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May 12, 2009


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Autocad is a linear program because of the command line. Except for a few transparent commands, you start a command - follow a set order for commands and end right back where you were.

Revit is non-linear. Probably the no. 1 reason we architects like it. I can start, stop, change my mind in mid-operation and keep right on moving. As you've found - you can't predict what tool we'll be using next. In schematics, I'm using walls and lines almost equaly. Yet wall is big icon and line is small.

There are a host of things which have to be heads-up 100% of the time - and the QAT isn't the answer. You have to be able to jump in and outy of 3D in a flash. Sure I can put it on the QAT, But the icon on the QAT is HALF the size of what the button was in 2009.

You also need to be able to toggle thin lines fast. You need to have heads-up controls for design options and worksets. Same for managing workplanes. During design, I'll bounce between wall, plane, join geometry, wall, plane, component, cut egometry, plane, component... on and on. Now I'm spending more time switching tabs than drawing. (I used to just hit PP for pick plane - but can't do that now.)

With the Basics tab open in 2009 - I could get 50% through a design without changing ANYTHING in the UI.

"(In) AutoCAD, the use of contextual tabs is limited to a handful of contexts...For Revit, we were faced with the prospect of hundreds of potential contexts..."

This should have been your first hint that one size might not fit all.

1. Classic Revit UI is contextual - but not as severely as the Ribbon. This allows the user to create persistent mental maps and predictive eye/hand workflow.

2. Imagine a dashboard: Odometer, Tachometer, Fuel and Oil Levels, Temperature and Speed. All of these are important. The present implementation of the Ribbon inexplicably hides meaningful information from the users (Worksets?).

3. It's inexcusable that no transition strategy between classic and new UI was implemented, and as a result customers must choose between a new version of software **and** a significantly modified UI.

How would I change the Ribbon?

1. Did anyone question the underlying premise that a Ribbon might not suffice for complex design environments? Then the answer may not be a better Ribbon.

2. I would start by not disrupting your customers while UI changes are designed, implemented, tested and eventually resolved. Until that time - you guys need to expose the classic UI.

Overall - this post sounds like the factory is listening to their customers. But the timing is suspect. You've allowed the horses to bolt and then inquired to the methods of keeping barn doors closed.

dido above.

The answer is simple. Keep it simple. Bring back the classic 2009 UI. To me the question should be how to make 2009 UI work better for new user and new tools. Whats wrong with pull down menus? There are a lot's of tools that don't get use so often, e.g project rotation, import dwg's, and so on, and yet they occupied significant amount of screen and clutter the screen like a desktop full of "shortcuts". To make 2010 UI better is to copy 2009 UI's functionality, and I think will turn out to be a bad copy. So, the classic 2009 UI is the best option to fix 2010 UI. So bring back the classic UI, call it done for the meantime, and lets get moving towards program improvements. It is that simple.

If a new user can't understand what's a host sweep that the program needs to say, wall sweep, roof sweep, floor sweep, bench sweep, furniture sweep, faucet sweep (you get the picture) I will really have doubts in this user's ability to correctly model a building and yet trust him/her with complex construction documents. In other words, shoot up not down.

The 3 problems you listed with the previous Options bar seem a lot easier to fix than throwing out the whole concept and then making everyone's tools jump around.

I'd much rather have a static command area (whether that's toolbars, pulldowns or ribbon) with a smaller contextual options bar.

I'm a novice to Revit, having just finished my first job with it using 2009 - I like the fact the contextual bar was small and didn't flash at you when it changed.

I echo the sentiments above, but I would also like to know how Autodesk will be addressing the sloppiness at which the Ribbon refreshes?

Because the Ribbon is so contextual and with so much information hiding on it, especially when it comes to the Type Selector, there is a noticable delay. Just the shear slow regen speed of the Ribbon is enough to decrease productivity.

It feels as though Autodesk has put *far* too much emphasis on getting too much content into the Ribbon, it's at the point that it can't sustain it's own momentum.

Once again this is a case of taking a UI from one application like Microsoft Word and trying to implement it into another, Revit.
In Word, the user has less interaction with the UI, the same goes for AutoCAD as you have mentioned;
"AutoCAD, the use of contextual tabs is limited to a handful of contexts (picture, table, MText, etc.)"

