Monday, October 20, 2008

Review Warnings. - Part 2

There are two very good new tools Autodesk have added to assist users in removing their errors and warnings from the project.

The first is the ability to export your review warnings to an html file. This allows you view the list of warnings in any text based software, from Microsoft Word, Excel to any web browser. One of the problems when we couldn’t do before this export; was to copy and paste the element I.D.s to atext base software. This resulted in it being very time consuming when going down through a long list of review warnings. You just had to manually hand write down everything.
This new export tool allows someone like me, a BIM manager to review a project file very easly.

The second new feature is a warning button in the options bar. When an element which contains warnings is selected it appears. Click the warning icon and it displays all the warnings just associated with that element. This again can be exported to an html format. One of the great things about this new feature is you can see easily if you actually have resolved an element of not. It also gives users the ability to more easily see and fix problems that are in the file as they do their day to day editing of elements.

These two new features should really assist up in getting trough error reviews that bit quicker.

However I my opinion it is not enough. Unless errors are easy to fix, many users will not be bothered. Also you want all users to be able to fix problems, and not just the very proficient uers. So what do I recommend Autodesk add the following expansions to the existing tools:

  • Improving the “Element I.D.s” tool.
    This tool should be able to be dialog box to the side that can be open all the time if the user wishes. In this dialog box, as you select elements, you can visibly see the I.D. number of the elements. It should contain a history of the past few elements you have selected and I.D. numbers you have entered.
  • The ability to select two element number I.D.s at a time.
  • The ability to graphically isolate selected elements by I.D. in the current view. If you can isolate the two problematic elements, especially in a 3D view, you can revolve it more easily.
  • A help function in the review warnings, for each of the problems and how to resolve them. This should include images to assist new users to better understand the problem. Much of these items are in the help section already. Why not make it more accusable at a point where it will help users.
  • A direct link for the selected element in the review warnings to their element properties box. About 30% of the warnings can be fixed or partly fixed from their properties dialog box.
  • In the review warnings section the ability to graphically isolate the element of the selected warnings. (same as above).
  • The ability to have the review warnings dialog box permanently open to the side of the screen. I don’t understand why I need close this dialog box in order to fix the error.
  • Upgrading of the yellow warnings box that pops up for some errors in the bottom right screen corner is lost by click happy users. These warnings should be a proper warning box. To dismiss them you need to click “OK” and not just click anywhere randomly.
  • The user name of the user that created the error needs to be recorded with the error.
    This is not about giving blame but it gives BIM managers better information to assist users in understanding the errors they are creating. It also promotes users to fix errors so their user names don’t fill the warnings list.
  • The element warning icon needs to be made more obvious. When a problematic element is selected, this icon should have a red border. The easier users can see the problematic elements the better understanding they will have.
  • Better view creation of problematic elements. If any of you have ever used Navisworks, it does a great job of giving you a very good view in the clash detection tool. If Revit needs to create a new view to display the object is should do that.
  • There are some errors that we have to live within the project. An “accepted” section of the review warnings for these warnings would make sense. The user name could be stored with it, and an additional comment section. An example of this might me a duplicate “type mark” parameter. Due to Documentation QA procedures, sometimes it makes sense to have two duplicates.

All of the above should not be all that difficult to do. If you create a warnings system, please give us the right and best tools to resolve them.

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