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Macgyver

R21: reenable internal Help-system?

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As one of my former bosses used to say:

« don’t fix what’s not broken ».

This sums it all. 😂

Come on MAXON, the UI improvements in R21 are really good. Why screwing up big time with what has to be a staple feature of C4D? 

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Ralph,
I work with a lot of customers in defence and other  areas who are totally banned and unable to connect their machines to the internet in any form.

So how are they supposed to get help?

 

Your quote: " Online connectivity is something people assume nowadays..."
Please don't assume - you can end up making bad decisions - like this one.

 

"Having the help online greatly increases our flexibility and speed of deployment, especially for the numerous languages we support. It’s the modern agile approach and we are embracing it."


Great to hear it's benefiting MAXON.  Does it benefit your customers?

 

It won't help me. I'm frequently travelling with effectively no internet connection. At the absolute minimum please make this easily downloadable for your users. Like a lot of other users here I thought the exisiting C4D help system was one of the better features of the software. 

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From R14/R15 & R20 I had my layout with 3 tabs. I have two monitors and a lot of the time I'll be following tutorials on the second monitor. When coming to something in a  tutorial it was super hand having the Help tab go straight to what I Right Clicked on within C4D.

 

Having the tutorial window overtaken in the browser wouldn't be a nice user experience for myself right now.

 

image.png.895fad54010a208c373c320f86462b87.png

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Two questions -

 

Which would you choose id offered the choice between offline help in its R20 form and online only help that can be more frequently and easily updated, integrates video tutorials and community links, and perhaps even moderated community contributions?

 

If the help was still online only (and with the benefits above) but within a dockable window would that suit your needs?

 

I realize some have offline limitations but it would help a lot of you'd consider whether offline help is really necessary in your situation. I'd absolutely love to be able to move in both directions (and maybe we can), but getting a clear picture of priorities will help us determine the best way to use our limited resources.

 

Rick

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55 minutes ago, RBarrett said:

Two questions -

 

Which would you choose id offered the choice between offline help in its R20 form and online only help that can be more frequently and easily updated, integrates video tutorials and community links, and perhaps even moderated community contributions?

 

If the help was still online only (and with the benefits above) but within a dockable window would that suit your needs?

 

I realize some have offline limitations but it would help a lot of you'd consider whether offline help is really necessary in your situation. I'd absolutely love to be able to move in both directions (and maybe we can), but getting a clear picture of priorities will help us determine the best way to use our limited resources.

 

Rick

 

Hi Rick,

 

I appreciate you taking your time to listen to us. I’ll try to answer your questions as sincere as possible.

 

1) Definitely the first option: I honestly don’t want the help to be polluted with video tutorials and community stuff. C4Ds help has been the best in the industry. That’s because of it’s direct accessibility in the software but also because it has been written in a very clear and “close to the user” language style. And I don’t need it to change constantly. If the new features were added every year – as has been the case in the past – great! 

I’m playing with R21 since yesterday morning and I really start to even feel the loading times of a not local help-system. It’s not super-long. I have a fast connection in the office. But it adds up over the day and feels much longer than an offline help.

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE the Cineversity content and was very angry to have that not anymore included in the future as a die hard perpetual user. But Cineversity-style content has nothing to be in the help-system, as far as I’m concerned. Make an additional Button or tab in the internal help-browser that optionally loads Cineversity content, but don’t mix them, please.

 

2) No, the lockable/floatable window (that doesn’t open a new tab/window every time I click a help-item) is very important to me, but the disadvantages of online-only outweigh even this.

To better understand, look at my use-case:

When I’m in the office, where I have a good internet connection, I’m working all day on customer projects with proven tools I know how to use. I very seldom try the latest features on a running client project with a tight budget and deadline. In this situation I need the helpsystem only 5%–15% of my overall “help-usage-time”.

Where I often use the help a lot is when I have time to try out (learn!) the new features. That’s unfortunately mostly on long flights (no or VERY BAD expensive internet) on long trainrides accross the country (mostly no or very, very slow internet) or on vaccation on an island or in the mountains (yes, really!) with very slow internet. 

 

The second thing to consider in this situation is: In my office (working for clients) I have 2 big monitors in front of me. In the latter situations, where I acutally need the help-system the most (planes, trains, vacation) I’m only on my 15" MacBook Pro. In this situation, a lockable/floating help within Cinema 4D is a life-saver. It’s so annoying to constantly change back and forth between a browser with a new tab for EVERY f***ing help-link I clicked, and Cinema 4D.

 

Last but not least: It’s a minor annoyance, but it’s the new-tab/window for every help-item I click in c4D. I’m not navigating the help like a webpage. I try something in Cinema 4D, then I need the help on a specific input-field, read it, change some values and then I need help on another one and click it’s help, getting a new window in another software, the browser… and on and on.

 

I feel it’s lost a little with MAXON why their users considered the Cinema 4D help so much better than anyone elses help. In contrast, the Adobe-style online help is hated by so many people I know and work with. We don’t even bother looking for a solution there but just google it. The reason why the Cinema 4D help was(!) so great is not just one thing: not just the writing style or the (up until now) awesome, direct integration in the software, but the sum of it’s parts.

 

I hope that clarifies our huge frustration and anger when we discovered this very real digression of a once great software package.

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1 hour ago, RBarrett said:

Two questions -

 

Which would you choose id offered the choice between offline help in its R20 form and online only help that can be more frequently and easily updated, integrates video tutorials and community links, and perhaps even moderated community contributions?

 

If the help was still online only (and with the benefits above) but within a dockable window would that suit your needs?