But in Revit which as you say has over 800 contextual commands, and throw in the fact that the user has access to shortcutkeys which means they can activate commands quite quickly, gives a result which is a disaster as the Ribbon is unable to keep up.

The Ribbon is not suited to Revit, and should never have gone down this path. That was mistake number one!

Oh, and also what is being done about the blurriness of the Ribbon?
I don't get this when using the 2009 UI.

As Aaron said, in 2009, with the Basics tab open, most needed commands were always visible.

I realize it's not the feedback you prefer, but if we could return to the 2009 UI for now, and make gradual improvements to it, that's what I would like.

As things stand now, I would at least like the ribbon redone so that the each tool is the same size and each tool is always in the same place. But overall, we need more commands visible all the time.

I like having a strip of toolbars with commonly used commands in any program. Right now the only thing similar to this is the QAT, but it is not meant to be the same, it is much smaller and probably intended to have just a few commands. It seems limiting that the ribbon interface has been implemented so faithful to the original Office ribbon, without alternatives to improve or adapt that interface to a different type of program. I find it absurd to compare Word to Revit; apples to bottles. I am curious as to why the Ribbon was selected as the ideal solution for Autodesk? Microsoft doesn't even use it in their professional programs, like the Expression programs ( which looks more like Adobe professional programs.
The dynamic ribbon is distracting. I don't need to or want to see EVERY command while I am working. I preferred the static UI like the one in 2009.
Ideally I would like to see customizable toolbar button sets, like in 3ds Max, so I can minimize the ribbon and only pop it out when I need it. If the Options bar HAS to be there, please give it more functions, even if it repeats ribbon functions. Right now it has been stripped of purpose and I have been asked the question around the office of what is that bar below the ribbon. Looks like an unwanted remanent occupying a lot of useful screen space.

I'm with everyone else, I believe at this point your best effort should be placed in bringing back the 2009 UI, we all know it's still back there as various errors people have gotten show bits of it.

Secondly is the issue of constant changes in the main design bar. Big and flashy and things all over the place. I understand where you guys were wanting to go but the reality is the changes are too big. Compared to the options bar being contextual now the whole top of your screen is.

I think for improvements we need a persistent toolbar that contains things like (type selector, worksets, workplanes and other commands) I know you can put these in the QAT but I woudl rather a dedicated toolbar.

Secondly put as many commands as you can back onto the options bar, I would prefer a small bar changing contextually as opposed to your main toolbars. Icon sizes need to be fixed, and allowing for the ribbon to be placed on the left and right sides of the screen. Since this was the way Revit used to work I don't understand why this wasn't included, especially when you get a whole lot of wasted real estate space in the top left on wide screens.

Also why try and just fix whats broken? What about persistent property dialogs? more icons related to the curser (pressing shift and having icons come up near the curser i believe chad shared some good comments about it somewhere). I mean these could have elimated alot of the contextual ribbon and made everyone happy.

Just fixing it is not enough we're more then happy to embrace a new UI as long as it embraces us and our needs. It's unfortunate that almost all commentors have suggested the best bet is an option to switch to the old UI, but we can't see anything else happening to improve this in the meantime.

When I select a Floor object, the Floor Properties button is on the far left and it's called Element Properties.

To modify the shape of this floor, I need Edit Boundary, which is in the middle.

When I'm editing the boundary, the Floor Properties button is now on the far right, next to the finsh/cancel buttons.

2009 wasn't consistent about this either, but 2010 is even worse.

I'll add some text in this comment, as my last one got removed. This image illustrates a few of the problems with the contextual tabs:

As an aside, I was just in the 'big R' menu and found I could mouse to a command before it decided to grey out. This sloppy UI responsiveness is unacceptable!

The verdict is still out for me on the Ribbons themselves... But there is no doubt that in therir current incarnation, they arent very intuitive. Im not certain the ribbon cant be successful for what were doing, but i AM certain itwould at least half to be HALF ribbon HALF static, or something therein. Whether im in a wall model, a Filled region sketch, a floor sketch, or NOT in a command at all... Trim is Trim. It has to be in the same place.

