I hesitate to cover this subject because my understanding of Revit is very close to nil. I’m going to cover it anyway, because it relates to the Does Autodesk Listen? theme that I’ve discussed here in the past.
Revit 2010 has appeared with a Ribbon interface, and many users don’t like it. Some well-known Revit users, including bloggers, former Autodesk employees and Revit founders, have railed against the new release. Autodesk has been accused of ignoring long-standing wishlists and pre-release feedback. Autodesk has (it is said) wasted precious development resources by introducing a badly-designed and poorly-performing pretty new face at the expense of solving long-standing and much-requested improvements to the core product. The main complaint appears to be that Autodesk didn’t do much with this release, other than introducing an interface that doesn’t work as well as the one it replaced.
All this will sound very familiar to AutoCAD users, but there are some significant differences between the AutoCAD 2009 situation and the Revit 2010 one. First, I think it’s fair to say (even based on my limited knowledge) that the old Revit interface was in some need of attention. It was basically an old NT-style interface that had been left neglected for some years. Revit users may have been mostly happy with the way the interface worked, but the way it looked must have been a bit embarrasing, especially for Autodesk. Second, AutoCAD 2009 left the old interface in place for those people who wanted or needed to use it; with Revit 2010 it’s Ribbon or nothing. There is no transition strategy.
I’m not qualified to make a judgement on whether the complaints about the usability of the new interface are justified. I should also mention that not every Revit user hates everything about Revit 2010, and there are positive comments from some about the new interface. However, I can say that the anti-Ribbon arguments have been expressed not only passionately, but also intelligently and persuasively. It’s not so much a matter of “change is bad”, but more “this change is bad, and here’s why”. Here are some examples:
One More Thing…
One More One More Thing…
A Well-Intentioned Road Paving
Don’t Confuse Change with Progress
Humpty Dumpty Sat On a A Wall…
Revit 2011 – the most significant release EVER
Some of the threads from the AUGI Revit – Out There forum (requires free AUGI membership sign-up to view):
Finally, here’s a Dilbert cartoon that was somebody else thought was a relevant comment on this situation.
In a future post, I’ll discuss how Autodesk’s Revit people have reacted to this criticism. Is Autodesk listening? Is it issuing corporate feelgood drivel? Is it circling the wagons and shooting the messengers as they ride by? Or is it doing all of the above?