Hi! I really liked the idea of having Shapr3D on the Mac. I found that using it on the iPad with the Pencil was fun, but tedious after a while, so it seemed like the app would be a great fit for the old world of precise input. Having tried it out, I still think it’s one of the the friendliest CAD tools I’ve ever tried, but on the Mac.
Still, I have a few comments that I hope will help shape Shapr into a better Mac app.
- The pill icons on all four corners are a bit confusing. On the iPad, these controls are anchored to each corner of the display, but on the Mac, they feel disorienting to me. The buttons have very different consequences—some are navigational, some are popover menus, some are actions, some are toggles—but they all have the same hierarchy and overall visual style, and the icons are not all easy to guess. If these buttons could at least have some tooltips on hover, that’d be helpful.
- While the two-page navigational approach you took with the left side toolbar is a necessity on iPad, on the Mac, it feels like it hinders intuitive discoverability of the available features. That, paired with the fact that the tools switch out contextually as you select (with nary a label to indicate which set of tools is active), can also be disorienting for a newbie.
- Popover animations slow me down. I get that animations are a part of the popover identity, but maybe popovers aren’t the right pattern for this kind of UI on the Mac. Pro apps need to feel quicker.
- Having keyboard shortcuts available as a modal list is fine, but I would have expected to be able to discover many of these (and the shortcuts list itself) as menu bar items.
- On that same note, the shift-[0-6] shortcuts feel like they should be command-based shortcuts. That’s standard practice for view manipulation in other Mac apps (like Safari).
- It’d be great if the view could be rotated with a trackpad rotate gesture.
- It’d be nice to have a hover effect on edges/faces/other elements to know what will be affected when clicking. Nothing more tedious than trying hard to target an edge and then seeing a face get selected instead!
- The app feels smooth on my M1 Air, but it’s very sluggish on my 2019 i9 Pro. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
- I don’t know where my files live, or how I could access my files from the iPad and my other Mac. I wish they were all just there.
I just followed the 20-min modeling tutorial and learned many things I wish I could have learned playing around by myself, and I’ve been using the app for months on iPad, and for weeks on Mac. This app gets nicer and nicer the more you know its secrets, but that’s the thing: it’s so full of secrets. On the iPad, it might be that layered interactions and extreme progressive disclosure are the right approach, but it feels limiting on the Mac. I love learning apps intuitively, but sometimes it feels like Shapr is hiding itself from me. While I would really love to see you reimagine Shapr’s UI for the platform, I get that it’s a big investment. Still, tweaking a few details could turn Shapr into a nicer Mac citizen.
I also have a broader piece of feedback that comes from my experience as a digital product designer only recently dipping his toes into object design:
It’s hard to find a workflow that makes iteration feel easy. Because the working model is so linear—from sketching, to extruding, to finishing—it’s not easy to explore small variations. Say I want to try different corner radii on an object I’m 3D printing. Because edge fillets are a destructive action, I have to know that I need to keep around a version of the body with no edge modifications, duplicate it, try a value, do that a few times, and then dig through my object list to hide each thing one by one to export a viable STL file. Now, say that object is a J-shaped hook, and after completely finishing it, I want to make it taller, but not wider. I should have modeled it foreseeing what I might want to change in the future, but that’s not always possible.
There’s a lot to unpack in that paragraph, I know. Hope this feedback is helpful in some way. Thanks for the great work on this awesome app, and for your time reading this!