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May 08, 2009


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Note: The mirror command is a split button and we have a lot of feedback about it. The current undesirable behavior is:
1. Click Mirror Drop down
2. Click “Mirror by line”
3. Cancel “Mirror by line”
4. Reselect the object
5. Click Mirror Drop down
6. Click Mirror by pick

The extra clicks are caused by the modify tools being disabled when an editor is active. Addressing this would change the steps as follows.

1. Click Mirror dropdown
2. Click “Mirror by line”
3. Click “Mirror by pick” (now enabled and cancels previous command)

In the 2009 version, you clicked "mirror" then had the choice of "by line" or "by pick". I would like this functionality to restored which removes the need for a split button.

Also, I would like the command to default to whatever my previous choice was.

Failing that, I would like two separate buttons to that each command takes a single click.

I'm not a great fan of the split buttons period, but regardless, this type of control seems unnecessary for the mirror command.

"What commands work when grouped under a split button and which ones might be better spread out?"

I for the most part would try to eliminate split buttons and the really big icons. The small icon with the text on the right is the one I find easiest to read. Having big icons with text on the bottom and small icons with text on the right makes it less consistent and harder to read. Image if the windows desktop was like that, with big icons with text on the bottom and small icons with text on the side. In theory it might seem like a good idea, but in practice it's distracting.

Going through some tabs, this would be my preference:
Component tab - Spread out into 2 small buttons
Model tab - Please add regular text and detail line small buttons
Would be nice to have dimensions, elevations and sections in Home too. Would be good to have greater consistency with similar companion products like AutoCAD Architecture 2010. The Home tab in AutoCAD Architecture 2010 makes more sense to me with the options in the Build, Draw, Modify, Annotation, Inquiry, Section & Elevation tabs.

Dimension tab - all small icons
Detail tab - Region - 2 small buttons
Detail tab - Component - 3 small buttons
Detail tab - Revision cloud - small button next to sheet issues/revisions button
Text tab - 3 small buttons (type properties included)
Tag tab - separate Keynote into tab, with 3 small buttons

Edit tab - all small buttons, with extend spread out into small buttons
Inquiry tab - measure - separated into 2 buttons
Edit geometry tab - Join - separate into 2 small buttons
Edit geometry tab - Cut - separate into 2 small buttons
Edit geometry tab - Cut - separate into 2 small buttons

Create tab - 3D View - Separate into 3 small buttons
* on a side note, Legends and schedules are views? Check out the View and Annotate tabs in AutoCAD Architecture 2010, they make more sense. AutoCAD put the schedules under Scheduling in Annotation. They also have a Render tab which would be nice to have in Revit.
Sheet Composition tab - little arrow for sheet issues/revisions... please but button under deactivate, or preferably next to the revision cloud.

Ah excellent, some focused discussion.

Some rules I would like to see followed;

1. Consistent drop-down behaviour. How you ended up with three different behaviours is mind boggling.

2. Don't group tools on the Modify tab, especially those on the Modify, Edit, Inquiry and Edit Geometry panels. These are high use tools and should be accessibly by one click only. Ideally, they should be in a persistent location, not on a variable Ribbon.

Of extra concern is the Extent and Mirror group of tools, which should each be one tool only, with options on the Options Bar. But you already know about that deficiency.

3. Drop-downs *need* to remember their last used button, like the Measure tool. Once again, in a UI where consistency was supposed to be king, there is so much that isn't consistent.
The main annoyance with this is as you have stated, the Column tool.
Personally, I have never used the Architectural Column tool, never seen anyone use it, nor have ever received a model that has one in it. Structural Columns should be the default.

4. The Instance and Type Properties buttons should be separated. These buttons have pretty much equal importance and level of use.

