The design tools we're currently limited to are not representative of modern interfaces or focused on ease of use. Complex user experiences with thousands of tiny icons with command line inputs, challenge artists, designers, and creatives to convert their ideas into models that adequately convey and communicate their design vision. The natural evolution of software, and continuously expanding features, means that even those software platforms that once had intuitive interfaces and command structures now require users to know thousands of commands or the location of every icon. Most designers, even those very adept with complex software, flag these tools as a wrestling match where the mental load to operate prevents them from thinking about architectural design.
Further exacerbating this is an increasing pace of software updates beyond past annual release cycles, making it difficult to keep track of interface changes and feature additions.
This continuous relearning and adapting to tools, detracts from the ability of our teams to produce high quality projects under ever increasing time pressures; slowing us down when it should be speeding us up.
Software that is user-friendly, efficient, versatile and intuitive.
The AEC industry needs a set of software tools that meets the needs of a modern team producing modern designs, covering the following key areas:
Consistent user experience
Good design software must be friendly, easy to use and quick to learn; not a barrier to design. If project teams have to fight against a tool, then it is not working. Future design teams will already need to be more agile and fluent in a much wider range of modular design tools, and so a consistent approach to UX/UI is vital.
Further to this, it is recognised that the update cycles of software are becoming more granular than in the past. These more frequent updates should not necessitate a need to relearn a tool every single time, and so should focus on improving the user experience and not redefining it.
Design tools should have an intelligent and consistent approach to user experience, allowing teams to work using whatever method is useful to them; command line prompts, icon navigation, visual or textual programming, etc. Regardless of method, these should be intuitive and easy to understand for beginners and seasoned users alike.
This is split between two measures:
The time from idea conception to appropriately conveying modelled design. A good design tool should be capable of a relatively appropriate time, converting design ideas into suitably modelled, structured, and useful geometry for others. This aligns with the future points below.
The overall time to complete relevant output needed for an issue. A good design tool should be capable of swiftly supporting the development of coordinated deliverables for exchange with external stakeholders.