Some GUI- Usability Aspects

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Some GUI- Usability Aspects

Postby xray » Thu Nov 23, 2006 7:45 pm

First of all, the vectric team did a great job :D , but i'm still unhappy with some things. Let's spend some thoughts on it:

- Most of the features fom Wizard->Pro are more kind of added construction functions. They aren't disturbing, but i don't need them, too. I don't know where vectric wants to go to but i'll use vcarve as a toolpath generator, not as a CAD/drawing program.
- Vcarve basically uses inches, the user can change it only project by project. But hell, if i prefer to work in metrics, why do i have to tell it each single project? It is a setting concerning all things the program does, therefore i'd like to tell it only one time.
- The tool "offset vectors" lacks units. What is meant? Inches, percent, millimeters? I've found it out, but that's still a missing information.
- Multiple selection: Try to work with a mix of different applications and go crazy! Some prefer the shift-, someone else the ctrl- key, some prefer only graphic selection - although defined guidelines for unique GUIs exist. OK, You could mention that everyone does it his own way, that's true, but if i could preselect the behaviour in "my way", i'd be pleased.
- Right mouse button: Sometimes i think the right mouse button died with OS/2. If i select two closed outlines, what the heck could i do with it? Yes, we know, but vcarve actually doesn't tell me. Some years ago i've worked on efficiency studies and the object/property/action- model incredibly raised the workflow for the users who accepted to use the right button. Somehow people forgot ..
- Photo/STL- Integration: What is the difference between VCarve and VCPhoto? Simply the data source (bitmap/vector; yes, and many things more the user doesn't see - should he?). If i want to combine a photo and vector graphics, what shall i do? A lot of work has to be done twice - why? VCPhoto should be a plugin, and STL Carving, too. Yes, somewhere in this forum i've found a solution, but is it really convincing? One workbench, different plugins - that's the way others go and i don't think that's stupid.

Anyway, vcarve is the most valuable CNC generator i've found, but that's no reason why it should not become better. The functionality is more than good, please be so kind and spend some thoughts on the GUI.
Maybe some other users want to tell a thing or two ... ?
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Postby BrianM » Fri Nov 24, 2006 12:44 pm

Hi XRay,

First of thanks for the feedback, we are always pleased to hear what people like and dislike about the software. I'll address your points in the order you raised them.

- Most of the features fom Wizard->Pro are more kind of added construction functions. They aren't disturbing, but i don't need them, too. I don't know where vectric wants to go to but i'll use vcarve as a toolpath generator, not as a CAD/drawing program.

Seeing as Pro added 2d / 3D tabs, Bevel Edge machining with square corners, start point control, import of 3D elements from VectorArt 3D Machinist and PhotoVCarve, support for form cutters, 3D texturing and drilling I can't agree that most of the features added were 'construction features'. If you look at the original link for What's New in 3.0 (which was the changeover from Wizard ->Pro) , at http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectric/ ... /index.htm of the 9 major features highlighted (there were many more minor ones), 6 of the 9 are machining related.
You state "I don't know where vectric wants to go to but i'll use vcarve as a toolpath generator, not as a CAD/drawing program. ". The simple answer to this is that we plan to go where our customers want us to :D . Our original intention was to provide a world class toolpath generator for designs people had created in other drawing packages. However, we have received a huge number of requests from users asking for better drawing tools as they don't like swapping between packages, particulalry for simples designs. This is why we have improved the drawing tools and we will enhance them further in future releases.


- Vcarve basically uses inches, the user can change it only project by project. But hell, if i prefer to work in metrics, why do i have to tell it each single project? It is a setting concerning all things the program does, therefore i'd like to tell it only one time.


I'm not sure what is happening here. I use mm all the time and rarely use inches. The program should remember the last units you used and use that as the default for a new job. Can you contact support@vectric.com if this is not happening?


The tool "offset vectors" lacks units. What is meant? Inches, percent, millimeters? I've found it out, but that's still a missing information.


The offset tool works in whatever the current units are. If you are working in mm the offset distance is in mm, if working in inches the offset distance is in inches. We will add a label to the field showing the current units if people are getting confused.


Multiple selection: Try to work with a mix of different applications and go crazy! Some prefer the shift-, someone else the ctrl- key, some prefer only graphic selection - although defined guidelines for unique GUIs exist. OK, You could mention that everyone does it his own way, that's true, but if i could preselect the behaviour in "my way", i'd be pleased.


As you say there is no real 'standard ' for this operation so we decided to follow Corel Draw's convention as this seems to be the most popular package with our users. I'm afraid I don't agree with customising such fundamental behaviour as selection as it makes documentation and support for new users much harder if you cant be sure on how something as basic as selection has been configured.

Right mouse button: Sometimes i think the right mouse button died with OS/2. If i select two closed outlines, what the heck could i do with it? Yes, we know, but vcarve actually doesn't tell me. Some years ago i've worked on efficiency studies and the object/property/action- model incredibly raised the workflow for the users who accepted to use the right button. Somehow people forgot ..


