We're in a bit of a holding pattern since CHA has not begun and the eCraft machines are still in the delivery pipeline. So, in an effort to become a little LESS clueless about digital cutters, I thought I'd use the time to look around a bit at all the current offerings.
I begin by exploring the Sizzix eClips by viewing their promotional videos.
Because the eClips is limited to modifying internal or cartridge based shapes, it falls outside of our area of interest. Bur, even so, the quest was not without some merit that helps to remind us of some basic things we need to keep in mind when evaluating software and systems.
Before viewing a video that demonstrates the eClips navigation system, I'd like to point out some of my observations so that when you take the time to view the short video, you can see if you agree or not.
The whole point of the video is to convince you that the remote control is very EASY to use. But, it appears to me that they completely missed the boat on that one by the layout of their buttons. The demonstrator is constantly going back and forth between the screen and various buttons that have very few visual clues as to their immediate function. Until one learns the relationship of the screen and buttons at different points along the design flow, it appears to me that the interface isn't intuitive at all.
By including buttons around the perimeter of the screen, they could have used the screen, itself, to provide clues as to the appropriate actions at any stage of the design process. A great example of a truly easy screen\button interface can be found on many digital keyboards. Watch how effortlessly the player can switch styles, etc. That is because the the screen and buttons are linked. No jumping back and forth.
Now, let's compare the Sizzix eClips design in which the screen and buttons are NOT obviously linked. Let's take a look at the navigation video for the eClips remote.
To me this is a perfect example of calling something EASY when it is not.
Of course, to be fair, "easy" is a relative term. But, my criteria is based on the possible design verses the chosen design. And, by this criteria, the eClips designers could have done a LOT better job actually making the eClips easy to use with fewer steps involved in the user's design workflow.
Nice idea? Perhaps. But, the implementation seems poor to me.