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Wishes forum

Mac version needs a modern interface

Erich
Newcomer
While an updated interface would be very nice to have, particularly the ability to stop mac windows from disappearing beneath tool pallets, there are many other issues I would like to see addressed first. As with many things, there is a limited amount of resources to pass around.

Just my two cents....
Erich

AC 19 6006 & AC 20
Mac OS 10.11.5
15" Retina MacBook Pro 2.6
27" iMac Retina 5K
25 REPLIES 25

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
abimpson wrote:
I am an Architecture student who has recently started trying to use ArchiCAD on my iMac. The first thing I noticed is that the interface seems very old fashioned - very few current applications for the mac continue to use floating tool palettes, it was the old mac way, and isn't particularly user-friendly. From simple programs like Apple's iWork, with the main features now integrated into the title bar, to more advanced software like Adobe's Creative Suite, most of the main features have been integrated into a single window.
Adobe have been particularly successful with their recent CS4 and the new "Application Frame" feature!
Surely, you are joking here? If you are trying to learn ArchiCAD, the lack of a tabbed 'Application Frame' as shown in your screenshot (which is basically what Microsoft Windows has always done) should not hinder your work. If anything, AC's free windows are a boon on OS X machines, because of Expose.

To call the interface of floating palettes and windows 'old fashioned', when Adobe CS3 uses exactly the same concepts seems disingenuous. Sure, CS4 is 'new'... but are you then saying that anything that is older than 3 months is now 'old fashioned'?

There are some minor glitches with the UI (hidden windows/palettes, some palettes not remembering position and visibility in the Work Environment) - but I would hardly call the interface out of touch with other Mac apps nor hindering productivity.

Generally, we're about productivity more than being groovy here...but perhaps you can give more reasons why ArchiCAD is held back on both counts?

Cheers,
Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 26 USA and earlier   •   macOS 12.6.1, iMac Pro 10-Core, Radeon Pro Vega 64

Dwight
Newcomer
It is horrifying to hear that they have not started you off with any idea of how building views integrate and how error correction and data extraction are essential to competently depicting structures.

It seems fundamental, but maybe it is too much at once for a student to fly a loop-the-loop while getting the feel of the ailerons and throttle.

Just the same, I cynically imagine your instructors as red wine drinking, soft cheese eating, beret wearing winkers who spend too much time concerned with discussing "la façade" late at night instead of the things that really determine architecture.
Dwight Atkinson

Dwight
Newcomer
As to your interface wishes:

Like we all haven't whined about the interface for years, asking for whatever UI trick we like - from Adobe or Maya or whatever.

Like, today, if you maximize the floor plan and it goes behind the palettes, so what? You would rarely print this window and it is merely a metaphysical boundary - you constrain a basic print with the marquee, or for more elaborate output, the layout book.

You are aware that the environment CAN be customized by saving the Work Environment to preserve any window arrangement you might like, so that if something got covered up, you could relocate the offending box and keep it in the new location?
Dwight Atkinson

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
Agree with all ... but to add specifically: if maximizing a window (plan, section, 3D, etc) causes it to tuck itself behind any palettes - then it means that you do not have the palettes docked to each other.

As you move the Info Box, Tool Box, etc around, you'll notice that they do snap to each other. If they are not snapped, then AC is not very smart about recognizing the space in between as the area that you want your maximized work window to fit into. When snapped, it does the right thing.

Further, as I alluded and Dwight states: look into Options > Work Environment to set up your palettes with the content that you want, in the order you want - and to memorize their locations on screen. As with most other design software, you can - and should - memorize at least one palette layout (which includes the position of your working windows).

I'm sorry to hear that architectural education in the UK may be as ineffective as it appears to be in the US - where the concept of teaching anything practical (even if it benefits coursework in the degree program) such as BIM does not fit into the alloted credit hours and students are expected to learn on their own ... or make up for the deficiencies during their subsequent internships. Try to get a group of like-minded students together to form an ArchiCAD support group if possible...

Cheers,
Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 26 USA and earlier   •   macOS 12.6.1, iMac Pro 10-Core, Radeon Pro Vega 64

Rob
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
While I completely agree with a need of revamping AC UI on mac I have my doubts in regards to doing so by simply 'copying' Windows approach.

Floating palettes are not bad in principal however the major problem (at least in my opinion) becomes obvious when we have to face a clutter of palettes representing each individual tool. Also, I have found the status bar (at the very bottom of AC UI) absolutely idiotic. Why would you design something like this for god sake? I know the answer probably (to be fair) - GS tried to make the UI as much coherent as they could for both platforms. But again (unfortunately) it is so obvious that UI is pushed in Win-to-Mac direction rather than in a way of 'pick the best one' features (and that would probably mean to adopt the complete mac interface for both - Win users do not get agitated here ).
One more thing though. I do not think that creating a completely brand new UI (fundamentally distant to both platforms) would do the job. I reckon that coherency of OS standard UI elements is crucial for overall clarity especially in case of newcomers. Secondly, code-wise it is much easier to use and maintain such UI as it refers to well-tested and proven OS native libraries.