As you say 'Somehow people forgot ..'. The problem with the right mouse button is that people often don't discover that functionality exists. The 'action first' model is simpler for people who are new to the package, allowing them to explore functionality as they can press the icon for an action such as offset or create toolpath. We do use the right mouse button extensively for vector editing (inserting nodes, deleting spans, converting lines to beziers etc) where moving the mouse back to the editing tab would be very inefficient.


Photo/STL- Integration: What is the difference between VCarve and VCPhoto? Simply the data source (bitmap/vector; yes, and many things more the user doesn't see - should he?). If i want to combine a photo and vector graphics, what shall i do? A lot of work has to be done twice - why? VCPhoto should be a plugin, and STL Carving, too. Yes, somewhere in this forum i've found a solution, but is it really convincing? One workbench, different plugins - that's the way others go and i don't think that's stupid.


There are very substantial differences between VCarve and PhotoVCarve and we have many customers who only want and require the functionality of PhotoVCarve. If it had been a module of VCarve Pro this would have made the price prohibitive and made the operation considerably more complex. Again for Cut3D we already have customers who just want to do 3D machining, embedding the functionality, even as a plugin, would have made the operation of the program more complex and again pushed up the price considerably. The 'ideal' solution would be to offer both options, but this would involve considerably more development time which would in turn have to be reflected in the cost of the product. By producing separate programs which can be sold individually we are able to maximise the potential market and hence keep the cost down. Using the output from PhotoVCarve with VCarve Pro is fairly simple and we have a number of examples of this here on the forum.

Brian
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Postby xray » Fri Nov 24, 2006 2:14 pm

BrianM wrote: :D . Our original intention was to provide a world class toolpath generator

You did it 4 sure. :D
BrianM wrote:This is why we have improved the drawing tools and we will enhance them further in future releases.

If the people asked You for that ...

BrianM wrote:I'm not sure what is happening here. I use mm all the time and rarely use inches. The program should remember the last units you used and use that as the default for a new job.

Maybe this has something to do with the circumstance that i'm still playing with the free version?

BrianM wrote:The offset tool works in whatever the current units are. If you are working in mm the offset distance is in mm, if working in inches the offset distance is in inches. We will add a label to the field showing the current units if people are getting confused.

I was confused - all other tools give the child a name. Btw, what Do You think about a percentage option?

BrianM wrote:... Corel Draw's convention as this seems to be the most popular package with our users. ... if you cant be sure on how something as basic as selection has been configured.


Yes, Corel Draw is cheap and beloved, but is it software art? No place for a flamewar here, but if there was a way to change the default ... not a "mission critical", simply a wish.

BrianM wrote:As you say 'Somehow people forgot ..'. The problem with the right mouse button is that people often don't discover that functionality exists. The 'action first' model is simpler for people who are new to the package, allowing them to explore functionality as they can press the icon for an action such as offset or create toolpath. We do use the right mouse button extensively for vector editing (inserting nodes, deleting spans, converting lines to beziers etc) where moving the mouse back to the editing tab would be very inefficient.


I don't agree with You, whatever You select or not, there's always the same context on the right mouse button. You're right, You must'nt take the "action first"- path away, but i don't see walls preventing to add a smarter functionality to the right button. Just keep it in mind.

BrianM wrote:There are very substantial differences between VCarve and PhotoVCarve and we have many customers who only want and require the functionality of PhotoVCarve. If it had been a module of VCarve Pro this would have made the price prohibitive and made the operation considerably more complex. Again for Cut3D we already have customers who just want to do 3D machining, embedding the functionality, even as a plugin, would have made the operation of the program more complex and again pushed up the price considerably. The 'ideal' solution would be to offer both options, but this would involve considerably more development time which would in turn have to be reflected in the cost of the product. By producing separate programs which can be sold individually we are able to maximise the potential market and hence keep the cost down. Using the output from PhotoVCarve with VCarve Pro is fairly simple and we have a number of examples of this here on the forum.


I'll need all three all methods (vcarve/photo/stl) to work out material. As You mentioned above people don't like to skip between applications and You're looking for product improvals. My consecution is that i dislike the idea to use three different programs for one output (mounted VCarving, Photo and STL objects) and i told You. Maybe the next step was to crack up the GUI and the functional modules, maybe You disagree, but it was simply an idea to get some steps farther.
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Postby Warren » Fri Nov 24, 2006 5:55 pm

Well put Brian :roll:

You stated that:
The simple answer to this is that we plan to go where our customers want us to .


Can you call and get me a couple of bottles of Malt Whiskey on your way home. I'm only 34 miles away :lol: :lol:
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Postby Kimon » Fri Nov 24, 2006 10:51 pm

As a user of 3 of vectrics programs (oh make that 4 with machinist) I too would prefer a single gui and modules or plugins but understand the method these individual applications have been developed and marketed.

When I first came upon Vectric at a trade show I was more inclined to go the enroute or the artcam path but Tony, Brian, and of course their affiliate JamesB have turned me into a Vectric fan and prostelizer. I find myself waiting eagerly for each and every update, revision, or new software release.

