useability

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johnva
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useability

Has anyone actually been using Review with clients? I find the interface cumbersome and looks like its from the 90's. Is this something 2014 will finally upgrade? 

farwood
farwood's picture
reveiw

I tried for years to get customers interested in it and they seem to be big deal and don't want to participate.   It's just funky, people don't even like to deal with the measurement tools.      I no longer have an interest in it and find just PDFs and 3d jpegs or 3d videos make people happy.    They email back that they want measurements, so I do measurements on PDFs and send back.  The big thing for me is to respond quickly.      I imagine it works for a lot of people,     IT'S not really about the program, I don't think, it's about the customers wanting to see things that look like blue prints etc, and they don't need to participate like this.        Don't know about 2014, but I think the PDF and jpegs work and ecspecially   3ds and 3d videos.       Not sure I want the client with software tools anyway.

johnva
johnva's picture
I completely agree. My

I completely agree. My process involves using .jpg images and pdf's. I find with the newer versions of Softplan, clients don't even care about the 2d plans anymore, they want to see how it looks in 3D. This does throw a curveball in the process, as 3D does take some time. 

cbe
cbe's picture
I don't use it.  I've offered

I don't use it.  I've offered it to a few people and they say it sounds like too much work.  My clients are mostly contractors that don't use computers very much with the exception of email.  My homeowner/clients seem to like pdfs & images.  I created a custom drawing mode called Preview.  I'll hide things they don't need to see like opening text, dimensions, etc.  I then add furniture so they get a better look.  Detail notes are used to give them the interior dimensions of a room.  After drawing a quick front elevation, I then add this to a multi-drawing that has a custom border setup for either a 8.5x11 sheet or an 11x17 depending on the client's ability to print.  

- Cory

Tom Sams
Tom Sams's picture
2014 ReView

I just sent my first ReView within the 2014 format. I too tried to use the ReView Export feature, but got bogged down when it would not recognize my email software (Outlook??).  I called Tech Support and he moved me to into File>SoftPlan+ Publish and it went much smoother, with one exception.  The email address I was trying to send it to was too long.  It began to ding before I could enter the .com.  Fortunately, my customer had a shorter address that I could use.

Tom Sams
Tom Sams's picture
ReView review

Okay, my first attempt at sending the plans for reView was a flop.  Apparently the contractor to whom I sent it got confused and was unable to figure out how the thing worked.  So, in an effort to understand it a little better, I sent myself reView file and went through the steps to see just how confusing it really was.  Much to my surprise, it isn't confusing at all, however there were a couple glitches that occurred. #1: I apparently mistyped my generic password and it of course when I typed in the correct generic password, it wouldn't accept it.  So since there is no link to reset the password, I called tech support and they did it for me. I suggested they provide a "I forgot my password" link and to incorporate a password re-type box so you don't misspell it on the first run. So, now that is taken care of, I am able to log on and look at the plans, but another little hiccup has developed.  Only the front view is affected, all the other views are fine, but I can only see the top of the roof line. I cannot "zoom extent", scroll down or otherwise bring up the remainder of the view.  I checked the location of the view on the screen before I submitted it for reView, tried re-submitting it for reView, but it still remains out of site.

 

Tom

Tom Sams
Tom Sams's picture
ReView review

I spoke with SP Tech Support about the partially missing front view and as it turns out, he could not figure it out either and a ticket was issued.

 

Tom

ChrisStewart
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I just upgraded to Softplan +

I just upgraded to Softplan + a few days ago and so far I find ReView and the Cloud to be inadequate.

 

I think sending clients PDF's work better because you can control the output and most everyone knows how to use Acrobat to add sticky notes these days. Also the Panoramic views are slow and do not work well. It is much better to print views to file and send to the client as jpegs.

 

Also the cloud will not copy the actual 3d model so if you did want to let customers do their own walk through you would need to get them the model (22mb in my current project) separately.

 

I think Microsoft's Skydrive is a better solution 7gb of space for free. It can also be used as a backup for the whole projects folder. And the 3d model can be there for access by clients.

 

Most disturbing is that when I brought up these issues on Splash my post was deleted. It appears that Softplan is moderating the Forum and deleting some of the discussion which they do not consider to be favorable.

 

I don't care how they want to run their own forum but if we can't discuse issues and how to provide the best possible service to our clients it is of no use to me.

 

 

Bill Wimberley
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3D walkthrough

Hello Chris and welcome to SoftPlanTuts! I'm not quite understanding one of your statements.

Also the cloud will not copy the actual 3d model so if you did want to let customers do their own walk through you would need to get them the model (22mb in my current project) separately.

Can you elaborate more about what you are talking about here?

Bill is the owner and maintainer of SoftPlanTuts.com

ChrisStewart
ChrisStewart's picture
Hi Bill, Great job on the

Hi Bill, Great job on the site.

Unless I am missing something (which is certainly possible) When I open the project in review only the plans are available and the static views or Panoranic views as Softplan calls them.