I would start by taking every command that is used in multiple facets. They have to be static. Finish Sketck / Cancel / Mirror, etc. If theyre not always in the same place, we waste time. Swtch Views / The old window drop down. MUST be visible at all times. Worksets dialogue, SAVE dialogue. (I dont care what you call it, but put it back in the file menu, and get it out of a hiding ribbon please... This is a model management nightmare)

MORE IMPORTANT than the new UI to me, however... Is that revit seems to behave erratically this release. I hit Edit Family, and if i whack the spacebar right away (to hit yes to the "do you want to open this family for editing" it will start to open the family, then give me that pop up window AGAIN. When i hit Load in to Project from the FE, its 50/50 that it will load and go back to the project,as i expect it to, and half the time it will load it in the project but stay in the family view. What the heck?

Functionality was changed in which views open During Duplicate with Detailing and Duplicate with Dependant (but the nice folks at support assured me it may get put back, as it may have been accidental, they werent sure).

The UI is one issue, but im not sure its the only one.

Having listed a bunch of negativity, ill say this: We are using it, and its not an extreme detriment. It shouldnt be one at all, but it just needs some tweaks.

FWIW, some OTHER things that have been suggested on AUGI would be great add ons to EITHER interface, the new or the old: Type properties being ONE click. (not one menu, one CLICK.) Double clicking for editing things like Floor sketches, Families, etc.

NON MODAL PROPERTIES BAR. I wouldve sworn i SAW one in action on someones computer at AU, but maybe it was inventor, or some whacky hybrid program.

Oh lord, and the old type selector. Give it back, please. The previews arent valuable to me, but screen real estate and scroll efficiency is. I dont even want Recently Used. If it has to be there, let us define it in the Settings > options. Same with previews. I want those names crammed RIGHT up against one another, so i can flip through them with ease. Its harder to read this way, becuase you cant see the differences in the names as clearly, since theyre so far apart...

All in all, (though i sound negatory) i dont think its that bad. But some of these are SUCH simple fixes...

I think if you want to do improve things you should do two things:

1. Bring back the classic UI (or allow a choice between it and the ribbon). Allow ME to decide what I show, or not. I should have what I need, at any time, not when Revit thinks its time. For example, right now, I hate that when I type the shortcut for trim, I have to search for the right ribbon in order to change the trim method.

2. Improve the dialog boxes and the tedious digging down, digging down, digging down that we have to do. I like the floating palettes of AutoCAD, with scrollable areas, like in 3ds max.

I think Contextual commands should be in the Option bar but also in the Right-click menu the Option Bar is fixed and can be used to teach people and write tutorials, whereas the right-click menu should be customisable like in 3D Max where you can add for instance Modify and other commands also Plugins.This will give both (Customizable non customizable)Camps what they want.
Don't try to fix the contextual taps they are fundamentally flawed as you kind of suspected in the beginning of your journey.
How can you decide the place for 800 commands for 400 000 users? considering that you've done actually a really good job.
It just ain't gonna fly Me think

I am with everyone else here.

The current UI is poorly designed and poorly delivered. If Autodesk feels that the Ribbon is a good way for them to up sell from AutoCad to Revit, then that is fine. But it should not be at the efficiency expense of the existing users.

As a matter of priority, I urge AutoDesk to provide WU1 with both the ribbon and the 2009 GUI. With this in place the Ribbon can be finesse d into a solid workable UI with no efficiency losses. Once this has achieved, you will undoubtedly find that the vast majority of Revit users will adopt it without complaint.

I am not anti Ribbon, I am anti a UI which is less intuitive and makes me less efficient.

I am also with all these comments. I've used the ribbon for a few months now - first I thought OK looks fresh - but then I realised what a mess the whole thing is. Different sized Icons - thats pointless, icons moving all over the place, poor refresh rate of the ribbon.
The UI may work for marketing - yes it looks good - the idea of context is sellable. It might be good if it worked. Please give us a choice old UI or the ribbon. For the first time since I started using Revit v3 I have been driven to look at what has been happening to other BIM 3D products out there. They have moved on, I don't really want to, so please put what wasn't broken back.

I have just chased the check box for "Finish Path," "Finish Sweep," "Finish Family" for the nth time.

In addition to the "whack a mole" motion of the check box, the "Finish Family" ribbon seems to do a quick regen and extra relocation of the check box that adds to the fun.

I want the check boxes on the leftmost position in the ribbon or at least somewhere that prevents them from moving. This is particularly needed for this command, because so often, I want to click out of multiple ribbons by leaving the mouse in the same place.

Unfortunately, it seems that no one asked "what was good about the old UI" in order to learn what ideas might be worth keeping.

