An open letter to AutoDesSys
FormZ is, in many aspects, an excellent piece of software with many powerful tools - and leads the field in many respects. However, I feel there are significant issues with the interface that let the software down and make it uncomfortable to use - and need to be addressed:
The 'individual floating palette' style of GUI is dated and inconvenient.
The workspace and palette management system can only be described as broken.
There are icons and other interface graphics that are so badly 'designed' they are unreadable.
Having used FormZ, admittedly on and off, over many years I get the impression that GUI / interface / workspace matters are not given the consideration they deserve. They are important. Fighting the interface of software you use on a daily basis becomes a very tiresome affair.
To me FormZ is like the car that has had attention to tune the engine, improve the brakes and refine the handling; but the drivers seat is terribly uncomfortable, the pedals are in the wrong place and the instruments are hard to read. No matter how the performance is improved, the car remains uncomfortable, difficult to drive - and will be less than popular.
Looking through the forums it is clear that interface / workspace and related issues have been raised on multiple occasions, by numerous users, over an extended period of time. Yet there seems to be no significant progress.
I was hoping that v8.5 might address some of these issues, but it has not. It seems odd to me that development time is being spent on new features, while no progress is made on the GUI / interface / workspace issues that are clearly of concern. It feels to me that the maths, computing science and technical challenges of developing new tools and 3D constructs are considered so much more important than the design, functionality and aesthetics of the interface that the latter constantly gets marginalised in terms of development time and effort.
Improving the GUI, and workspace management should be a priority. It is a weakness of the software that masks many of it's strengths. I know of people that take a look at FZ and reject it due to the interface. Addressing these issues should pay dividends for AutoDesSys as well as for current users.
Personally I've been considering buying an upgrade to my current FZ licence for some time - but I am very reluctant to do so when the interface remains so frustrating to use. Perhaps I'm not the only one.
Written in a spirit of constructive criticism.