Last week inside the factory we held our (mostly) weekly design pinup. These lunch time pinups give interaction and product designers the opportunity to pin up an unfinished design and have others throw darts. You know the drill. This particular pinup was not focused on a particular interface or feature design. Instead, we brainstormed on what constitutes the absolute essential skills for first-time Revit users to learn. Our colleagues in the Media & Entertainment division pioneered the concept of Essential Skills Movies back in 2002 when they released the Personal Learning Edition of Maya. This was a free version intended to introduce the product to new audiences. During usability testing, the user research team noticed common problem areas that made users stumble and sometimes even abandon learning the product. The team distilled these issues into seven 60 second movies that introduce the most essential skills needed to have a successful first learning experience. It is interesting to note, we have been talking a lot about in-canvas and more direct model interactions vs. "traditional" user interfaces such as toolbars, ribbons and menus. The problem is, our industry has not standardized most "direct" interactions, so they remain hidden to users. This technique is a nice way of lowering that initial steep learning curve and introducing features that may be, by there nature, hard to discover.
The Maya 2010 Essential Skills Movies starter screen. Notice the topics focus on basic concepts such as navigation and selection - more advanced topics are accessible from the red button.
We decided that this method was intriguing and deserved some thought on how it could be applied to Revit. Below is the list we came up with. Note: the ultimate goal is to get this down to no more that seven movies. And each should be no longer that 60 seconds. The Maya team has done a lot of research and found that this combination of quantity and length strikes the right balance. In your experience learning and/or teaching Revit, which items would you add? Remove? Modify?
- Families: Parametric, coordinated models, not just 3D forms.
- Views: Coordinated views of a single model, not just 2D projections
- Constraints and hosting
- Navigation: Mouse wheel, viewcube,
- Datums: Grids, levels and workplanes and why they are the important building blocks of any model
- Selection: Pre-highlight, ESC key, Tab select, right-click, displaying properties
- Temporary dimensions