The New UI is Bad, Sorry

I am on Shapr3D version 5.460.0 (5746).

On desktop (I use MacOS), the new UI is poor. It is significantly worse than the previous UI, requiring multiple mouse clicks and careful hunting for buttons to achieve common outcomes.

The new UI:

  • Takes up more of the viewport, not less.
  • Requires more mouse clicks to achieve common outcomes, not fewer.
  • Is more complicated, not simpler.
  • Has large amounts of mystery meat that suddenly appears when you simply hover over something. This is bad UX 101.

There is plenty more about the new UI to criticise, but I will refrain from doing so for brevity.

On every possible metric I can think of, the new UX is worse than the old. Please add an option to revert to the old UX, or expedite fixes.

I would like:

  1. A single keyboard shortcut to show/hide ALL the godforsaken heads-up display. I am usually interested in the viewport and my model. Nothing more. Please stop adding stuff to the HUD. You have a gigantic and complicated HUD menu on the left of the viewport that no competent desktop user will ever use (they will just use the keyboard).

  2. Stop forcing me to manage the sliding in and out of trays. The sliding tray metaphor is skeumorphism of the worst possible kind. I don’t want to ever have to use my mouse to toggle the status of a tray.

  3. A single keyboard shortcut to switch between modelling and visualization modes.

  4. Please stop forcing me to endlessly change the color of my black parts (potentially the most common part color?) because black makes them unusable in modelling mode. The color of a part in modelling mode should be utterly separate from the real part color.

Thank you.

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Hi Ben I understand that you don’t like the new UI. We won’t add an option to revert to the old UI, as we don’t have the resources to maintain two user interfaces. However if you could be more specific about what you don’t like, we can improve them.

I have edited my question to expand a little on my criticisms.

What is the heads up display?

Our data suggests otherwise. Also the menu’s content and behavior has not changed only its look and feel. The sliding animations are not new either, actually now we have less than we had.

On the roadmap, this would be new functionality though.

We’ll look into tweaking the shader of dark colors. Are you working on acolor calibrated display?

You can change the hover behavior under settings.

The HUD is anything intrudes into the viewport that is not directly related to the model.

I need a single keyboard shortcut to show/hide everything highlighted below via a fast fade:

You can then then simply remove the sliding functionality and have everything visible when the HUD is visible, and everything in the HUD invisible when the HUD is invisible, ending mode confusion (is it slided-in or slided-out?) forever.

Separately, the sliding metaphor is bad UX. It’s time consuming and distracting (it draws the eye pointlessly). Use fast fades.

Makes sense. We’ll keep improving the desktop experience.

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The color of parts in modelling mode is a distinct concept to that of the color of parts in visualisation mode. They are utterly unrelated and may only be coincidentally the same.

The issue with the current implementation is that these two concepts are conflated.


I understand that for you case it would be beneficial to separate the two.

For anyone who has black parts (and black is a rather common part color!).

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Other feedback:

  1. Entering and exiting visualisation mode should be possible via the keyboard menu. eg. “Mod[elling Mode]…” => “Enter”
  2. Exporting an stl should be accessible via the keyboard menu and then a single press of “Enter”. eg. “Stl…” => “Enter”. The current export process is laborious in the extreme.
  3. Exporting a model in Shapr3D format should be accessible via the keyboard menu and then a single press of “Enter”

Some of these any many other similar features are in the scope of our upcoming desktop UX improvement project. We’ll keep improving the desktop UX in the coming months.

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  1. No sliding. Use fast fades.
  2. STL export a single click in search menu (I called it “Keyboard menu” above).
  3. No “tray” behavior. HUD either all visible or all invisible via single keyboard shortcut.
  4. Mode (visualization/modelling) toggling via search menu.
  5. Searchable item list.
  6. Item color in modelling mode distinct from that in vis mode.

Thank you, noted. Some of these are already on our radar.

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I want to take a minute to underscore something here. (Apologies in advance. I know I tend to go long, but I try to only post when it’s really important.)

Point 3 above is the area where I think this redesign has fallen down the most. There are three basic operating modes:

  1. Modeling
  2. Visualization
  3. 2D Drawing (you select a drawing to enter this mode)

So the design that was chosen was: you hit a button and you get a modal dialog with a button for each of these things. (I said dialog, not tray or sidebar, because you can’t interact with anything else while it’s open, and it closes when you make a selection. It’s a weird modal dialog, not a sidebar. In fact, it’s functionally identical to a pop-up menu. I don’t really understand why it isn’t one, at least on desktop.)

This design prioritizes solving the organizational problem (“where do we put the controls so they don’t get lost”) but not the usability problem (“how can we make switching modes discoverable and fast so that users don’t want to jump out a window”). Software that only solves organizational problems may as well be a filing cabinet full of punch cards.

We need to have a single action to switch between visualization and modeling. Right now it’s a minimum of TWO clicks with separate targets not simultaneously visible, in an upper corner of the screen, which is guaranteed to be the longest possible mouse/finger/pencil movement away from wherever I’m working. To switch basic operating modes in this app where switching modes needs to be fast and fluid, one must move one’s pointing device a long distance and then click or tap two separate times on two separate targets with a half-second unskippable animation that rudely doesn’t respect the system-wide Reduce Motion accessibility setting before you can even start aiming for the second target.

There are many good improvements in the new UI. But a mandatory two-separate-target-clicks to do a mode switch that you have to do all the time is a catastrophe. (It’s not even an edit operation; it’s a mode switch that you have to do first just to get to the edit operations. We’re losing the race before we’ve reached the starting line.)

There should be a button for each basic mode right onscreen, and there should be keyboard shortcuts to instantly switch to each one, and this should not even be something we have to discuss. I cannot think of another app that has basic UI modes like this but no keyboard shortcuts to switch. There’s a shortcut (⇧⌘\) to show and focus the switcher for some reason? But you can’t use the keyboard to interact with anything in it. Not even arrow keys. Folks, this makes no sense. (EDIT: Arrow keys do work on iPad, so this must be a MacOS bug.)

Why do I have to switch between modeling and viz so often? Because of point 4, which I’ll quote again:

It’s this. Modeling colors and visualization materials are separate things. (climbs onto roof, repeats into megaphone) MODELING COLORS AND VISUALIZATION MATERIALS ARE SEPARATE THINGS.

If a material is too dark, I can’t see the body’s edges when I’m modeling it, or it’s invisible in dark mode. Why does it even let the model color get that dark? Why does it think it has to match the material so closely?? I don’t know!! It just does!

If I use a light-blue-to-cyan material like the default Matte Silicone Rubber, then I can’t tell when faces are selected, and I can’t change the app’s selection color to work around this.

If I do boolean operations on bodies that have colors assigned, newly revealed faces invariably get the wrong color or no color, and I have to go back into viz to recolor them. It causes constant back-and-forth mode-switching which was already exasperating when it was a single click.

Burying fundamental UI toggles in a modal sidebar-that’s-really-a-menu-but-without-keyboard-navigation thing gains you nothing, harms accessibility, slows down all usage of the app (the way I use it, at least), and is a major bummer.

Keyboard shortcuts for basic mode switches. Mode buttons always visible. Please. And as quickly as you can possibly do it.


One note, to make life a bit easier, you can switch between the current / last used mode (e.g. Modeling - Visualization) with Ctrl + Tab on Windows, and CMD + Shift + ] . I hope it helps.


Thank you for highlighting this.