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24 June 2008

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» Autodesk Research on Command Usage from CIP Data from Between the Lines
The Autodesk Research group has been slicing and dicing data to better understand the top commands and then the top 3 following commands after that command and even links to the predicted next command based on the data. [Read More]

» Ribbon Lovers Unite! from Between the Lines
Back in AutoCAD 2009 we introduced the Ribbon User Interface (UI) element which was first introduced in the Microsoft Office 2007 products and now in many software products on the market. [Read More]

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IMHO the thing you should do with ribbon is to add an additional button for something like "Smart commands" which would use something like "Learning mode" that would monitor what are the most used commands that an users _CLICKS_ and place them on the ribbon under that "Smart commands" button. This would then be an optimized tool pallet of every individual user.

And why have I emphasize clicks? Because this would allow that those that like to click the icons would have in this pallet the icons of the most used commands; and those that are used to keyboard shortcuts, would have there those commands that "grow over" their keyboard shortcuts capabilities.

Everyone would profit from this as far as I can see.

In general I like the idea although I am concerned it could fall victim to the "Clippy" syndrome. (MS Office "helpful" paper clip)
Trying to anticipate a users intent based on their picks, clicks and keys can be misleading too. For example, users frequently press the Escape key multiple times. Does that mean they really wanted or meant to do that? Or is it just a bad habit? If it's a bad habit why should the system learn it, and incorporate it?

Side note with regard to: "For example we may notice that a majority of users select three commands in a sequence. By us combining all the functions into one new command we eliminated 2 picks and present all the options the users were using."

That would be great. Maybe the Stretch command will finally automatically put us in Crossing-Window mode. Especially since that is the only mode that Stretch really works in. :)

Why do you stop comments you doesn't like?

when the person is using multiple fake emails and website and then makes no sense, I dont feel the nessesity to share the same goofiness of the anonymous commenter. It is a bit concerning you would quote a survey of 40 people as opposed to the real results of thousands of real world results. They are what they are regardless if you like or do not like the ribbon.

Considering the Ribbon is the default 54% is a low figure, this means that 46% of users have found the time & effort to turn it off. I'm the CAD Manager of 6 users & I haven't told them that there is an alternative in an attempt to get them to "move with the times" & to see all of the commands that are available & the're not using. Half of these user are "proud" that they only 7 or 8 commands on a customised shortcut menu so don't even use toolbars or the ribbon.

I agree with saso a learning/ dynamic tab/ panel would be extremely excellent. For example I often use revision cloud by selecting an object which i draw first this means, with the ribbon, I have to use 2 tabs (with its inherent display lag) to complete one task as the rectang & revision cloud commands are on 2 different tabs. A learning panel/tab would, I believe, significantly increase the number of ribbon users.

Two potential pitfalls with your 54% / 46% stats:

1) It is more likely that experienced users have turned off the CIP feature than new users. That may be due to performance reasons, distrust of an application that phones home, or due to corporate firewall policies. Whatever the reason, if there are a higher percentage of new users in the CIP than are actually representative of ACAD’s user base, it may skew your stats. The same thing happened with Microsoft’s research for the Fluent interface. (see comments in Jensen Harris’ blog)

2) Your stats do not include users who may have tried ACAD 2009 but found the ribbon and other UI changes sufficiently annoying that they went back to 2008. To get an accurate picture of the ribbon’s adoption rate, those users should be included in the “no” column.

ou said... "Please send in the CIP data and also CER reports each time you crash".

Gee, I guess I'll never be sending in any data!!!

Colin,

Thank you for the comments. This is why we allow our users to essentially change the ribbon to thier liking with customization methods or even dissable it. Unlike unlike most other applications implementing the ribbon we tried to accomodate all instead of just a ribbon and no options or ways to change it.
Tearing the panels to psudo dashboards or toolbars in just one excellent example to chnage the ribbon but it is up to the user and they can disable it.

The new UI frameworks in the operating system dictate we re-architect and update the AutoCAD interface as we had several times over the past 26 years of AutoCAD.

Regards,
Shaan

I hate the ribbon but am sticking with it to give it a fair chance. Many commands like lengthen and explode are hard to find.

Gary,

Thank you for giving the Ribbon a chance. I have had to do the same as I would not place it in my top 3 favorites in AutoCAD today but most Windows applications are moving to the Ribbon.

I am glad in AutoCAD 2009 the Ribbon UI can be customized moreso than in other applications implementing the Ribbon as well you can disable it.

Best Regards,
Shaan

As far as GUI driven interfaces go, the context sensitive Ribbon is good for general workflow when you have group-able tasks, but it has the same limitations as all o the other menus we have had to date (tablet screen, toolbar, slides, etc.): any time you have to point and click, you waste time.

Having to look away from your cursor for any amount of time distracts from production, and really should only be used by novice users, who are getting used to the software.

I enforced the Ribbon on all of our users for the first full year it was introduced, and our production rates went through the floor. I have since disabled it company-wide, and production is back up. This could have been a combination of learning curve and Ribbon usage, but considering performance never really improved until the Ribbon was discarded, I place the blame on the Ribbon.

As long as the Command Prompt is available, AutoCAD will remain tops for raw productivity.

Tim,

The ribbon has been greatly enhanced in AutoCAD 2010 with contextual selections based on your task or selection as well as much much faster. Having said that, we do provide you ways to customize the ribbon or go back to the classic workspace should that meek you more comfortable.

Thank you for the great feedback and wei cpontinue toimplement based on feedback and also allow you to keep older workflows like the commandline.

Shaan

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