 

I can generate a ReView model file:  projectname.svm

by going to File/reView/Export reView model file

but it will not publish to the cloud.

 

Also plan sets do not want to show up in Review.

 

 

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
reView

Personally, I have never used reView. I've looked at it a few times but it looked to be very limited in what it could do and not very user friendly for clients. I can see how the ability to have clients mark up drawings and then have those markups import back into the drawing file could be very useful. But training salespeople and homeowners how to use reView is rarely an option unless they are very tech savy. Most are not. In my opinion reView is more useful in a situation such as where a builder provides the plans to a superintendent's PDA and the superintendent marks up items for a punch list as he walks around the house.

Rather than using reView I just create a PDF of all the drawings plus screen shots in 3D and send that to clients for review. If they want to see a 3D walk-through I use TeamViewer and allow them to see my screen while I walk them through the project. That way they can ask questions as we are going through the plan and I can take notes. Also if they want to see what something would look like if I made the changes they want they can see it as I am making the changes.

Often times I will have non-technical clients print out the drawing files from PDF and manually mark up the plans using a red pen. Then take photographs of the markups and email that back to me. Even the most technically illiterate clients can figure out how to use a red pen. Usually.

ChrisStewart
ChrisStewart's picture
yes it seems like apps like

yes it seems like apps like teamviewer and  gotomeeting, etc.  make much more since than letting clients loose to look at the model on their own.

 

I agree that the review interface is too complicated and PDF's are easier to work with.

It makes me question the value of Softplan + but hopefully we will also get some bonus content and faster improvement in the program.

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
SoftPlan+

There are a lot of benefits to SoftPlan+ over just standard SoftPlan. If you haven't looked at all the additional functionality you get with SoftPlan+ check this out. SoftPlan+. I use the Support Tickets quite often to submit problems I come across as well as to submit suggestions for improvements. I also use the project sharing to share projects with other users without having to zip everything up and email back and forth. You get access to all of the training videos which is especially helpful for understanding new features that are added. If you have a particularly difficult problem you are trying to work out SoftPlan tech can access your files directly and walk you through it using Command and Control support. And the coolest thing is the 3D views where a client can walk through the house on an iPhone or iPad. I don't have one of those devices so I haven't seen it first hand but I have seen a video of it in operation. The total cost of SoftPlan+ is only slightly more than upgrading every 2 years but I believe the benefits are worth the extra cost. And you are paying it out a little each month instead of having to come up with the lump sum amount.

ChrisStewart
ChrisStewart's picture
"And the coolest thing is the

"And the coolest thing is the 3D views where a client can walk through the house on an iPhone or iPad"

 

That is what we have just been talking about. First you have to get them the .svm file and the textures folder which can't be done over Softplan +

 

That is just an app which is just another version of ReView made for mobile devices. I still think your use of online meeting software will probably be a better solution.

 

I am currently testing a clients ability to download and walk through a 3d model. I should have some results on that next week.

 

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
reView

Chris, I did some experimenting with reView last night and discovered that if you use SoftPlan+ Publish you are actually publishing your project to the cloud. When you publish you assign the email addresses that you want to have access to the project. An email is automatically sent to the recipient notifying them that they have a new reView project ready for them to view. They open reView and the project loads up automatically. So you don't have to send them anything if you use SoftPlan+ Publish.

When publishing you determine what drawings and/or panoramas you want to send. You can automatically create panoramas of any room that has a room assigned through Room mode. I just did a quick experiment last night and the results were pretty good. When I get more time I'll look into it more. Give SoftPlan+ Publish a try and see what you think.

ChrisStewart
ChrisStewart's picture
Oh?

Oh?

Was your client able to do a 3d walk through?

 

Yes, I have tried it. That is what I have been basing my comments on.

ChrisStewart
ChrisStewart's picture
I can put you on the list to

I can put you on the list to my ReView file and you can tell me if you are able to do a walk through the model.

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
walkthrough

SoftPlan+ Publish didn't create a "walkthrough" but it did create very nice 3D panoramas that you can look around the various rooms and see what they would look like. The 3D panoramas can be created by either using the camera locations from saved views or by using rooms set up in Room Mode. I haven't done a thorough testing yet. I just did a quick test run to see how it worked. After I have time to look at it in more depth I'll be able to discuss it better. reView is just something I have never really taken a good look at before and it is not very well documented so I will have to work with it awhile before I can really understand how it works.

ChrisStewart
ChrisStewart's picture
Ah, I had not noticed that

Ah, I had not noticed that the panorama could be paned around the viewer. That somewhat replaces the missing walkthrough ability and accounts for why it takes so long to load a view.

ChrisStewart
ChrisStewart's picture
I did just download and try

I did just download and try TeamViewer this afternoon with my 84 year old dad and I have to say that it is pretty slick.

Meetings are fairly easy to set up and he could see exactly what I was seeing and where I was moving my mouse.

 

I think that this is going to be a much better solution for working with clients remotely.