The limitations described seem to be primarily limitations for NEW users, rather than users. Everyone is a new user for a few weeks, but after that, they are just users, looking for ways to be more efficient. Every time they have to take their attention away from the task they are trying to accomplish in order to evaluate the interface's options, they have interrupted the flow of ideas and the rhythm of getting things done. A mostly static interface is easy, since once you know where everything is, use becomes reflexive. An interface that changes requires one to learn every state in order to build the mental maps so necessary to fluid use. Thus we went from one state with a few changing options, to "hundreds". No wonder there is backlash.

This points to what I see as a fundamental problem with the ribbon for Revit: Microsoft created the ribbon as a way to empower the casual user of it Office software, which is by far the largest set of Office users. How well it does this is debatable, but as fundamental design decision it seems like a reasonable goal given the user base. I'll note that MS did NOT apply the ribbon across all of their product lines, because it is simply not appropriate for all types of users, or all types of software.

Revit has a much different purpose, an entirely different type of user, and further, it's users have an expectation of needing to learn to build expertise. Thus, it's interface must have different design goals. It appears, however, that the goals for Revit's new UI were that it 1) be new, 2) match other Autodesk products, and 3) make it easier for new users to learn. The assumption apparently was that the old interface was inadequate, and only a total recreation could improve things.

The reality is that the old interface had some merit. What it needed was updating and improving. The idea that one interface fits all Autodesk product lines is an abject failure. The things that my users object to (about the old interface) relate to the numbers of layers one often needs to traverse in order to get to the desired property. Exposing the layers would be a priority for us. When the users hear "new interface" they first think "Great!", but when I show them that the dialog boxes have changed not one bit, they are crestfallen. Then they eye the ribbon, and after a demo, are downright discouraged.

I concur with most of the other opinions stated here, but want to add that in my opinion, the idea that the WHOLE interface be contextualized is nuts. Nowhere is this more evident than the keyboard shortcuts, where one now has to define a given shortcut multiple times, if it appears in multiple contexts. Trim, for example, appears in nine places. This is simple inexcusable. The Trim command is always the trim command, no matter what context calls it. It only cares if valid objects are passed to it.

Lastly, the problems stated with the Option Bar did not even change, other than that some content moved to a contextualized ribbon. Otherwise, it is the same size, same color, and the same overall width (full window, so all interface elements share the width limitation, anyway).

I'm working on some suggestions for improvement; I'll try to post those later.

I've finally started to become used to the ribbon, but there's something that still bugs me.

When you mouse over different segments of the ribbon, there is a very slight, almost indistinguishable animated movement of the background gradient. It serves absolutely no purpose and it adds needlessly to the amount of time it takes to load and unload ribbons. It absolutely has to go. I'm sure no marketers will be crying into their pillow at night over its absence, especially because its almost impossible to notice.

If I had the ability to turn it off, it would have been the first thing to go, just like every animated/transparent UI feature in Windows XP that I disabled. I have only work to do, and I don't care what it looks like.

When people come to our firm we like to give them presentations on the use of Revit. Some people will stand around the computer while I navigate. Nobody, EVER, will say "What a good-looking toolbar!" They are interested in seeing the operation of a tool. Embarrassment proceeds every time there is a slight lull in the process. We need these people to see that we're productive and efficient, and periods of several minutes of staring at an hourglass make them a little uneasy about how we're spending our work hours down here.

It's a tool. It only needs to be as pretty as the construction equipment that will end up building the structure.

Still the best product there is, though, and I stand by new and old versions 100% (and have the same number of complaints about each) But remember that the majority of the users want function, not form.

I too feel that there wasn't any consideration given to the old Ribbon when making the new. I had to laugh when I read somewhere that the new ribbon would only be horizontal, because they couldn't make it work vertically. Because it worked just fine before. My tools to Create were on the left hand side. My tools to Modify were across the top. Very simple and elegant. Once I explained this to new users, it made the teaching process much easier. And the options bar expanded all the tools so well. I've been working with the new Ribbon since it was released and I still find my mouse wandering around looking for the right place to click.

Revit is on the forefront of Building Information Modeling. It is the standard that many people use for comparison. Revit should be on the forefront of the User Interface as well. Not trying to rehash one from a word processor.

