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In America you tell system families what to do, but in Revit, system families tell you what to do.

In America you tell system families what to do, but in Revit, system families tell you what to do.

  My suggestion is to allow us to create new system families via the manipulation of families in the project, instead of via the current slate of nested horrors. I hope to illustrate the issue, and suggest how I want it to change via an example: scaling a section head.

 

Let's look at all the issues in this process, 

 

1) I have to open 3 nested levels to edit the section tag I want to edit. (Why is the callout tag in the section system family btw?) I should just be able to tag select it in the project and open it.  

 

2) I can't access the section head family in the system family edit dialogue. Instead I have to remember the family, and go find it in the project browser and right click it and select edit.  Why is this always the case with system families? Why can't we access nested families as we find them?  

 

3) Once I'm in the family editor, I want to rescale this family, but I can't because it has filled regions.  I have to rescale each filled region one by one.   Scaling filled regions should be accessible at all levels.  This scaling issue happens fairly often with annotations.  

 

4) I want to make my label  text smaller. I have to edit my the text, and create a new typographic standard.  Capability to scale the text without going in the edit menu would be great, but I understand that this would break the parameter. Still, a warning could pop-up and we could leave it at that: a text with no type, or the type could be created by the rescaling, for which a pop-up asking us to name this parameter could solve the issue.   

 

5) Editing the text type would be fine, but it seems like I have to recreate the type every time I go into a new family. I must have created my 2mm text size 50 times by now. Why don't these text types propagate? 

 

4) Now that my filled regions are scaled I have to edit the labels in the family dialogue.  Not intuitive, but easy enough. Edit label should be accessible by right clicking though.  The real issue is that it should be accessible in the project, not the family. 

 

5) I have to repeat this process to get the result I want. I have to test the section at different scales and I have to correct unforeseen Issues. I then have to rename everything once I have the results I want. 

 

 

Lets look at how this process should happen with good UI. 

 

I click on my current section head and scale it + move it in the project. 

 

Revit asks me if I want the result to create a new System Family: Section Type or Change the current Section Type and asks me to name it either way. - It suggests a hypothetical name for me, but I type in a name. 

 

Revit asks me if I want this to create the concomitant section head type with a name based on the new section type name. - I click Yes

 

Revit asks me if I want to create the concomitant text types I created with a name based on the new section name (or based on a smart amalgamation of precedent, scale and type choices).  - I click Yes

 

DONE!

 

The above comparison illustrates how Revit has fundamentally poor UI, by making the point that its current operational complexity is not resulting from its admittedly massive capability or BIM functionality: the same capability and BIM functionality can be achieved with much less clicking, menus, nesting, windows, searching and repetition.  

 

The priority should be to reduce the amount of nested menus and new windows. The priority should be to allow users to remain in their project as they create.  Think of everywhere I had to go just to scale this element: edit section menu, 3 sub menus, exit, down the project browser to find the family, the family itself, 4 filled regions, 2 edit text menus, the label menu, exit back to the project, and.... everything all over again if things didn't work out- which they didn't.  This is unforgiveable and it is shameful. This is the very definition of terrible UI.   

 

A good way to achieve progress, at least with annotations, symbols, components, but also most likely with more complex system families, would be to allow users to create family types via changes they to make to these family types in the project, instead of via the families themselves.  This would require a substantial amount of intelligent prompting after the fact, so as to name new types, but it would save a lot of time. 

 

As a final example - if I wanted to turn my 2x4 into a 2x6 wall, instead of going into the edit wall type menu, and its sub menus, I could unlock the wall and simply manually expand the width of the 2x4 material, tweak the width of my plaster and I could also right click to access the materials themselves and rename them without going into the material menu. I would then be prompted a series of questions asking me if these changes would be propagated to all of the family type, or just this wall, or whether I want to create a new wall, or modify the existing one etc...  Thereby reducing a 5 minute process into an instant process wherein I stay in my view and don't get distracted by, or wait for, multiple menus opening. 

 

 

 

 

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