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Did you simplify PDMLink for non CAD/Engineering users?

Level 7

Did you simplify PDMLink for non CAD/Engineering users?


Something that has been bothering me since I first saw any of the Windchill
based products demoed was the amount of data, links and widgets on every
single web page: the user is presented with very busy web pages.

I'm particularly uneasy with it because of my personal experience with
various applications that we use at our company, both internally developed
and purchased. Many of these applications are unnecessarily confusing or
irritating to use because of the way the user interfaces are set up.

I look at these PDMLink demos and shudder when I think that I about getting
non-CAD users to use this tool properly. There are too many fiddly little
things on every page and the visual style is very dated as compared to the
slick apps one finds on the web these days.

I understand training is necessary for proper use of the tools, but if a
non-CAD user is presented with this sort of interface, many of them will be
intimidated by it and not use it properly, if at all, even with proper
training.

How many of you have "dumbed down" or otherwise customized the Windchill
interface to make it easier for these users to feel at home with the
application? Did you customize differently for a number of different
groups?

I've talked to a few people about it already and have been assured that we
can do whatever we need to to make it work for us since the web pages are
all templated. However we are currently sitting on a 10 year old
unupgradeable highly customized MRP system (that everyone wants to get rid
of now) which provides a good example of why we wouldn't want heavy
customizations. I am curious as to how you have all handled this aspect of
implementation.

I will summarize whatever information I get.

Thanks
6 REPLIES 6

Did you simplify PDMLink for non CAD/Engineering users?

Same reaction here. There is a certain class of users who want a minimal
interface. These are View and Print users. The problem is that even when
you go to the search page, you get back too much. We are exploring an
alternative interface to PDMLink for these users. This might be the way
to go.


Did you simplify PDMLink for non CAD/Engineering users?

Two directions to look to :

- Windchill 9.0 introduce the concept of profile which allows to streamline the user interface and the capabilities.

- Reporting tools (like Crystal orCcognos) which allows you to propose predefined searches or report and shows nothing more than what the user is expecting to get as result. (It is possible to make those specific searches with home grown apps in place of the costly Cognos).

François

Did you simplify PDMLink for non CAD/Engineering users?

Before doing too much customization, take a look at Rev 9.0. PTC has
introduced role based UI that can be scaled down base on the users.



"Villanueva, Antonio" <->
04/16/2008 08:41 AM
Please respond to
"Villanueva, Antonio" <->


To
Andrew Mansfield <->, -
cc

Subject
[solutions] - RE: Did you simplify PDMLink for non CAD/Engineering users?






Same reaction here. There is a certain class of users who want a minimal
interface. These are View and Print users. The problem is that even when
you go to the search page, you get back too much. We are exploring an
alternative interface to PDMLink for these users. This might be the way to
go.

RE: Did you simplify PDMLink for non CAD/Engineering users?

Andrew,

We have the same concerns and aresoon to roll-out PDMLink change management at our company. We have chosen to go live with version 9.0 because of the improvements to theuser interface over 8. Even though 9 is better, we still have what we call a "simple search" application that queries Windchill for drawings/documents. The user choses the type of document and partial document number/name and it returns links to the matches. We plan to continue this small app even after we roll out full change management in 9.

I think that any application that has a lot of functionality is going to be more complicated to use and will require a commitment from the user community to adopt and learn. In my opinion, if you consider the complexity and functionality of PDMLink/Windchill, they did a pretty good job in the design of the interface.But... that was not my first impression.

Thanks,
Glen Herman



Did you simplify PDMLink for non CAD/Engineering users?

Hello Daniel,



PDMLink 9.0 does have improvements, especially the Profile Capability which allows you to remove Tabs, Icons and Menu Selections to limit what people have access to. It has also been helpful as kind of a secondary access control.

For example: You grant Change Permission Privilege to allow users to Share to Projectlink, but you can Hide the Buttons for Manage Security(Also given by the Change Permission Power). I’ve also used Profiles to hide the Promote Menu pick from a group of drafters, who need to do everything else related to ProE.



Regarding the Simpler Interface for Searching. The Division Graphics Server (ProductView) Community could not migrate to PDMLink with all of their viewable till 9.0. That community is just coming across to PDMLink this year. I would expect a lot of enhancement requests from that community and have heard as much from some of them.

They have a lot of users, use to select a Web Page, where they login into Pro/Intralink 3.x and search by a predefined search criteria, entering name only, with the results(or result if set to show latest rev and version of a release level such as “Released”) appearing in the same window below and Productview Opening in the same Window to the right.



Hopefully 9.1 will start to address the Visualization Gaps aspect as 9.0 did for Intralink 3.x gaps. I know people have sent enhancements in so that you can search the viewable, such as the Proe Drawings Viewables (saved as plts, dxf, or pdf) and be able to grant the option to download the viewable but not the native product. I heard of an enhancement requests for that simple choice, Download Native or Download Viewable as a standard setup. For those with Word Documents (how much better to grant download of the pdf of it instead of the doc.)



Brian Sullivan






Highlighted

Summary: Did you simplify PDMLink for non CAD/Engineering users?

A final note on this topic: most of the replies I had were cc'ed to the list. but here are a few others:

"In my past life as a PTC Tech Sales Consultant, I had seen this issue appear more often than we wished. There is certainly a requirement to simplify the UI for non CAD users and I also agree with you that heavy customization is not a long term solution.
The way I have used in past is to integrate the Windchill solution with commercially available portal servers. JETSPEED is my favorite, especially since it is open source and free. I am enclosing some screenshots of how the interface would look like ,
with a portal.

The distinct benefits:
1. You automatically inherit the end user configuration capability of the portal , If you think a portlet is not applicable to certain set of users you can turn it off easily.
2. This is a bolt on solution on the Windchill the interaction between the portal server and the Windchill is handled strictly through infoEngine, ensuring the scalability and portability."

I had a look at this and it's interesting. Looks like there are a number of alternatives.


"Same feeling here. It has been 2 years and we have yet to implement the change management and mark up tools. However, I can tell you that if you use is for a while, you will get accustomed to going to just one place for what you need and not the rest of the stuff that you don't even want to know about. However, the stuff you do have access to is controlled by
the policy administrator. So you can control how much someone gets to see. The site is still a little too busy looking though."



I brought this subject this up since most of our web material, both internal and external, is controlled by our Marketing and Communications (MarCom) department. They are very particular about the way web data is presented. If we are to convince them that PDMLink is the tool to use to manage all our product data, they need to be able to feel the the web presentation is flexible enough so that it can be made to follow their established corporate standards.
Currently the gulf between the slick, polished corporate web pages and the widget infested, busy PDMLink pages is huge. Having said that, a lot of internal stuff that other departments have created (mine included) is also far away from the MarCom look. I suspect that this is probably typical of most organizations, but since product data crosses so many boundaries, the tolerance for differing presentation styles is pretty low.

Thanks for all the replies.

Andrew Mansfield

KI

Green Bay, WI