Why doesn’t SOLIDWORKS…
…make things JUST work?
…improve their user interface?
I’m sure everyone could finish that question with something different. Many people are frustrated by SOLIDWORKS for not implementing changes that matter to them. The secret to getting SOLIDWORKS to do that? Tell them.
… how things should work.
… how the user interface should behave.
… where and when your crashing happens.
Let’s start with the basics for getting your idea heard by SOLIDWORKS, the steps for getting to the form necessary to do this can be found here. Filling out this Enhancement Request form as clearly as possible is the important part for SOLIDWORKS. It lets them know that there are things that can be better. They receive thousands of these a year, so let’s talk about methods to drastically improve chances of an idea, YOUR IDEA, being implemented:
- Write clearly and concisely.
- Make a business case.
- Make it easy to implement.
- Make it popular.
Let’s break each one of these down.
Write clearly and concisely. Make it easy to understand your problem and in as few words as possible. The more concise, the better. Due to the volume of requests, huge readings are likely to be skimmed over. Bullets over paragraphs in this case.
Make a business case. Quantify, Quantify, Quantify.
Quantify time savings
occurrences per week*number of weeks*users*time savings per occurrence = time savings
Quantify monetary savings
time savings x hourly cost+material and manufacturing savings = dollars saved
Quantify number of users effected
number of our users x companies like ours = users effected
Quantify as much as you can. The goal is to explain to SOLIDWORKS their Return On Investment (ROI) for investing the development resources in your problem. Explaining how the ROI for other customers increases is the key. If it’s a boost to the ROI for many customers (try to ballpark how many for them), the change will make it in a future version.
Let SOLIDWORKS know the assumptions you used in your quantifications. They may do further research and if you’ve told them what numbers they need, that research becomes easier.
Make it easy to implement. An idea is a long way from an implementation. Developing software doesn’t just take a programmer. It takes user interface designers, managers, and other specialized resources. If you are taking on one of these roles you can reduce the resources needed to make your idea happen making the ROI for SOLIDWORKS larger by shrinking the investment portion. The image below shows an example of providing the interface design. It takes the guess work out and makes it easy to see the benefits. The result is a smaller development team needed. With clear instructions, only a programmer is necessary and the change will be exactly what you want. Other items that could be provided are a workflow diagram, images of other software that does what you want, and successive screen drawings if multiple interfaces are necessary.
Make it popular. Enhancement requests are based on a voting system. Less popular requests still get looked at, but the more people that vote for something the more weight it carries. To get a request implemented, get everyone in your company to vote for it. Get the SOLIDWORKS users in your LinkedIn network to vote for it. Go to a SOLIDWORKS User Group and get them to vote for it. SHOUT IT TO THE WORLD…
Ok maybe not, but make an effort where you can.
The louder you make the voice behind it the more likely it will be heard. Clear Description+Business Case+Ease+Popularity=Enhancement by SOLIDWORKS
Fifteen minutes of making a clear case for an enhancement can save you hours of productivity in the future. If your enhancement is too niche for SOLIDWORKS, but it has a lot of value, you can always use the SOLIDWORKS API to program your own enhancements. If that’s not familiar, there are classes to take such as the one here.
By: Brandon Donnelly, Simulation Applications Engineer