One thing that I find so true about Vectric and the guys I just mentioned is they work extremly hard at insuring all of us as end users have the most effective product for our money that is possible not to mention the best customer support I have found in any trade related software title in a long long time.

Thanks guys for all you do.
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Postby BrianM » Fri Nov 24, 2006 10:58 pm

Warren,

Can you call and get me a couple of bottles of Malt Whiskey on your way home. I'm only 34 miles away


Now what chance would there be of only two bottles of whiskey lasting a full 34 miles :)

Kimon,

Thank you for the kind words - you're making us blush :oops:

But I'd also like to say that since we started Vectric we have been honoured to have the people who have bought our software as customers. Anyone only has to look at the huge amount of helpful and encouraging posts on this forum to realise you could not hope to meet a nicer bunch of people anywhere - thanks guys!


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Postby CRFultz » Fri Nov 24, 2006 11:57 pm

Kimon wrote:

One thing that I find so true about Vectric and the guys I just mentioned is they work extremly hard at insuring all of us as end users have the most effective product for our money that is possible not to mention the best customer support I have found in any trade related software title in a long long time.

.


Well said Kimon....
To me the value is in the support...
I to own "the package" and it was money well spent.

Chuck
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Postby Jason Marsha » Sat Nov 25, 2006 1:14 am

I agree guys, VCarve is money very well spent. Tony, Brian and the Vectric team have created great software at unbeatable prices.
One of the things I can wish for in VCarve now is a parts nester. :D

Jason
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Postby lpcsales » Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:14 pm

Tony and Brian have done an excellent job and have taken the correct route in offering the different capabilities as separate software packages. Also, the main point of the packages are toolpath generation, 'not' drawing packages. Brian and Tony, I'm confident of, could get these features incorporated into the software, but at a great expense. Why spend time trying to duplicate the capabilities of seasoned vector drawing packages, like Corel or Illustrator for example, when these packages are already there, inexpensive and well learned by thousands of people.

If this capability were incorporated into VCarve, we probably wouldn't have CUT3D available now because they would still be banging their keyboards trying to duplicate Corel's, Illustrator's functionality first. Let Corel and whoever else do their thing and let Tony & Brian bring us great toolpath generators at an affordable price. Creating in your favorite program and importing into Vector is not a big deal and goes fast.

The only thing I think would be of interest to me would be for Vectric to make VCarve a plugin for Corel or Illustrator., ie. design in what your accutomed to and then cut. But even if that never happens, it wouldn't bother me a bit.

Good work Tony and Brian. You're doing it right!
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Postby Burchtree » Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:40 pm

About 1 ½ years ago I went on the ShopBot forum on how nice it would be if you could upgrade Part wizard with the only functionality you needed. I was told it would never happen. One person would want this. The nest person would want that. No software company would do that Well all I can say is WE HAVE A COMPANY DOING JUST THAT! I own VCP and PVC and have no problems combining the two .I wish I had Cut 3D but I’m still digging myself out of a hole a bad layoff put me in. Vectric offers people what they need at a good price and the ability to upgrade as needed.
I’m sure there is more to come!
Sure having everything in one package would be nice to some people.
But spending $3000. - $7000. to get it would be impossible for most people.
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Postby xray » Mon Nov 27, 2006 7:07 pm

lpcsales wrote:Why spend time trying to duplicate the capabilities of seasoned vector drawing packages, like Corel or Illustrator for example, when these packages are already there, inexpensive and well learned by thousands of people. [...] Let Corel and whoever else do their thing and let Tony & Brian bring us great toolpath generators at an affordable price. Creating in your favorite program and importing into Vector is not a big deal and goes fast.


That's what i tried to say. :wink:

It doesn't make sense to add drawing functions, everybody knows how to use "his" corel, illustrator, designworks, a.s.o.. I've checked many "all- inclusive-" packages like BESGrav, AHSoft, Type3, VisualMill, ArtCAM and even the price is not shocking :? , but their usability :shock: - You get never needed horribly implemented drawing/construction functions in a really strange and expensive package. Most of them can be driven to crash by designs with freeware fonts. That's the real strength of vectric - really stable toolpath generators/simulators (in addition the great support).

The question is, what could come next in a consequent way :?:
Actually i have the problem to sell a guaranteed throughput of mounted vector drawings and rendered bitmaps, STL objects were welcome, too. The fastest way is, to remount (with visualization) PhotoVC and VCPro Toolpaths under eMill - it delivers measuring functions and the expected output, but emill costs 1200 EUR. Stupid somehow, that only the mounting and measuring functions were needed - Your toolpath generator is much better. So You will get approximately 500 € and the mounting tool producer 1200 €. Ey, that's what You wanted to tell me, Brian :?

lpcsales wrote:The only thing I think would be of interest to me would be for Vectric to make VCarve a plugin for Corel or Illustrator., ie. design in what your accutomed to and then cut. But even if that never happens, it wouldn't bother me a bit.


Hey, lpcscales, try to program a corel plugin and become happy :roll: - don't suggest such things, it might be better ...

lpcsales wrote:Good work Tony and Brian. You're doing it right!

Yes, right, but how are You looking farther, that's the question :?:
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