Author Topic: User Interface Suggestion  (Read 3880 times)

dsgviz

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User Interface Suggestion
« on: March 20, 2015, 05:59:55 pm »
March 20, 2015, 05:59:55 pm
I have been using Lumion 5 for a few weeks, and am very impressed with its capabilities and speed, however, I do find the interface rather clunky and counter-intuitive when compared with other programs.

I applaud Lumion for exploring ways to improve usability, but IMO the unique interface is a hindrance to productive work. It would be fine if Lumion was the only program you ever used; but that isn't possible since you also need to use a modeling program. I switch between Revit, SketchUp, and Lumion many times in the course of my daily work at an architecture firm, and a little consistency between the programs would enhance my productivity immensely.

I know most users love the Lumion interface just the way it is, but I would like to suggest that some customization to the interface should be possible. Other programs like Modo offer the ability to customize the interface to mimic the way other programs work, and most programs offer the ability to create custom shortcuts and toolbars. Although Revit requires a two-character shortcut key-in, and SketchUp requires a one-character key-in, I am able to create my own similar shortcuts for each program - for example, if I want to see a wireframe view in Revit, my shortcut is "WW", in SketchUp it is just "W" - very efficient, and allows me to switch programs without too much disruption in process.

Customization of the tool palettes would be a very welcome addition. In Revit, all of the tools are at the top of the screen, so I organize my SketchUp tools to be in similar locations, which helps tremendously. In Lumion, the tools are scattered all over the screen, which drives me crazy!

I agree that a simpler interface is better, but I believe that hiding buttons under other buttons makes the software more complicated to use, not simpler. I would rather have 50 buttons on my interface which would allow me to initiate an action with ONE click, instead of having 10 buttons on my interface that each require multiple clicks to initiate an action. It's kind of like having your tools on a pegboard vs. in a drawer - on a pegboard, you can see where your Phillips screwdriver is, reach for it, and begin using it. If it was in a drawer, you'd have to dig through the hammers and wrenches in order to find it - I prefer the "pegboard" approach!

In summary, I really hope that Lumion will enhance their already great software with interface flexibility that will allow users to tailor their workspace in a way that will make the transition back and forth between Lumion and their particular modeling software much more efficient.

If Lumion ever needs a beta tester for interface updates, I want to volunteer!!!

Re: User Interface Suggestion
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2015, 09:48:57 pm »
March 20, 2015, 09:48:57 pm
Hi dsgviz

Thanks for the detailed feedback.

Customizing or allowing for users own shortcuts has been mentioned by others.

Could you be more specific in regard to which buttons in what part of the interface, thanks.

Which product of version 5 are you using?

dsgviz

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Re: User Interface Suggestion
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2015, 04:27:08 pm »
March 23, 2015, 04:27:08 pm
Thanks for the quick reply! I am using Pro version 5.3.

I can work on a comprehensive list of items, but here are a few to get started. In general, I'd like to be able to complete a task with the fewest number of clicks. Most of these suggestions are so that the commands will be similar to some of the modeling programs Lumion supports, to make it easier to switch back and forth.

User-defined mouse button mapping - I'd like to use the MMB for Orbit (instead of O+RMB), and RMB for Pan.

User-defined keyboard shortcuts for all commands in the program; ability to overwrite existing shortcuts, and a reset command to restore factory defaults.

RMB to activate context menu.

Ability to select an object by clicking anywhere on the object. Having to find the insertion point dot to select an item can sometimes be a pain, especially when working on interior views, and also when 2 objects have coincident insertion points.

ESC button to deselect all.

CTRL+C to copy, CTRL+V to paste, CTRL+Z to undo. Also multiple undos.

More than 10 reflection planes. The refection threshold adjustment helps if the angles between the planes are small, but more would be better. A large curved glass façade now has to be faked in Photoshop.

Instead of having to select effects one at a time, have check boxes for every effect on the left margin, so you can go down the list and quickly check all of the ones you want. Pop up descriptions for each effect can be activated for new users. By looking at the check boxes, you can immediately tell which effects are active without having to scroll through multiple pages. And instead of pages, each effect would be on a separate line, so you can locate the effect quickly for editing. If you want to edit the effect, click on the name, and the options pop up, and all other effect options minimize back to a horizontal line (see attached image).

A "Zoom Extents" button. I always set up a camera that is zoomed all the way out, but a quick shortcut would be easier.

Keyboard shortcuts for top, bottom, right, left, front, back.

An option to toggle between perspective and parallel projection views. Parallel projection would make it easier to place lights right where you want them.

I have many more thoughts; I'll post more when I get the chance.

Re: User Interface Suggestion
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2015, 04:52:01 pm »
March 23, 2015, 04:52:01 pm
Hi dsgviz, thanks again for the detailed +1s (and the mock-up).

Everything on your list has been suggested before, apart from pressing ESC to deselect all objects.

Don't let this discourage you though - it just goes to show that you are not alone :)

We're always very grateful when new users take the time to jot down their impressions. You can only ever experience this once in your life for Lumion, so as you can imagine, first impressions matter to us!

