How SM can turn Poser's market share around....



  • People don't need to read the manual. They come on forums and ask people who have.



  • @piersyf said in How SM can turn Poser's market share around....:

    People don't need to read the manual. They come on forums and ask people who have.

    Consider someone taking Blender and SketchUp in the task of making a prop.

    I never read SketchUp's manual or help, because everything is so intuitive; you just play around and you always seem to find a way of doing things. I only had to Google something once, about creating multiple copies around a circle.

    Compare with Blender. I select two points and want to align them... where's the Align command? Search and search, can't find it, so read and read, cannot find anything in help file, so google that... you use SCALE to align two points!!! What horrible design decision!! Absolutely counter-intuitive! But I really, really, really wanted to use Blender, so I read and read and read, and eventually read the whole set of help pages. Then they change versions and move everything around, so I can't find even basic stuff anymore. I'm not going to read the entire help system again, no sir.

    Now, Blender is way more powerful than SketchUp, of course. But it does a poor job of providing a simple and practical interface for simple tasks done by simple people (same problem like Maya, etc...). So all that power and complexity does not help with usability, so in the end the market share of Blender is, I suspect, much smaller than SketchUp (although I have no hard numbers to prove one way or another),

    That's why I tend to think that the number of times a user has to refer to manual, help, forums or google in order to do day-to-day things in an appl goes the inverse direction of its market share.



  • While I tend to agree that for most software, needing to refer to the manual for basic tasks is an indication of poor design, some tasks are just so complicated there is no easy escaping it.

    Aligning points in 3D space on a 2d monitor might well qualify. Then again, I have often had less than kind words for Blender's interface compared to Lightwave.

    Some things we consider intuitive are just 'what we learned first. I recall talking Mac vs Windows with a coworker whose argument that Windows was more intuitive (after decades of use) started with how you just right click on a file and select properties to get information about a file. I pointed out that it worked the same in OSX except you selected "Get Info," but he had it in his head that Windows was more intuitive and wouldn't let the notion go.

    Is it intuitive to have the gas on the right and the brake on the left, or is it just what we're used to?



  • @fbs7

    As to market share, if Blender is free why would they care.
    Sketch up is more popular, around 30 million new activations compared to 6 million discrete downloads of Blender.
    What do you consider intuitive? Intuition is based on autonomic cognition... your 'gut', and that is determined by life experience. Your social domain, education, work history, are no doubt different to mine. What you consider 'intuitive' will be different to what I consider intuitive. You infer that Blender, Maya etc are more capable that Sketch-up; I agree because I find Sketch-up useless for my purposes (and I have to pay if I want to export anything). With increasing capability come increased complexity. Until they integrate mind reading into software, we are stuck with either simplistic software with basic appeal or with having to deal with what the developers consider intuitive.
    Personally I don't have much problem with Blender.
    Further, what made you think I didn't include myself in my last comment? I haven't read much of the Poser manual either, and the guide I produced on Poser lighting deals with a topic that is completely ignored by the manual.



  • @fbs7 Before I used Blender, I used trueSpace (and loved it); but Micro$oft bought and killed it; Caligari dev team went their separate ways.

    Blender had a UI that was strange (coming from trueSpace which that had an icon for everything). But what I discovered was that Blender had a more efficient and incredibly powerful workflow... alas then the new guys screwed it up with the 2.5 release, with their desperate and misguided need to make Blender —sort-of— work closer to more mainstream modelers. :(

    Even so, the program has since gotten so many upgraded features that the messed up (2.5+ series) UI is worth enduring, and despite it all, it is still an extremely effective workflow.

    Blender is all about hotkeys; and those hotkeys remap depending upon what window the mouse cursor is currently in. Once you understand the hotkeys, you barely need the menus.

    I have yet to see a better 3D package than Blender; it's not at all intuitive, (but why on Earth care?) that's what a manual is for.

    (I always read the manuals for everything—and the EULAs too. It's the doom of our age that manuals are becoming few and far between, and of inferior quality & usefulness when you get one.)