As an example I quite enjoy current iWorks UI on Leopard:
1. Inspector palette - ONE 'placeholder' floating palette with tabbed UI allowing for custom organisation of individual tool palettes (aka Photoshop)
2. I really miss Leopard's top toolbar where you can choose and place an icon from pop-down menu. However it could be a bit tricky since AC operates in a multi-window environment (as oppose to a simple text editor).
::rk

Dwight
Newcomer
Users interested in modern interfaces should review demo copies of:

Maya
Lightwave,
Modo and
Cinema 4D

for compact, efficient interfaces that combine all sorts of logic that would improve Archicad for new users while casting the geezers into despair.
Dwight Atkinson

Rob
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
right, but I was rather after a concept shown on my screenshot. I am in a desperate need of 'work-space' and even a bigger screen has not been working for me. At the moment I have all tools and commands on one floating palette (a bit cluttered due to the current UI limitations) but if I could have other (used often) palettes such as T&R, Element Info, Fav's, Profile Manager etc there that would hit my spot.

Edited:
just a thought - the pet palette commands could be a part of this 'universal' palette too. Apparently visible in editing mode only.
scshot.jpg
::rk

Rick Thompson
Enthusiast
I like the floating windows. I would be clicking tabs all day long rather than just looking at the screen, but.. two displays are a must IMHO. This is a screen shot right now, just for humor... I like as many pallets open as I can, and just seeing Windows running at the same time is just weird.
Rick Thompson

Mac Monterey AC 25

http://www.thompsonplans.com
iMac 3.4GHz Quad i5 24 GB w/SSD Monterey

Anonymous
Not applicable
One BIG advantage to floating windows is when using multiple monitors.

Stress Co_
Advisor
Rob wrote:
At the moment I have all tools and commands on one floating palette (a bit cluttered due to the current UI limitations)
Wow Rob. Quite the Swiss Army Knife you've got going there.
Happy New Year
Swiss Army Palette.jpg
Marc Corney, Architect
Red Canoe Architecture, P. A.

Mac OS 10.15.7 (Catalina)
Processor: 3.6 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9
Memory: 48 GB 2667 MHz DDR4
Graphics: Radeon Pro 580X 8GB
ArchiCAD 25 (5010 USA Full)

Rob
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
Wow Rob. Quite the Swiss Army Knife you've got going there.
yes, something like that 😉
I like to have one visual point of reference for all tools.
::rk

Dwight
Newcomer
This one doesn't have everything.
I don't see the satellite dish OR the folding boat.
Dwight Atkinson

Rob
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
I don't see the satellite dish OR the folding boat.
can you get that in Canada? it probably comes with an ice hockey stick too. 😉
::rk

Anonymous
Not applicable
abimpson wrote:
The forum category was simply entitled "User Interface Wishes"....so I posted mine 🙂
Right on! Those floating palettes drive me nuts.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Well i use Mac version of ArchiCAD 12 and not seem to be old interface....
Mac version of ArchiCAD seems mostly fresh and modern than Windows version!
Absolutley not important wish...

Christiaan
Participant
Matthew wrote:
One BIG advantage to floating windows is when using multiple monitors.
For these people a tear-off interface can be implemented.

Anonymous
Not applicable
i'm also a student of architecture faculty. I like very much archicad's workflow but i'm sick of its old-fashion GUI. i think Graphisoft shoul take a look to Autodek Revit 2010 with a nice modern clean and simply interface and CONCEPTUAL FREE FORM MODELING TOOLS !!! Damn archciad need it!! Hurry!

Anonymous
Not applicable
mikoaj wrote:
... i think Graphisoft shoul take a look to Autodek Revit 2010 with a nice modern clean and simply interface ...
I agree that the new interface in Revit is modern and quite attractive, but it actually doesn't seem to work very well. It's all show, and no go!

I would encourage Graphisoft to try to stay simple if they ever think about re-doing the interface for both mac and PC. Don't faff around with context sensitive menus and other fancy stuff, it works pretty well as it is, just a nice graphical overhaul to make it look a little less windows '95 would be enough for me!

As an aside, from the perspective of a PC user, why is this thread specifically about the mac version needing a makeover? Apart from colour and font, it looks very similar to the PC version. Are these proposed changes not suitable for the PC version also, or is there something about the mac version that needs addressing separately?

Anonymous
Not applicable
"to more advanced software like Adobe's Creative Suite, most of the main features have been integrated into a single window.
Adobe have been particularly successful with their recent CS4 and the new "Application Frame" feature!"

You are probably new to Mac (a switcher from Windows). Adobe is using Carbon , an "old" framework on a Mac (one windowed mode - like on Windows). The "new" framework Cocoa has floating (but dockable) windows. Nearly all apps on Mac use Cocoa. Carbon will not be supported on Snow Leo anyway. iWork is also in Cocoa (see inspector). It's Adobe who slept away. By the way , i know Archicad from 4.55 and it always had floating palettes and it is a great advantage on multiple monitors , yes sir.

Anyway i agree that archicad interface needs a change. Up to 7.0 (including) it was clear and mac-like. But then a windows version came out and Graphisoft decided to make it familiar to windows (especially autocad) users. And so they changed ui also in mac version to make it the same on all platforms. ooops! So we stacked with this infantile graphics while everybody else went minimalistic and uncluttered (even windows are trying hard ). I have no idea what is revit (never seen it) but a simple and highend grafics in archicad ui is what we all deserve , i'm sure. Greeetings.

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