Revisiting CAMWORKS Icons and User Interface
Here is a POC we have done for CAMWorks years back. Though the designs are not something like we see today but still the usecase helps us a long way understanding how the CAD/CAM user experience and interfaces works.
As CAMWorks runs inside some other CAD products, it is better to device a style that can adapt to its working environment. For example, if CAMWorks is running inside Solidworks, the icons may sport the same style as that of SolidWorks and if it’s running inside Solid Edge it may adapt to the style that SolidEdge is having. If CamWorks runs independently,then also the new icons should have the ability to sport its very own style and working environment.
The CAMWorks user interface also has the same dilemma as to what workflow it should adapt. Should it restrain itselfto the Microsoft XP operating system like workflow with some not so mordern toolbars like ‘ribbon toolbar’ etc or should it explore some new workflow like Microsoft’s new Os has adapted in its latest Windows8 version. Here we’re referring to Microsoft product as most of the end users are using the same Os. It’s natural to adapt to the Os version style which is presumably going to last for another 5 more year or so.
We have done some experiments with the CAMWorks user interface (with the one that runs inside SolidWorks) and tried to change the icons to a new ‘flat’ type icon style, on the same ribbon toolbar but it didn’t worked as expected. After doing various experiments, it felt like we do not have much options left, but to go with the flow, as we do not want to scare away the end users (where in this case most of them are habitual SolidWorks users) with some radical designs of our own. The best option would be, adapting to the same work environment and wisely use the interface with camoflagic icons and intutive workflows which, rather than scaring the users away, may make them more comfortable with some new features that helps them carry with their task in a more helpful, easy and simple way. Even though we are inside SolidWorks our presence should be felt with pleasure and ease of use. At present our visibility is dependent on only two 16×16 icons near the operation tree and one text button on the menu bar at the top.
Considering the above and more we came up with a minimalist solution for CamWorks to adapt itself to different working environments.