And finally, the use of a Structure tab (as in your screenshot) is super important, in the same manner that Revit Structure has an Architect tab.
It will enable quick easily identifiable access to Structure only tools, without have to sift through the Architectural tools. Yes Autodesk, architectural firms really do do their own structural work too. This is the reason we keep asking for the other tools from Structure and MEP! One day this practice will sink in.
As it currently is, you have Structural Wall grouped under Wall, Structural Floor grouped under Floor, and then over to the far right you find the rest of the Structural tools. They are too scattered.

The way they are grouped and spaced in Revit Structure is great, and if we had the Datum, Structure, Foundation and Circulation panels on a Structure tab in Revit Architecture, that would make me very happy.
The company I work for does a lot of mid-high rise buildings and a user can spend a week or two working on just the concrete structure, i.e. Floors, Slab Edges, Columns etc and it would be highly productive if they had just a Structure focused tab to work from.

Get rid of split tools. I don't understand how one tool can be more important then another tool with the designation of large icons. Just space them out and keep them simple, no drop downs where possible.

I would also like to see things move back to the options bar. While a contextual options bar was a great feature I've always liked in Revit, a giant contextual ribbon going crazy all over my screen all the time isn't. Couple this with some of the graphic issues I get with the ribbon and it quickly becomes frustrating. I think keeping options on the options bar and even adding contextual tools back there (again like how the mirror command used to be), is far better and more subtle then my screen jumping around.

A perfect example is Architectural/Structural Columns, split it up, or better yet get rid of Architectural columns all together and just include a bearing/non bearing tick box or drop menu. I've never understood why there are Architectural/Structural columns as 2 Different family catagories when we need so many more. On top of that this is inconsistent with the rest of Revit.
For example I don't have Achitectural Floors, Architectural Beams, Architectural Truss I simple designate that in the properties of the family.
Hopefully this gets resolved, I don't care if the existing functionality of the column is built into the "non bearing" property but it's inconsistent with Revit in general.

I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever use architectural columns, ever! (Can I make myself more clear?) I'd like to be able to reset this to default to structural.

Back on the Column topic again, given that there is no Architectural Columns schedule, and that all projects require Structural Columns for support, why would you give the customer the bum steer by giving them the default option to place an Architectural Column?

The way that Autodesk has presented the column tools, the new user who is still to understand the difference between Architectural and Structural will automatically go with Architectural because that is what has been presented to them as default, only to find out later in the project that they should have gone with Structural so they can schedule and control joins at Framing objects.
Maybe this is why Autodesk claims Architectural Columns ranked higher on their usage data reports, because they interviewed too many beginner users who didn't know any better, which skewed the data? This is the problem with gathering data from inexperienced research participants.

By giving the user the option of Architectural Columns as default Autodesk is causing more work for the unsuspecting user later down in the project. I wouldn't call this very user friendly.

Split buttons: For the sake of consistency, I would prefer to see them update with my latest choice (clearly marked icon and text description). Another example of a button that updates is the Synch with Central button on the QAT.

As to the "Architectural Column" discussion, I think you might need to look closely at the true meaning of this tool. We're really talking of a "Faux" column here. I think the term "Architectural" is a bit misleading; I never liked it! This tool might be used more as a column cover around a structural column and seldom on it's own. And to be fair, if it's used as an "Architectural" column on it's own, especially in residential applications, it's still probably a load-bearing column, isn't it? This is a hard nut to crack. Maybe the term "Decorative" is more appropriate? The word "column" could also be the problem why people mix the 2 tools sometimes. Great discussion!

Get rid of split tools. not one tool can be more important then another tool.Get rid of the Different Sizes this is MTV Graphic.
Agree "Decorative"Column is more appropriate?
I should still be able to read all Parameter in the Element Properties.
Type can be Greyed out the Switch to Edit Type
Parameters should be better explained to new users.I Should still be able to toggle between Type and Instance.
Drop Down is fine for Settings (Structural etc)

I dont unterstand, when more often used Commands get an Bigger Icon, why are Grids and Levels Big.
I set Grids and Levels in my project once and thats it most of the time.Why the Prominent Location as i would use them all the Time.