I would tend to agree with Phil. I think there is a serious flaw in the presumption that you should only show commands that are active relative to the context of the immediate available functionality. As Phil stated, this creates a major issue with associating where to find commands, and as others pointed out this creates even more of a problem if you want to quickly change to something that does not apply to current context. As "designers" it is in our nature to quickly move through a thought process, and that plays out when working in the computer. I may select and object with the thought of doing one thing, but then quickly change my mind and do something else. The problem I suspect is that your research in looking at journal files and how often commands were used didn't really bear this out. If you were looking at statistical data all you would have seen is that a user activated a command, did not complete a transaction, before moving onto another command. This could easily be mis-interpreted as sign that the was having trouble locating the command, had inadvertently chosen the wrong command, or the information was simply disregarded. What the statics don't show you, and what you don't get without longitudal testing is the thought process that went on the users head that explains the command sequence. I beleive that you really are missing quite a bit of valid feedback on why and how your users interact with the software, and I fear that your statistical data and limited interviews/tests bore out one thing, which is quite different from the everyday use of the majority of users. To make matters worse, you're now collecting data on the 2010 interface where users are forced to work in way that is not fluid for them, and they will do a number of things to deal with the issues they encounter, but this means you loose the ability to understand how users were working in the previous UI. Discoverability "may" have been an issue in the old UI, but the problem you've created with the new UI is effectiveness for an experienced user. Maybe you could not simply "throw" a body at Revit, but with good training the old UI was not a hindrance to effective use of the tool, you need to revisit the old UI data with that fact in mind, and ignore the issues of "learnability" and "discoverability".

I think that many of the placement issues could be resolved my adding more functionality to right-click menu options. I presume that many if not most revit users are on two monitor configurations. One of the frustrations with the old interface is that you have to go all the way to the far left edge of the left monitor to hit the finish button, quit, pick, etc. Many of these types of commands would be much better access by right-clicking.I could also see expanding righ-click functionality by adding an additional Alt key + right-click menu.

I should just point out that the limited number of contextual tabs in AutoCAD 2009 was nothing to do with the command line, and little to do with it being a "linear" program. It was because there wasn't enough development time to add all the contextual tabs intended (there wasn't enough time to finish the Ribbon generally or AutoCAD 2009 as a whole, but that's a discussion for another time and place).

There are more contextual tabs in AutoCAD 2010 than in 2009, and I expect there will be a bunch more in 2011. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen.

I should also point out that Ribbon angst is not confined to Revit, Autodesk, or even CAD. Introduce a Ribbon, and people will complain about it. Reaction on my blog and elsewhere tells me that large numbers of AutoCAD users hate their Ribbon too, and for many (but not all) of the same reasons. This, even though AutoCAD users still have the old interface available.

I've been using the new 2010 UI in production for almost 2 weeks now and have tried to give it a chance. I have also been playing around with AutoCAD 2010 which has basically the same UI as Revit. There's a nice "AutoCAD Classic" workspace available in the status bar. The icons are on toolbars and are fundamentally the same icons as in previous versions. In Revit 2010, not only have the tools moved, but the icons have been changed AND some of the labels renamed. I find I'm getting lost with some commands, but would probably be more if I didn't use keyboard shortcuts for frequently used commands. This is evident when you have to teach or present something in Revit - keyboard shortcuts are not helpful and I find myself hunting for tools. Definitely more clicks than before, via the addition of the ribbon AND the 'grouping' of some 'related' tools. Maybe it's debatable if you consider switching Design Bars in total 2009 clicks, but the bars weren't automatically managed by Revit.

Some reorganization has been sensible, but I agree we need persistent tools somewhere other than the QAT. Off the top of my head, the Edit panel, Cut/Copy/Paste, Worksets, Annotate...kinda sounds like I'm describing the Design Bars, right?

There is also a noticeable delay in accessing the ribbons - more so when I have a large model open - hmmmm; however, I noticed that the ribbon in ACAD 2010 is even slower than Revit 2010 even without any data open.

I could go on...(which I might soon on my blog), but I think the "Revit Classic" workspace would be a welcome addition for now. Let's also look at some form of ribbon + persistent palettes which is neither Office nor AutoCAD, but REVIT!