  • Not needing a manual is what's worse than having a poor one... Anyone can fiddle around in PrintShop or Photoshop and eventually achieve moderate results without reading their manuals; but (as it is with many really good software packages) understanding what's explained in the manual can open one's horizons as to how the software really works—not just one's own assumption of how it works, and can reveal to the user the true feature set that it offers them. A glance of the manual should tell you which one is work using.

    I find that Skimming through the manual can usually tell me all I need to know about any software —or game... as to whether or not I want to bother learning any of it. I prefer the application to not clutter itself with anything that could be put in the manual instead; (likely never needed again, once read).



  • You know, all this talk about good documentation/manuals, and I have to laugh. Now I don't mean to be derogatory when I say that, but with all the decades I've been working on computers, I have yet to find a manual for any kind of software, graphic or otherwise, worth the paper (virtual or real) it's printed on.

    Instead, I'll go for the well written tutorial (I really hate videos) that explains what something is (which a manual will do) and how to use it (which a manual never does).

    I've been using Blender for years, and granted the UI isn't the most intuitive for those who are newer to it, I learned Blender on the old 2.4x UI, and if you want to talk about non-intuitive, boy that was it. I guess I've been using Blender long enough to consider the UI easy enough to work with.



  • @mechanaut Hotkeys are a bette workflow than menus beyond a doubt. This is true of ANY software. I just wish other software had better hotkeys.



  • @Miss-B You know you just gave me an idea.I usually go to the manual to find out what something is or is supposed to do, but as you say, the manual never tells you how to do it. I also remember that there used to be workbooks in schools that gave you easy things to do to get used to how to do something like diagramming a sentence, or math questions, etc. Poser could use something like that for each feature.



  • @v3rlon Yes, one of the things I love most about Blender. It has a slew of keyboard shortcuts to do just about anything.



  • @eclark1849 That's actually not a bad idea Earl.



  • @Miss-B Poser used to include short video tutorials which did something like that. I remember when I got Poser 4, there was a short tutorial included that showed how to use the Walk Path in Poser. They used a clown to walk the path and for the life of me, I'm not sure if the Clown was Don Tatro's clown or not. The next tuotiral I remember was when they introduced the cloth room. They showed how to get a woman to sit down in a chair while wearing a dress. I was so impressed by that that I took a dress from 9mbi for V4 and had her sit down in a chair in the cloth room. I saved the result in the library including the dynamics and from then on that was my go to dress for V4 to sit down in.



  • @eclark1849 I remember that. Poser 6 had a separate tutorial manual from the regular manual. It was written by Deecey IIRC and it was great. It's funny how many people are saying they "don't want no stinkin' manual" and yet one of the complaints when they transitioned to DazStudio was the lack of proper documentation. :)



  • @kalypso

    Yeah. Well, that old Poser team didn't know what they were doing, right? LOL



  • @kalypso said in How SM can turn Poser's market share around....:

    @eclark1849 I remember that. Poser 6 had a separate tutorial manual from the regular manual. It was written by Deecey IIRC and it was great. It's funny how many people are saying they "don't want no stinkin' manual" and yet one of the complaints when they transitioned to DazStudio was the lack of proper documentation. :)

    I think the message people are trying to get across is that they want most of the stuff to be intuitive and when it's not they'd like to be able to look it up easily and have it explained clearly. Many times I've looked in the manual for things only to find see the chapter on ______. (fill in the blank with whatever topic.) or they have instructions that are vague.



  • @redphantom said in How SM can turn Poser's market share around....:

    @kalypso said in How SM can turn Poser's market share around....:

    @eclark1849 I remember that. Poser 6 had a separate tutorial manual from the regular manual. It was written by Deecey IIRC and it was great. It's funny how many people are saying they "don't want no stinkin' manual" and yet one of the complaints when they transitioned to DazStudio was the lack of proper documentation. :)

    I think the message people are trying to get across is that they want most of the stuff to be intuitive and when it's not they'd like to be able to look it up easily and have it explained clearly. Many times I've looked in the manual for things only to find see the chapter on ______. (fill in the blank with whatever topic.) or they have instructions that are vague.