Re: The Split Button behaviors/consistency

This concern seems very simple to me. It should be consistent one way or another (preferably that the last button used sticks within the Revit session and then defaults back next time Revit is started). Why? Because in my view/mind process, a user will typically think of or find something to modify or do in the middle of doing something else, so they will go to that one little thing so that is not forgotten, then come back to that something else having to go through all clicks to get set up again for what they were originally trying to accomplish. Trying to hand pick which split buttons behave which way seems like a futile effort with all the varied opinions and workflows that everyone has which is probably the exact same reason the split button functionality has the options that is does. The Factory must have gotten some feedback (from a customer hopefully) that someone wanted more common commands to be big and stick no matter what task was being done under the sticky button. I’d hope this was not someone or a group inside with more time on their hands than they knew what to do with and decided to hand pick behavior based on data logic rather than user logic.

As an aside…although not completely on the topic of your request…ideally I think Autodesk could have saved a bunch of bad feedback with a few simple custom toolbars… then users could put whatever tool they want in a bar and park or float it anywhere they want. And as one more cool tool suggestion (and a bit, a user could define several type selector buttons that could define a custom filter object types to choose from. This would save a bunch of time scrolling through all types object to find one that you want.

RE: The settings as they stand were based on the types and the usage frequency of commands in the list.

This helps very much to understand what Revit is thinking. Wonder “who” and “who’s business model” determines frequency and how??

Re: If you access a lower frequency tool under the wall command it doesn’t take over the top level.

Again, just because it’s a lower frequency use overall, doesn’t mean its lower frequency “in the moment (or in the tasks at hand)”. I take lower frequency as you reference to mean lower over a total revit session or project session. It seems to me that frequency in the moment should be top priority rather than the other way around.

Re: If you access a lower frequency tool under the wall command it doesn’t take over the top level.

Again, just because it’s a lower frequency use overall, doesn’t mean its lower frequency “in the moment (or in the tasks at hand)”. I take lower frequency as you reference to mean lower over a total revit session or project session. It seems to me that frequency in the moment should be top priority rather than the other way around.

Re:What commands work when grouped under a split button and which ones might be better spread out?

Trying to find and example to use but I keep comming back to varied workflows/opinions argument. Maybe lets use the component tool. Component being seperated from wall, door, window, column, roof, floor, ceiling, etc. place a component vs. model in-place, seems non-logical to me as you can model in place components that are catagorized as roof, walls, columns, or any other non system family as well. If logic was to place less frequent under more frequent it would seem to make sense to have one big component button and underneath have a walls button, doors button, windows button, components button for components that don't have their own category button (hint hint!), Why do windows and doors have there on button but not lighting fixtures or electrical fixtures or casework. In residential work I place many more electrical fixtures than I do windows or doors, so I'd like a electrical fixture button, or any of the other categories for that matter. Might be an extreme look, but seems like valid logic to me.

Again this kind of gets into the area of varied workflows/opinions? How does the user "want" to work? Also is the biggest customer account getting the most weight on subjects which typically is the case? Or is the majority in numbers getting the attention?

I've used architectural columns. As Dave pointed out, you use them where you need a "fake" column or a column cladding. We've used them for both reasons. This, like some other areas is a good place for Revit to remember the last tool used. I would never place an architectural column than a structural column than an architectural column than a structural column than an architectural column, get the point. I'll place a series of one or the other, but not necessarily without going back to the menu.

The other scenario that comes to mind is that when there are only two options, even if one is less important, you don't need to hide it such as the mirror tool or type properties. The space at the bottom of the icon can be used for the secondary function instead of a drop down menu.

The Home ribbon has a lot of small icons which I'll use all the time but squeezed to fit, "Macro Security" has a huge easy to find icon which I'll never use because the manage tab has so few tools (though my favorite, purge unused is tiny again).