One thing I would say to take a look into is look at all the Adesk products (exclude any recent purchases, Navis, Ecotect, etc). We have users that use Revit one day AutoCAD the next and AutoCAD Arch the followng day. Then throw in a little 3ds Max and a little ADR and they are in many programs in a few days. Are they experts in each one? No, but they always have a question where a specific tool is and "it is like this in AutoCAD but not the here in Revit". While the UI may not be exactly what everyone wanted to see it was necessary. It ties all the products together just like Microsoft did with their office suite. Just some food for thought. By the way when AutoCAD first did the ribbon in 2009 products it was not accepted with open arms, but people are now adjusting to the new UI and preferring it. Plus it is not as big as issue as the main Revit gurus think it is (you know who you are), this is the first time Revit users have had a major UI overhaul, for AutoCAD and Max guys this would be our second so maybe we are less defensive. By the way there is no Office 2007 classic, only 3rd party developers offer the classic experience. Offering a classic look is nothing more than a band aid for a much needed overhaul, and Office 14 is a Ribbon based UI so I would hate to say Ribbons are here to stay.

Lastly I am going to leave with this quote by John F Kennedy which seems fitting based on the subject matter. "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."


While the ribbon is here to stay for MS Office, I note that even Microsoft doesn't use it for every category of software: not for IE, not for Visual Studio, nothing else, really. I think it is clear that the ribbon is not a one size fits all solution.

Regarding change, I believe that Revit users are absolutely dying for change; they have great enthusiasm both for what exists, but also the potential not yet realized. Frustration with the ribbon is thus compounded by the lack of substantive change elsewhere in the product. So we get a major, unwelcome change, and very few of the hundreds of desired changes. Change the interface? Heck, give us a floating, auto-hiding, properties palette a la Autocad, and a step forward would be taken, or providing more than sort tools for organizing and viewing the project browser, but...

The big question is where to go from here. My belief is that the problems inherent in this particular design of ribbon UI are fundamental in nature, and thus applying a quick fix is unlikely a path to success. To evolve or reinvent the Revit interface in a manner that will generate enthusiasm among users will take time. But something absolutely needs to happen in the interim; if Autodesk acknowledges that major changes are needed, it is then unfair to ask users to learn a massively different and temporary interface, with the expectation that they will have to do so again.

So invoking the pre-2010 interface seems like the best near-term solution.

Failing that, an effort needs to be made to de-contextualize much of the ribbon; commands that appear in multiple contexts are generally speaking useful enough to have a permanent home. A portion of the UI needs to be static. A portion of the UI needs to allow the user to expose required tools as needed. And a portion of the UI needs to change depending on the active tool and/or context. Sounds like a major re-design to me, and thus a longer term effort.

Re-enabling the "classic" UI could probably be done before any sizable rollouts of 2010, and thus provide a bridge to the future, actually improved, Revit.

Respectfully, your JFK quote here does not apply here. To suggest that we are not looking forward is simply wrong.
We are exactly looking forward. We know our Revit (unlike your users - seems like) that we can quickly realized that a wrong path has been taken. The new UI is simply not efficient, a total contradiction of what the software promises. We want it fixed. After all, we are humans and we make mistakes. To assume that everything imposed upon us is great and we shall take it for what it is and shut up is simply wrong – being content does not moves ones forward. We should be smart enough to not confuse progress with movement. We believe in what BIM can offer, and we are certainly passionate about this future. It is through total understanding of the task at hand that we can move forward.

I have been using Revit 2010 for the last couple weeks. It is a frustrating experience.
I really haven't time to sit and write every single thing that is wrong, but the overall experience is slow, inefficient and frustrating.
The Ribbon is wrong. It is slow to activate, hides tools that you need all the time, changes the location of identical functions, etc. etc.
I find myself actually reading the text under the icons because I cannot be sure I have the correct function. The Ribbon makes the workspace a shifting, changing, unsure place instead of a solid space where every tool is in the right place ready to grab. When I am working quickly the last thing I want to do is wait for the Ribbon to catch up, and that is what I end up doing.
Hiding tools that need to be persistent is the greatest frustration. Why in the world would anyone see this as a good idea? Having to change tabs to load families or switch windows, or activate thin lines? These are not contextual.
The Ribbon may work for a word processing application, but it doesn't work for AutoCAD (same problems as Revit) and it certainly does not work for Revit.

