Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Observations about the new Wiki Help for Revit and other Autodesk products:

Internet Explorer 8 - some things just don't work. The controls to scroll move in the opposite direction and the cursor icon seems stuck on the "hand" for some reason. Okay I'm a bit behind, haven't installed IE9 yet.

[Edit: This bit is "knucklehead syndrome", my tablet device is the culprit for the interface change and me not being very observant. I'm leaving this because perhaps there is something in it that their web developer might find useful.]

Switch to Firefox 4 - all better...at least from the UI standpoint. Odd because Autodesk's web stuff almost always seems to have a preference to the IE browser.

As it turns out I never noticed the little "hand" cursor on my IE8 toolbar. I noticed it after recording the video. Clicking on it turns "on the hand" and that's when the page misbehaves. Turn it off and back to normal. There is no tooltip but turning it on allows you to use the mouse to scroll a web page. Turning it back off allows you to select text. I never noticed it before and have no idea how I turned it on earlier. Microsoft Word calls it "Panning Hand" so I imagine that IE8 should too? A bit more research yields, the "panning hand" becomes available in IE with tablet PC's, so my Wacom Intous 4 must be "adding" it.

I'd like one thing to always be true for help documentation. If I type in the name of a feature in the product I'd like the help search to return an actual topic, not this:

It's not like I made up the text string I chose, I pulled it from here:

Tried "Sun Path", also found in the Properties Palette for a view, no results found.
Tried "Title on Sheet" - I get a link to a tip to create a small 3D view submitted by a member of the User Experience Team

From my perspective I'd like to be able to take something that I'm curious about and find what help has to "say" about it. Since the Display Analysis Styles feature was new to 2011 and there is something more to look at with 2012 I was curious to see what the Help documentation had to "say". I wasn't surprised that I got my result. I'm used to it happening unfortunately. With the Wiki concept it nows becomes a question of whether or not I dare to start a section for it or not...or wait till "someone" else decides to.

Back to the thing that started this post, Display Styles for Analysis. There is a section for THIS. Since I searched for the text found in the Properties Palette I thought I'd use a simpler string now that I know that the topic exists. I tried "Display Style"... "Your search query did not return any results". Nuts! When I try entering the exact title for the topic displayed below...same result, zip nada.

Hoping for the day that the search functionality works!


jimij said...

"It's not like I made up the text string" -I feel your pain. Why are Autodesk help files so horrible? I actually have more luck with just good old google and helpful blogs ;)

Dave said...

I'm with you.
I just tried:
"masking region"
"Masking Region"

All of which failed.
"region" came up with a couple of hits about Crop Regions.

Jeff Hanson: Autodesk UX said...

I just wanted to stop in here and let you know this problem is being worked on. If you try the search again you will notice the results for 2012 are blank as Steve has reported, but if you select the 2011 branch in the search many results will be shown. There is an issue with the search engine indexing the content of the Wiki version of the help. We are working to reslove the problem.

Cactus said...

It seems to work if you Google your Keyword or phrase. The top hit for "worksharing update frequency" was the Autodesk wiki, and there was some (mostly useless) content there. The same search from within the wiki found nothing.

Steve said...

Thanks Jeff, seems search functionality is always getting worked on with regard to help ;)

Wasn't that the same situation with 2011 web based help docs too? Still don't see that work very well either.

I hope they get it sorted out, there sure is a lot of information buried in help. We have to try to get inside "your mind" to figure out where things will be. ;)

Jeff Hanson, Autodesk UX said...

The search tool in WikiHelp is functioning again. A small change had been made over the weekend that was inadvertantly excluding WikiHelp results from the search.