On the Home tab, there is a left to right hierarchy and a size hierarchy. Grid gets a giant icon because it's the only thing on Datum, fine, but FWIW it only needs to be big at the beginning of a project, after that I may not use it again until the next job. Mullions on the other hand, I'll use a little at a time but very often. They're less important than Wall, but more important than Grid... Like DoTheBim said, sometimes a "less important tool" is the only one you need.


Andre shows...A perfect example of "What is definition of frequency?... He says "FWIW it only needs to be big at the beginning of a project, after that I may not use it again until the next job."...His definition is for the task at hand or in the moment or probably the best definition to consider is with the next hour or two of first picking the command (or something similar) So I'm curious what Autodesk had in mind when they factored in frequency to behaviour.

We have frequency data though the Customer involvement program yet it can't be interpreted blindly. As mentioned in comments some commands are infrequent compared to others but high frequency to a task. Additionally some commands might have been inflated due to accidental use. I feel arch column is one of these. In an early prototype we had a "Setup" tab that contained Grid, Levels, and Column. This moved these lower frequency tools away from others but kept them organized.
In general icon size was determined by frequency within a panel and each panel was given at least one large icon to aid left to right scanning. Later feedback suggests a preference for consistent stacks of smaller icons. Only tablets users have preferred the larger icons.

Last note: almost all commands were given icons and text labels. There is strong science to show this aids learning/recognition and has the additional benefit of providing a larger target. This does take up more space but seems to be less controversial. When horizontal space is limited the Ribbon will collapse to remove labels.

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

One button size (with option for icon only or icon + text).
No split buttons.
One drop-down logic. Drop-downs only when necessary.
Key-board command to cycle through Option Bar selections.

i think the Setup Idea was a good one for the simple reason it supports learning the Revit Work-flow.Time and again i have seen New or relatively new People started a Project just like in Autocad(we will fix that later)to find themselves in a pickle when having to move or rotate the Building.Revit should have always highlighted the fundamental differences of the Workflow vs CAD to help understanding.
Type Instance is another one.Splitting the Button does not explain the difference.
I agree that Buttons with text are very helpful to remember and learn the Revit Lingo.
The Button size i think should be the same as it implicates one command is more important than the other.Somehow i cant get get rid of this feeling the underlying scientific research is aimed at Preschool.lets put a big Button with a Banana at the beginning so they know its a Banana Software.
I appreciate your hard work and listening to our ranting thanks

"Type Instance is another one.Splitting the Button does not explain the difference."

I think this is a very valid point. With the Instance and Type Properties buttons split in 2010, there is no "graphical" parameter hierarchy defined. The user, particularly the new user, sees the buttons are two different parameters sets that have no relation.

As it was in 2009, you were forced to go "through" the Instance parameters to get to a deeper level, being the Type parameters.
This should have been left this way as it teaches the new user the important differences in the parameter hierarchy.

What was needed was a shortcut key to get to the Type parameters for advanced users, which is still something that has not been addressed in 2010.

So while you may have made it easier to access the Type Properties, the workflow ideal has been forgotten. Sometimes you need to protect the user from themselves.

Talking about Type and Instance properties, going beyond the ribbon for a second, it would be great if these windows were tabbed. Rather than having big buttons with split properties, having the properties windows spread out in tabs to easily switch between them would be an improvement in the Revit UI. One button, one window, doesn't get simpler than that. Right now it's practically 3 buttons and two windows, which have to be closed to be changed.

Kill the big buttons and go back to the small ones in 2009, and then you've got enough space to put nearly everything you need on one screen. No magic tabs flickering animations or whack-a-command games at all! Brilliant!

Make it possible to run Revit with the ribbon minimized and using primarily keyboard shortcuts. The minimized ribbon is not functional in its current form. The type selector does not work with on the QAT. The ribbon change views too slowly.

In addition, I have a dual core and a fast graphics card but the ribbon changes tools too slowly. My mouse gets to were it needs to go long before the ribbon tools show up.

You guys really screwed up with the new UI. Fix it!

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