 

I realize some have offline limitations but it would help a lot of you'd consider whether offline help is really necessary in your situation. I'd absolutely love to be able to move in both directions (and maybe we can), but getting a clear picture of priorities will help us determine the best way to use our limited resources.

 

Rick

Offline help for me. With links to online videos if I want more details and explanations. I can't stand the lag caused by pages loading. And I loved the possibility to dock the help to my workspace. 

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34 minutes ago, Macgyver said:

 

In contrast, the Adobe-style online help is hated by so many people I know and work with. We don’t even bother looking for a solution there but just google it. The reason why the Cinema 4D help was(!) so great is not just one thing: not just the writing style or the (up until now) awesome, direct integration in the software, but the sum of it’s parts.

I agree 100%. I never use the Adobe help and always end up googling my problem. Takes 10x more time. 

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4 hours ago, RBarrett said:

Two questions -

 

Which would you choose id offered the choice between offline help in its R20 form and online only help that can be more frequently and easily updated, integrates video tutorials and community links, and perhaps even moderated community contributions?

 

If the help was still online only (and with the benefits above) but within a dockable window would that suit your needs?

 

I realize some have offline limitations but it would help a lot of you'd consider whether offline help is really necessary in your situation. I'd absolutely love to be able to move in both directions (and maybe we can), but getting a clear picture of priorities will help us determine the best way to use our limited resources.

 

Rick

Not a question. The former Cinema Help was unbeatable. Industry leading. No need for optimization in any way.

 

As some have already written: Who likes help systems ala Adobe?
Ever looked there for a solution? And found it?
My experience is that googling is the much, much faster way here.
I've been so annoyed with this online cr*p so many times.
(And wished me back the old - excellent - preCloud manuals, yes, paper-manuals)
Hours spent without coming even close to a solution.
It is practically the opposite of Cinemas help system.
(Or: Nobody likes Adobes horrible online help maze)

If I have a problem with a feature, then I usually do not have time to torment myself through any forum (especially community forums with their half-knowledge expertise) or watch videos I do not know from the start if they even show the solution of my problem.
What made Cinemas help so unique was that you got the explanation for functions and parameters without any delay.
That's exactly what I need. And it was hardly ever necessary to seek help beyond that.

Hats off to those who have worked it out.
So - why destroy something that works so well?
(Because the new boss knows that from Adobe, because sooner or later you have to integrate it with Adobe?)
I have nothing against a button to additional (online) learning and tutorial videos or how-to instructions that can be of great use to beginners.
But these too could be integrated in the help (as it was).
Alone, the fact that I have to jump from the browser to the program bothers me already.
Quite apart from the need for an online connection, which in many cases I simply sometimes do not have or may not have.


Bottom line:
No, even a dockable online help does not have the same benefit for me.
The integration of videos and community features usually makes things more confusing (and also costs valuable time if the content has to be loaded first).
I do not put the slightest value on it (in addition to that its OK for me and maybe online just like Cinevercity). I can use when I find the time.
A constant update is not necessary in my opinion. When the functions come out they should be available. Finished.

(Most time, Marketing guys are talking about "faster updated" "more secure" "need for online" - it´s not to our satisfaction)
Where was the problem in the past?

BtW:
The removal of and transition to online help took MAXON that much time that new features became that rare in V21?
Integration of Online Activation and Subscription took that many ressources - both time and money?
Should we really spend (more) money for the "advantages" of a smaller help system, online activation, rental force, loose of MSA, Treatment of longtime Studio-Users, smaller Updates?
The list of Advatages of Version 21 is long - for MAXON.

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Oh man, I can well imagine what has happened to you, dear MAXON developers.
Here comes a new boss with "really great" news.
We do everything differently now ... better ... faster ... online ...

"Let´s do it Adobe.style ... cloudy ...!"
Stomach aches will have set in.
"But that's already great ..." you'll have thought ...
"That's not a bit better ..." and so on.
I know how loyal and helpful you have been in all these last years.
And now you have to happily introduce a subscription model (you know what most users think of).
Had to waste so many resources on things you did not even believe in.
Oh yes, that can hurt.
But the worst thing I can imagine is, if you have to sell that as a great news & advantage.
Oh yes, I can imagine ... The look in the mirror ...

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On 9/3/2019 at 11:58 AM, MRalph said:

Hello,

I'm one of the Product Managers here at MAXON, and the one who managed the new deployment system's creation, so I felt I should reply.

The whole Cinema4D experience is moving into the modern online world. Online connectivity is something people assume nowadays. Having the help online greatly increases our flexibility and speed of deployment, especially for the numerous languages we support. It’s the modern agile approach and we are embracing it.

We’ve had a few isolated requests to have the Help made available in an offline form and we’ll investigate now the R21 is out.

I'm sorry you feel this release is below par, that's certainly not how we view it, nor how I testers have felt.

Kind Regards,

Ralph

 

Okay...If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: PLEASE STEP OUT OF YOUR ECHO CHAMBER and stop listening to yourselves.

 

Start listening to your customers.  Never consider an action that benefits MAXON unless it ALSO benefits your customers and be darn sure that you have asked a good cross  section of  your customers if that action really is a benefit.

 

The whole thread just shows how out-of-touch MAXON is becoming with the real world as you embrace the "modern on-line world". 

 

It also shows the massive shift of corporate culture going on within MAXON.  There is a very obvious theme throughout all of your actions of putting MAXON's interests ahead of your customers.   

 

That is a losing strategy. 

 

We all see it and my hope is that you step out of your own echo chamber long enough to see it for yourselves.

 

Dave

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