By the way, please click here to register your license, so you get access to the Commercial Users' forum.
IMPORTANT: Please do not send private messages and emails to members of staff - unless we specifically ask you to send us sensitive information, for example License Keys.

dsgviz

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Re: User Interface Suggestion
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2015, 05:03:23 pm »
March 23, 2015, 05:03:23 pm
Just thought of something else regarding the Effects menu. The number of effects would require a scroll bar to see all of them, so active effects could automatically sort to be at the top. Or perhaps a user could choose which effects to put in the menu, and omit the ones that don't get used much. The omitted effects could always be added to the menu at a later date. Another solution would be to have square icons for all of the effects, very similar to the way you have the material libraries set up (see attached image)

dsgviz

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Re: User Interface Suggestion
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2015, 05:06:39 pm »
March 23, 2015, 05:06:39 pm
Just thought of something else regarding the Effects menu. The number of effects would require a scroll bar to see all of them, so active effects could automatically sort to be at the top. Or perhaps a user could choose which effects to put in the menu, and omit the ones that don't get used much. The omitted effects could always be added to the menu at a later date. Another solution would be to have square icons for all of the effects, very similar to the way you have the material libraries set up (see attached image)

The license belongs to the company I work for, and they handle the licensing. How would I go about getting access to the commercial forums under these circumstances?

Thanks again!

dsgviz

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Re: User Interface Suggestion
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2015, 05:10:32 pm »
March 23, 2015, 05:10:32 pm
Never mind...the link explained it!  :-D

Re: User Interface Suggestion
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2015, 05:34:16 pm »
March 23, 2015, 05:34:16 pm
Or perhaps a user could choose which effects to put in the menu, and omit the ones that don't get used much.

Thanks for the +1 (this has also been suggested before).

Another solution would be to have square icons for all of the effects, very similar to the way you have the material libraries set up (see attached image)

This is a new suggestion though - thanks! :)

However, I'm not sure if the majority of users would prefer a visual icon for each effect.

The reason is that we got quite a lot of criticism when removing the names of the Movie effects on the effect selection screen in an earlier version.

People mentioned that they had to move the mouse cursor to each effect to see which one it was via the text tooltip. Come to think of it, I still find myself using the tooltip now and then to identify a given effect. However, this could probably be resolved by changing the thumbnail images for the effects, so that they're (much) easier to identify.
IMPORTANT: Please do not send private messages and emails to members of staff - unless we specifically ask you to send us sensitive information, for example License Keys.

dsgviz

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"Advanced" interface for Pro users
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2015, 05:39:18 pm »
March 23, 2015, 05:39:18 pm
On the Materials palette, I'd appreciate seeing all of the tools on the main palette without having to click the "More" and "Advanced" buttons. Again, the fewer clicks the better!

If the concern is that too many buttons on the interface will frighten new users, how about having a default "Easy" layout, and also an "Advanced" layout for maximum productivity? The advanced (and customizable) interface could be a feature available in the Pro version to encourage power users to upgrade. Anyone willing to pay for the Pro version will likely be used to using modeling programs, and will not be intimidated by the extra buttons.

dsgviz

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Re: User Interface Suggestion
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2015, 05:46:27 pm »
March 23, 2015, 05:46:27 pm
Thanks for the +1 (this has also been suggested before).

This is a new suggestion though - thanks! :)

However, I'm not sure if the majority of users would prefer a visual icon for each effect.

The reason is that we got quite a lot of criticism when removing the names of the Movie effects on the effect selection screen in an earlier version.

People mentioned that they had to move the mouse cursor to each effect to see which one it was via the text tooltip. Come to think of it, I still find myself using the tooltip now and then to identify a given effect. However, this could probably be resolved by changing the thumbnail images for the effects, so that they're (much) easier to identify.

LOL...I am one of those that prefer text over icons, but I thought the visual icon idea might be more palatable to most other users! But yes, more descriptive icons (with tooltips) would be an improvement over the current thumbnails.

dsgviz

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Re: User Interface Suggestion
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2015, 07:08:44 pm »
March 23, 2015, 07:08:44 pm
The first time I used Lumion, I thought the huge white arrow that appears when in Place Object mode was amusing, but now it is just annoying and distracting. It would be nice to be able to turn it off, or maybe change it to a small green dot at the tip of the cursor.

Re: User Interface Suggestion
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2015, 07:32:53 pm »
March 23, 2015, 07:32:53 pm
Yes, I'm not particular fond of it either. It could do with an overhaul.

By the way, let me know when you have registered your license so we can move this to the Feedback and Ideas section of the Commercial Users forum.
IMPORTANT: Please do not send private messages and emails to members of staff - unless we specifically ask you to send us sensitive information, for example License Keys.

dsgviz

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Re: User Interface Suggestion
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2015, 07:44:11 pm »
March 23, 2015, 07:44:11 pm
Will do; I am waiting on our IT department to get the info to me.

Re: User Interface Suggestion
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2015, 07:44:45 pm »
March 23, 2015, 07:44:45 pm
Thanks.
IMPORTANT: Please do not send private messages and emails to members of staff - unless we specifically ask you to send us sensitive information, for example License Keys.