Can I Help with The Useability Key?

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ChrisWesley
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Can I Help with The Useability Key?

Postby ChrisWesley » Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:08 am

Hi Guys,

I've been using Fusion 360 but I'm moving to FreeCAD.
Any 3D is necessarily complex and usually has a nasty learning curve.
I have the unusual opinion that one does not have to folow from the other. A tool can be extremely capable, and yet intuitive and self-guiding to use.
To the point were opening a manual page is never necessary.

Arrogant stupidity? Well, I spent 16 years workign as a sofware engineer, then a software engineeirng manager then a sorftware support & training manager for Texas Isntruments. I travelled Europe fendng off very angry engineering wh owere struggling to use our CAD software. It taught be the huge chasm between a product workign and a product being productive witrh real engineers in the real world.

I tried to evangelise on this to the F360 people. I had a couple of online meetings with a team including the product manager, but it was clear that I wasn't going to get anywhere. I'm geting old - 61 now - and I'd like to help this project transform the product into a far more friendly easy-to-learn product. I'm not asking for compensation.

I have a lot of ideas for exactly how this could be done. here is a taster:

1. Documentation is not the way. It's labour intensive, and rapidly out of date as the product develops. Ditto videos.
2. Training courses are not the way. People want to sit down and start work. I know you'll want to say "well, you just can't! Idiot!" but I think you can.
3. The key is to use the UI - the primary point of contact between the user and the software - to guide what is done.
- help text, context menus, standardised nomenclatures, underpinned by stable core design concepts and UI design conventions & principles
- blocking off wrong turns - making mistakes literally impossible.
- developing and enforcing design principles and UI standards which all new work must embrace
- design and implementation audit

Of course, with cvolunuteer contributors around the world, the development environmentmust reamin fun, inspiring and it must feed the contriubutors and guide them in ways they designed themselves and in which they don't just approve but evalgelise. They are the architects.

Is there any interest in using me in this capacity? Toe-in-the-water stuff at first, of course. Please let me know.
chrisb
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Re: Can I Help with The Useability Key?

Postby chrisb » Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:18 am

Do you want to help in the development yourself? That's what it really needs.
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obelisk79
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Re: Can I Help with The Useability Key?

Postby obelisk79 » Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:35 pm

There was a discussion in the last few days about this very topic on the Elmer discord server, which also tends to come up rather often both here on the forums and elsewhere online whenever 'free' cad software comes up in discussion.

I think chrisb hit the nail on the head. An undertaking like this needs:

Someone to spearhead the project, to include most likely the initial code changes to implement a more cohesive ui approach/framework.

That said, if you are willing to do this, I expect there are a lot of people lurking these forums who have some experience with UI/UX deisgn that would be willing to help formulate plans and workflow concepts. We could of course go down the rabbit hole on this topic as I'm sure you're well aware.

If this is a direction you are wanting to start, I suggest you open a thread in the UI/UX subforum and start looking for interested parties who want and are able to contribue in some way. I don't think you'll find anyone in the core dev team who would oppose you taking up the torch of ui/ux overhaul.
Bance
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Re: Can I Help with The Useability Key?

Postby Bance » Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:10 am

I'd be surprised if somebody that is unable to use a spellchecker, would be able to overhaul anything.

At least most of the documentation is spelled correctly! :lol:
obelisk79
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Re: Can I Help with The Useability Key?

Postby obelisk79 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:36 am

Nice way to encourage someone potentially willing to work on a matter much needed by insulting their grammar and spelling? Has this person somehow attacked your pride in some way?
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Kunda1
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Re: Can I Help with The Useability Key?

Postby Kunda1 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:19 am

You'll find that in this community we have a real diverse spectrum of experience and tastes. We have CAD folks from every single proprietary CAD solution you can think of. We have folks that come from pure GUI UX to pure console/coding UX. And we have a lot of discussion/arguments about how much FC should 'handhold' the user. As you can imagine some want more some want less. So part of the process here is persevering through the process :D

It's cool that you are interested in contributing your experience to the project. Welcome to the community. I hope you stick around, it's worth it, IMHO.
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chrisb
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Re: Can I Help with The Useability Key?

Postby chrisb » Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:40 am

Seeing all your experience I see some parallels to Agryson's work here in the forum, who worked on the UI as well: he came here as a new user, and made rather quickly some proposals for new icons, and finally reworked lots of them through many different workbenches. His first contributions gave him a lot of credibility. Nevertheless he discussed his proposals with the community, and then he implemented them. That's how we got rather homogenous looking icons.

I can imagine something similar with other GUI fields. You rework a couple of things to get some credibility, and then you discuss your ideas and make the best of the feedback.

I can imagine that a good start would be to revise the various selection mechanisms where faces, edges, vertices or other things are selected. For example, there is the selection mechanism in PartDesign for fillets and chamfers, which has already been improved, but is still somewhat cumbersome. There is a completely different selection mechanism in Part workbench for creating sweeps and lofts, and that again is different from the selection mechanism for the same tools in PartDesign, which again is different from the selection in Path workbench. (The latter is my favorite, by the way).
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Bance
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Re: Can I Help with The Useability Key?

Postby Bance » Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:30 am

obelisk79 wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:36 am
insulting their grammar and spelling?
Didn't insult anything, merely commented ironically, given the topic, that there are tools to address poorly presented text, and they weren't used.

The OP hardly inspires confidence in producing a clean UI, does it?
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Kunda1
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Re: Can I Help with The Useability Key?

Postby Kunda1 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:21 am

Ok, lets focus up and shift the discussion back to the point. I'm interested in seeing what might come of this.
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Bance
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Re: Can I Help with The Useability Key?

Postby Bance » Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:50 pm

So am I, all that experience brought to bear could solve many issues :D