Frustration item:

"Openings" can be cut in walls, floors ceilings and roofs. When I select a wall, floor, ceiling or roof, I should have immediate access to this tool. Instead, I have to select the wall or floor and then pick the modify ribbon. Why? This makes no sense. Adding to the nonsense is that if I pick an extruded roof I can cut a vertical opening in it without going to the Modify tab.
Why the special case for extruded roofs?
(This tool was taken off the option bar, renamed and relocated without so much as a hint to the user).

Join/Unjoin roof. This should be available anytime you select a roof. What is the context of this tool if it is not "modify roof"? You cannot modify anything else with it but a roof so why not put it on the tab that appears when you select a roof?

JoeF, the primary reason why Join/Unjoin Roof is not on the Roof contextual tab is because it is an action > object tool (as opposed to an object > action tool, like Move, Copy or Rotate.) That is, you initiate the tool and then pick the two objects to join/unjoin. This is existing Revit behavior; selecting this tool would "kill" the tab and clear the selection. That said, it is not preferable. we have internally debated this distinction quite a bit and are looking into ways of clarifying the distinction or doing away with it altogether.

When I am working on a roof I want all the tools that can modify a roof near at hand. Since I have already selected the roof, it is clear I intend to do something to it, so I get a tab that is labeled "modify roof". To then have to select another tab to actually get the tool I need to modify the roof seems unnecessary to me. Since the ribbon is not very quick to refresh (at least on my machine)these extra clicks are even more noticeable and add to a feeling that my workflow is being hampered by the interface. When I am working quickly I want to go straight to a tool not to a tab. The QAT is too small, though it does help.

The "typical" Revit Architecture user is not a Revit guru, is not a "computer person", does not have the time, interest, or energy to customize their UI, and just wants to design a building.

Revit had always been the tool "for architects, by architects." Now we have a tool that is converging with older software such as Autocad, which relies heavily on user customization of the interface in order to be productive. Architects are not usually computer-savy. They're over-worked, under-paid, don't have a drafting department, and just don't have time to figure out all the little perks of a piece of software.

The beauty of the UI up until the 2010 release was that it was simple. You didn't need keyboard shortcuts to be extremely productive. All the main tools you needed were staring you in the face, never moving, never changing, reassuring, comforting. Now people are going into sensory overload with the constant changes!

The "average user" seems to have been largely ignored in this release... I am truly baffled by this design for a user interface. Someone else mentioned: Revit is not as fun to use now. I have to divert brain power to figuring out software - architects hate that.

Again, greatly appreciate that Autodesk is reaching out in this way!


Frequently used tools, particularly editing/modifier tools, are buried in ribbon.

Takes too much brain power to use ribbon - looking for tools, constant distraction of panels changing and moving, interruption of work flow and everything else that's now been said a hundred times.

Try adding an in-place model sweep. See how many steps and contextual panels you go through. It's mind bending.

Also, Revit is no longer fun to use.

Benefits: None.

Please bring back the old UI and improve that instead. If you're not going to do that, get rid of the contextual part of the ribbon and add back the toolbars. If you're not going to do that:

Have a SINGLE contextual panel with all the editing/modifier tools on it (gray out tools that aren't currently accessible). This single contextual panel would be persistent whether an object was selected or not.

A bit more on this topic:
Here is just a short sample workflow.
Masking region. I draw a masking region and after I draw it I want to change half the linework to heavy and half to invisible. I select a line and change it to heavy, then use the Match Type tool to change other lines to heavy as well. There is no Match Type tool on the toolbar so I have to go to the "Modify" toolbar. I change the lines, then proceed to the next step which is to change some other lines to invisible. I select a line and .. oops I cannot change the line from here, I have to go back to the "Modify Detail Item" - Edit Boundary " ribbon. I change a line to invisible, then it's back to the modify tab to get the Match Type tool, then back to the "Modify Detail Item" - Edit Boundary to finish. Whew. I know I could work differently, and I am working differently with the ribbon, but I think the idea that a Ribbon interface can correctly anticipate all the different work flows so tools are always where they are needed is overly optimistic. We need tools that are exempt from context so they can always be at hand.

Hi guys.

I have noticed that when we are using the contextual tab to create any in-place family using Solid Blend, we miss the Work Plane panel which is very important while using this command.

I don't know if it is also missing on the other contextual tabs, but I would suggest you to add it to them, or else we would have to change to the Home tab in order to set the work plane to a different one.

I am finally enjoying the new Ribbon.

Great job!


Mr. Haley Bueno

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