Posted on behalf of David Conant - Principal User Experience Designer:
A product like Revit that is moving from adolescence to early maturity needs to revisit its roots periodically to make sure that it is not coasting on early glory. To illustrate, let me turn on the time machine.
The scene: An architect’s office late 1999.
The action: I am demonstrating a Beta build of Revit 1.0. On screen we see a floor plan, an elevation, and a window schedule. In the floor plan, I add a window. It appears immediately in the elevation and a new line appears on the schedule listing an instance of Window Type 2. I delete another window from the elevation and it disappears from the schedule and plan.
The reaction: “That’s amazing, I love it. Checking window schedules is so tedious. Now how do I put the window type symbol in the schedule? No? I’m going to hate that. What about adding comments or shading every other line? That can’t be hard. I’m sure you’ll fix it soon.”
Now: It’s 2012. Revit schedules can do much more than they did in 1999. You can add new properties, perform some calculations, and group header cells together. Unfortunately they don’t provide full control over cell format, won’t schedule a generic model component, or display a window tag. “You’re killing me” I hear.
Schedules and related elements such as Legends, Takeoffs, Lists, or Reports are powerful and highly useful features of Revit. They do, however, have a number of limitations both in the data that can be presented and how it is presented. Some are the result of constraints imposed by current interface tools, others reflect deeper issues in the Revit data structure and regeneration engines. To build a better picture of how the tools should be working, the AEC User Experience team is studying schedules and related non-graphical data display tools.
As one part of this research effort, I am gathering information on how you use or want to use schedule and schedule like methods in your work. If you are interested in helping us in this, I have provided a link to a short survey focused on your usage and a request for you to share image samples of what you are doing. Samples of real work are an important part of our research. They will be used as test cases and help us illustrate themes as we explore methods to increase flexibility and capability. They need not be confined to what you can currently produce in Revit. Examples of what does not work well or appear correctly in Revit are more useful than what worked well.