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Macgyver

R21: reenable internal Help-system?

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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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Yes, it seems they are in a techno bubble, this by no means an issue with MAXON only, but i see webpages getting worse, fancy but worse, forum software idem, stuff that change just for the sake of change - this also happens with hardware for no reason . This case also makes us question the decision process of a company when things get changed and they don't even seem to have simulated the change. A product manager changes the help system just because have a hunch or there is a new mantra/fashion in the office... Is there even a process?

..

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We're very concerned about user benefit - and it is top of mind. We have had a lot of requests from other folks for exactly this - more integration of Cineversity content and up-to-date information. We've also already had reports (as every year) of typos and inaccuracies - and in truth, the current system is such that I can't even correct them. I realize that may sound to you like a MAXON benefit but I think accurate and up-to-date help is a customer benefit.

 

I understand the concerns about Adobe-style help, and I recognize that my question made things seems as though they were going that direction. Personally I think there's a middle ground, and that's what I'm hoping we can achieve. That said, we're hearing your feedback about offline help and will see what we can do. In truth the internal system had to / has to change because it's not maintainable, but it's a tricky thing to support all the languages we do and the level of integration with each new parameter. Thanks for the feedback as it'll help guide our process.

 

-Rick

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  • 1 hour ago, RBarrett said:

    We're very concerned about user benefit - and it is top of mind. We have had a lot of requests from other folks for exactly this - more integration of Cineversity content and up-to-date information. We've also already had reports (as every year) of typos and inaccuracies - and in truth, the current system is such that I can't even correct them. I realize that may sound to you like a MAXON benefit but I think accurate and up-to-date help is a customer benefit.

     

    I understand the concerns about Adobe-style help, and I recognize that my question made things seems as though they were going that direction. Personally I think there's a middle ground, and that's what I'm hoping we can achieve. That said, we're hearing your feedback about offline help and will see what we can do. In truth the internal system had to / has to change because it's not maintainable, but it's a tricky thing to support all the languages we do and the level of integration with each new parameter. Thanks for the feedback as it'll help guide our process.

     

    -Rick

    Hi Rick,

     

    I don’t know your internal system for editing the help, but I know a thing or two about web-development.

    Actually it sounds like your current internal system needs improvement. You need a custom Content Management System for your online-help anyway. It’s not that difficult to build in a way to spit out a set of static html-files from the whole project. Then this package has just to be wrapped into an update for Cinema 4D that shows up on startup as it did in the past. This could possibly even be automated to a sensible degree.

    What I’m saying is: It’s not rocket science to get the files for the offline help out of an online-CMS. I actually know programmers who can do stuff like this with custom-CMSs.

     

    If some people like the online help, why not make a checkbox in C4Ds preferences? If checked, the internal (!) help browser loads the whole bundle of files offline into the Cinema 4D-directory. If not, the internal(!!!) help browser refers to a url. Both, the downloaded html-files and the online version could refer to the same CSS-file (how it looks) and be lean and mean. Or look at intentionally different CSS-files for a darker colour-theme within Cinema 4D. No rocket science. The system just has to be build (or extended) one time.

    Actually, if you need somebody in Germany who can build the web-part of this system, write me PM (if this is a thing with this forum software…).

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    2 hours ago, RBarrett said:

    ... We have had a lot of requests from other folks for exactly this - more integration of Cineversity content and up-to-date information...

     

    Still don´t understand that solution... These folks requested exactly to remove internal/build-in/offline help system?

    Since MAXON Online help times was everything perfect. Local help system build-in, online version online....perfect.

    Maybe these folks requested just improving online version only. (filled with additional content as videotutorials, links to explanation videos, Cineversity integration etc... )

     

     

     

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    Rick - thanks for being a 'willing  listener' on this important matter! 

    I'd pretty much echo Macgyver's comments 100%.

     

    1. Please - no community content. That's what Google's for.
    When I'm looking for help in complex software like C4D I want direct, detailed, in depth, authoritative information - that I can find immediately and easily
    The very last thing I want is a link to 23 random youtube tutorials... or similar. I hate the fact that Adobe have done this to their help system. Please don't follow them.
     

    2. Just like Macgyver - I have a good amount of 'screen real estate' at my studio and high speed connectivity.  But I typically want to refer to the help most when I am away from the office with my 15" laptop  - minimum screen estate - and poor, or NO, connectivity.

     

    Yes, I understand that a system that can be updated more easily etc would be good. But my priority - by far - is a help system that meets the requirements above - as R20.

     

    Mke

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    1 hour ago, Macgyver said:

    Actually it sounds like your current internal system needs improvement.

     

    Yeah that's exactly what I was inferring - we're working towards a new CMS, and there's a few hurdles we have to overcome to provide the files offline - including how to actually spit out the files and how to redirect to the proper help page from each parameter entry. I'm hoping (and in fact fairly sure) we can find solutions - we just couldn't do it in the R21 timetable.

     

    13 minutes ago, MikeA said:

    Please - no community content. That's what Google's for.

     

    Ok feedback received. How about displaying relevant Cineversity tutorials? Not making this a free-for-all but providing a few curated pathways to additional MAXON-managed resources.

     

     

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    3 minutes ago, RBarrett said:

     

    Yeah that's exactly what I was inferring - we're working towards a new CMS, and there's a few hurdles we have to overcome to provide the files offline - including how to actually spit out the files and how to redirect to the proper help page from each parameter entry. I'm hoping (and in fact fairly sure) we can find solutions - we just couldn't do it in the R21 timetable.

     

     

    Ok feedback received. How about displaying relevant Cineversity tutorials? Not making this a free-for-all but providing a few curated pathways to additional MAXON-managed resources.

     

     

    sounds good to me... just don't clutter help with tuts, make a clean section with tuts at the bottom of the help topic, clearly separated. so for instance, if i wanna look up how feature xy works, i get all the clean info with text and images like i'm used to, and below that a list of CV tutorials relevant to that topic. 

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    15 minutes ago, RBarrett said:

    Ok feedback received. How about displaying relevant Cineversity tutorials? Not making this a free-for-all but providing a few curated pathways to additional MAXON-managed resources.

     

     

     

    I too would like this and what everefresh' suggests. Along with the ability to dock within the layout. When click on the additional CV tutorial which would then open into a browser window.

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