Monday, 15 May 2017

Revit Ideas Forum - 12 Months Later...

In May of last year Autodesk announced at the then Revit Technology Conference (now known as BiLT) the new Revit Ideas Station. A short time later I mentioned and collated some of the top ideas at the time.

So, 12 months later, how is it all going? Well, ideas have been coming in thick and fast. In fact, there have been so many ideas, Autodesk seem to be struggling to maintain the forum. I started getting so annoyed by repetitive ideas myself, I even wrote an idea about the idea forum! You can see it here. Repetitive ideas due to the lack of searching before posting & the lack of filtering tools are some of my biggest gripes. Then there are the ideas that are actually just complaints. Many users shared my feelings, with the "idea" gathering over a 100 votes in less than 2 months plus a healthy discussion on what can be done to try and improve it. (I realise that some of these problems are out of Autodesks control such as users posting repeat ideas but providing a tool set to manage them IS in their control). 

One positive I have seen come out of the idea and subsequent discussion is a significant jump in the number of ideas being marked 'archived' and repeat ideas being combined. (Autodesk have told us the 'report' icon under the idea, can be used to help them with this and to provide a link to duplicate ideas when reporting). 

One of the other problems with the forum is ideas simply getting lost. I blame the extremely vague filter category of "Gathering Support" for this one. How do I know they are lost and not just a bad idea? Repeat ideas. You see what happens is, an idea pops up, it get's 20+ votes in a few weeks, yet search for the duplicate idea written months earlier and it only has half a dozen votes. The problem is now, they have been relegated to somewhere between page 5 and page 144. What's that saying about the second page of a google search result??

At the time of writing, there were 162 pages or almost 3000+ ideas. That's about 250+ ideas per month!! How are you supposed to see this many ideas, let alone vote for them without good filtering tools? Well you can't and considering this isn't Autodesk's first ideas forum for one of their software applications, I am surprised they didn't come up with something better. Although, admittedly, the number of ideas in the other forums is, in most cases, less than 500. So maybe the popularity of the station was underestimated?

My latest thoughts on improving the idea station is to have the ability to filter or categorise ideas by tool, instead of the vague tagging categories of 'User Interface' or 'Multi-discipline'. 
For example, let's say you had an idea about design options. You would go to the forum and select or search from a list of tools in Revit. You would find and see only the ideas relating to 'Design Options'. Furthermore, they could be filtered by discipline, vote count, status, date, author, etc. If you can't find what you are looking for, write an idea and categorise it accordingly. This may even help Autodesk see what the discussion is around a particular tool set. 

"There are a lot of tools in Revit" I hear you say? Yes there are, but here is some food for thought... In another 12 months, assuming some slow down of ideas pouring in, there will be well over 5000+ ideas. Good luck sifting through all of them...

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