal/Twinmotion, Adobe...


The most frustrating thing about dialogs is when I'm starting at a blank OIP on a 4k monitor, and I have to dive into a dialog with multiple tabs. This is more often the case with every release. Good examples of OIP efficiency are all the Spotlight PIO's that third party developers designed (and are baked into VW now). I'd much rather draw stairs and ramps using those tools because they're a thousand times faster. The hoist POI is great. Also, the door and window PIO's make great use of the OIPWe all know how dreadful the notorious stair tool is. Same with fencing and railing. And 3 different types of tree PIO's... But that's drifting into continuity.

You bring up a good point with the various industry workspaces vs the Lightroom process. As parametric modeling becomes more and more procedural, this seems like the next thing to evolve. Especially, since I use every workspace, and not editing any of them results in far less deleting of the user folder/preferences. I would much rather have a palette or Menu header for each industry than have to separately and pull apart and dock the redundant palettes for every workspace. And that's not to mention that when creating a custom workspace, we can only drag one menu/tool item at a time which is a nonstarter for me (and has been for years).


Someone else pointed out how other 3D apps like Cinema display/edit materials vs textures in the resource manager (the iTunes of VW). This would also be a welcome improvement, particularly better previews.


Lastly, I have no wish for a Dynamic / On-Demand UI Display. Again, continuity... KISS.


Edited by Mark Aceto
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
1 hour ago, Mark Aceto said:

Also, what's up with the Callout tool? Why isn't it as simple to edit as Dimensions (inline or in the OIP)? Is that an architectural thing?

From what I understand, that's mostly related to how it links to keynotes for Architects, yeah. I've often seen class for a simplified version of it for everyone else.

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2 hours ago, Jim Wilson said:

I've often seen class for a simplified version of it for everyone else.


Simply adding a Note (text) field to the OIP (like the Dimension tool) would solve this vs. clicking the "Edit Note..." button to open another dialog.


Bonus: add the usual text editing options to the OIP.


There's plenty of space available on this 3008x1692 scaled display:


Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 4.16.29 PM.png

Edited by Mark Aceto
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I don't like is the new "dynamic" palette for editing in symbols and editing in Site Models. The main reason is that I can't control their location and they pile on top of my floating tool palette. I'm also not a big fan of the disappearing contextual "Display 2d Components" checkbox that appears for sheet layer viewports rendered in hidden line (background render only).



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