Feedback: Auto-selection (iPadOS) mode is neat but could use UX refinement

Feedback: iPad OS area selection function is really useful but implementation/UX could use some refinement.

I spent a day thinking that there was a bug that made drawing rectangles from the center impossible because Shapr3d kept going into selection mode faster than I was drawing the rectangle - despite me having explicitly chosen a Rectangle (center) drawing tool. QUITE annoying (I had to switch to FreeCAD to do this little project as Shapr3d was too annoying to use without being able to draw rectangles from the center). I am on a slightly slower 2nd generation 12.x" iPad Pro running iOS 14.x, but I’m also just a bit slow using it due to inexperience.

That said, a much more experienced colleague on a faster iPad Pro did say he’d seen that mode come up when he didn’t intend to be in it a few times and thought it was just a weird glitch. So it’s not just me :slight_smile:

So, at minimum it seems to me that the delay before select mode on iPad Shapr3d is too short (I’d say it needs to be at least 250ms longer, and something like 400ms might be better for new users or folks who might not be as quick of movement). For the sake of accessibility, this should probably be a user adjustable delay in preferences.

In fact, for accessibility reasons, and for greater discoverability, it might make sense for Selection to be added as an explicit tool so that one can go into this mode explicitly (under More… since it likely won’t often be used) and the auto-mode switch that happens should allow disabling it entirely in the same preferences area where you can set the delay for auto-switch. To keep the UI tidy, you could have the explicit Selection tool only appear if auto-switch mode is disabled.

In any case, if no tool has been selected then having click drag be selection mode immediately could make sense, but if the user has chosen a particular drawing tool then this auto-switch needs to not happen so fast (or at all if the user has turned the preference I suggest below off).

Finally, searching for “selection” in the documentation pulls up no useful help about this selection tool/mode and so someone who doesn’t understand what it’s doing has no way to look up how it behaves and learn that there is a short time when clicking to drag a rectangle from it’s center (for example) before the tool the user specifically chose is ignored and forcibly becomes a selection tool (not a great UX when that’s not what you want to happen).

Thank you.


After the selection, the menu remains as it is.
See my video.
Just make a video so we can see what you mean exactly.

Ok. When user touches the pencil to the iPad screen if they don’t move the pencil fast enough (within some small number of milliseconds) Shapr3d will switch from the function of the Rectangle tool the user chose to the selection function.

My feedback is that the delay the program is using to decide when to auto-switch modes is too short for some people and some situations (like where one isn’t drawing random rectangles they care nothing about (like a developer testing the product :slight_smile: (note: I’m a developer)) but are precisely placing and considering where the rectangle goes and how large it will be in relation to other objects).

Video (dropbox; may have to download first as dropbox doesn’t always play in place well): Dropbox video file link

(You can see my palm being mis-identified as attempt to draw and it switching to line/arc every so often; that’s not the issue I’m pointing out.)

At 37 seconds I finally manage to get Shapr3d to draw a rectangle. Up until that point the program is fighting me and doing the selection action because I’m not moving the pencil fast enough (I think).

Like I said originally, it seems like the interval before it auto-magically decides (incorrectly) that I’m trying to select something is too short or needs to be tunable for each user, or needs to detect that I’ve just selected the rectangle tool or something. Software is trying to be too smart and the result is frustrating UX (for me).

As I noted, for reasons of accessibility, it would be good if the software doesn’t use too much timing based mode switch decision making like this because not all users are able to go as fast as young software engineers (or may not choose to).


You’re not in sketch mode at all. :wink:
Have a look at my video again, then you will see that I first choose a plane to draw.
And check out these videos too, they are very good for learning.

Thanks for the reply and the link. I’ve watched all the videos, though it was 6 months ago and I stopped using Shapr3d because it wasn’t working for me for the project I was trying to do at the time. So I likely forgot much and I would do well to rewatch them. Good reminder.

That said, …

The 1st video in the list at the link you provided seems to be drawing in the exact same view I was drawing in: Tutorials - Sketching 101 | Shapr3D

Additionally, at the 3:58 in that video it shows how the default when drawing in the 3d view is to draw on the x-y plane (since that’s where the grid is by default) and then shows you how to set the grid to be on the y-z plane and how sketching is now on that plane by default when drawing in 3d view.

If you consider this further, it seems clear that if one really shouldn’t be sketching in the 3d (isometric) view, then good UX design would suggest that the software:

  1. Not offer the user the sketching tools in this view,
  2. Not successfully draw rectangles some of the time in this view.

…both of which Shapr3d does.

The comment that suggests one has to be in “sketching mode” doesn’t seem accurate, though perhaps suggesting that sketching is easier in 2d view is potentially helpful.

So, thank you for your reply and comments, but my feedback remains that the time interval for switching into this mode-that-acts-like-a-tool-but-isn’t-listed-as-a-tool-anywhere is too short and, further, should be user-adjustable (particularly given well articulated accessibility goals of Apple and other forward-thinking companies).

I don’t know Shapr3d well enough, but I suspect that there may be times where it is inappropriate to switch to this mode-that’s-like-a-tool-but-isn’t, or that this strange mode be reconsidered altogether. Are there any other features in Shapr3d that behave like this? If not then one might ask, “is the loss of consistency in behavior a good design choice?”

Anyway, just my feedback for the development team at Shapr3d from a novice Shapr3d user.

Thanks again for taking the time to response. I hope the Shapr3d team might see this and give it some consideration as well.


You can see the interplay between sketching in sketch mode (2D) and creating volume models (3D) and direct modeling on the bodies when you watch some of these videos.
This for example:

This channel has a lot of good examples to understand the context.


Hope someone at shapr3d has seen this feedback…. Despite what Pascal thinks, all indications are that this should work better as I’m trying to use it (like in the Shapr3d tutorial video).

Sure we did! It was a deliberate decision to assign the area selection to the long tap+drag Pencil gesture, otherwise it would be really hard to make it work across the application in every tool. We could add a setting though that changes the time that is required to activate it.

Thank you for letting me know.

For the sake of accessibility to a broad range of users, I encourage you to add the adjustable timing. As is, it’s awkward to use for actual drawing by a new user or someone who maybe isn’t as fast as a young developer. The video I posted seems like it makes this pretty clear.

Just to be sure, I tried again to make sure I was in sketch mode with a 2d view, and it’s maybe slightly easier than in the 3d view from the video, but still has the same general issue.

If one is going fast to just confirm “yep, drawing rectangles from the center works!” then it’s easy (hey, I’m a developer also, we’ve all done that kind of thing :)). If one is trying to draw concentric rectangles, or be specific about where one wants to place the rectangle for an actual part design, then the timing is too short and the auto-switch-my-tool-mode-out-from-under-me is frustrating and annoying.

So I hope you’ll either just increase it by something like 200ms (probably adequate, but I’d have to try it to know for sure), or make it customizable (even better).

Thanks for reading and considering my feedback. Best of good fortune to you.