I attended an analyst briefing on the topic of “Why are CAD and CAE software so hard to use?” by Steve Wolfe of Cyon Research . It was a lively discussion on the topic of why CAD seems to be so hard for people to learn and what can be done about it. Many of the software developers were there to listen in on what the problems may be.
Here are a few of the bullets on the why side that were of interest to me.
1. CAD is too complex with too many features
2. New Features are underdeveloped when they are first rolled into the software
3. Dialog boxes work differently within the same package
4. Nomenclature and wording are not standardized between packages
5. Vendors do not fully understand the users work process and flow
There were many others and I am hopeful that the developers were listening.
All in all – I think that the developers are headed down the right track. They do usability studies and engage the user community in various ways in order to make the products work intuitively. I think we have seen major strides in the last few years, but there is no end to the process of making it easier to use and learn.