    Precisely. While I do agree that complicated tasks and oddball stuff really needs some researching to be done, ease of use is a must for newbie users. The reason why I choose Poser 4 over competition (and SketchUp over Blender) was that it was so easy to use and that I'm not paid to learn to use a software for a hobby.

    So, power users will tend to marvel at the 300 available hotkeys or 65 differtnt options with arcane names in a dialog, but market share = new users = noobie users = keep things simple.



  • What is intuitive for a user and what is not totally depends on his or her background, subject matter knowledge, and so on. It is all about the fundamental logic behind the operation being clear to the user. Once that is understood, the implementation in a user interface, when done correctly and consistently, becomes intuitive == the user gets a feeling where to look for what, and, ideally, if it is not where he thinks it is but finds it (consulting the manual) somewhere else, sees where his thinking was wrong. Developers, on the other side, should realize that if users have questions they probably went against fundamental logic somewhere and change should be made. Of course the decision to rip out what was done a year ago and rebuild it is a difficult one but it may be necessary to proceed.
    I do have huge respect for the development team of Marvelous Designer, and curse them at the same time, for being absolutely merciless in his respect. Every new version or update is full of surprises with things done differently than before, features may be relocated or be completely removed. This gives irritation but inevitably, after one gets used to the new situation the improvement in intuitivity in the interface becomes evident, provided one looks from the top level aim and strategy: build, step by step, the virtual equivalent of a tailor's workshop.
    Poser is older and over time has seen a much more organic growth, breaking fresh ground from time to time. Need for quick-success seems to have been driving quite ofen and little time and effort seems to have been devoted to evaluation, weeding and pruning. The only functionality I can think of that was removed was the Poser 4 render engine, but beyond that I would be in pain to mention functionality that ever was was removed or was moved to a different location. The result is that new features and old functionality may not work together, understandably because there were so many links and connections.
    This, I think, is where Poser should improve. Grade functionality based on robustness and consistency and build a new interface with a clear vision and philosophy, presenting the user that functionality. Give that interface as a default and allow the switch to the current if needed. From there, improve functions that were below par in the first round and that bring added value. Functionality may have fallen in disuse for various reasons. It not being robust/being failure prone may not be the least one.



  • @kalypso said in How SM can turn Poser's market share around....:

    @eclark1849 I remember that. Poser 6 had a separate tutorial manual from the regular manual. It was written by Deecey IIRC and it was great. It's funny how many people are saying they "don't want no stinkin' manual" and yet one of the complaints when they transitioned to DazStudio was the lack of proper documentation. :)

    That's actually one of the main reasons why I dont use DazStudio - I find it more difficult to use, plus animation interface is really, really, really horrible (at least last time I looked at it, say 2-3 years ago)



  • Let me offer another view on the same point of ease of use.

    I just use what I like in Poser, and ignore stuff I don't understand or care about, and that's because I know what works and what doesn't for me.

    But if I was a brand new user, and I opened Poser the first time, and then I found some 60 different submenu entries on the top menu alone, many of them with arcane like "Merge all zones into weight maps", or "Copy measurements from", or "Convert hier file", I'd think this thing is too complicated for me.

    Then I'd see the ugly robot it has a default, and I'd imagine "Yak, the ads promised me scantly clad cute girls but instead I get an ugly naked robot!!!".

    Then I'd see the gridded background and it would irritate me as it shows in my movie, and it would take me 5 days (it actually did) to figure out that click nowhere actually selects an object called Background, which I then can change the display mode to Textured even if I don't have any textures. You see the unnecessary complication? Click on nothing and then click Display Mode (uh?) to Textured when I dont have textures in order to get rid of the grid (when there isn't "grid" anywhere in this command sequence).

    So I don't think I'd actually pay the $ to use the product if I was a brand new, dumb user.



  • @fbs7 But, that's all how YOU use it, not everyone.

    It strikes me as odd that we have plenty of new users come in this forum and, yet, none of them ask those kinds of questions.....