I would interested to hear about some great User Interface examples that you’ve had exposure to or even use on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be CAD (although that would be ideal) but anything that you think does an exceptional job in presenting an extremely easy-to-use and well thought-out workflow. For instance, the iPhone, in my opinion, is a great example of interaction design. For our purposes, I thinking of UI design, not interaction (hardware/software) and in the creative design space. programs like MOI (Moment of Inspiration), Alias Image Studio, Bryce3D, as well as other “creative” type of products like iMovie, PhotoShop, Corell Painter etc.
Also, do you know of some talented UI consultants and where you can go to review their work and capabilities? Where should I start to look?
I recommend checking out Bill Buxton: http://www.billbuxton.com/
He was the former chief UI designer at Alias, and responsible for great products like Alias Sketchbook Pro. His new book is great. He’s now at Microsoft.
Google consistently gets it right: Sketchup, Maps, Finance etc.
I like “MindJet Mind Manger Pro 7” for it’s intuitive and clean UI (which now follows the Microsoft “ribbon” convention.)
Don’t forget the Nintendo Wii, and associated videogames–lot’s of innovation there.
Alias studio also rules with its marking menus, (good Fitts) soon enough you dont bother looking at the text and you have learnt the action of CTRL+Shit+Middle mouse button (HOLD)+move UP is ‘move’. Then you can almost operate the CAD system like driving the car or playing an instrument. Now if SW had that it would rock.
Take Pro/E on the other hand which has very bad Fitts you mouse is constantly going back and forth. along with If I want to exit a sketch I have to click like a zillon times to come out.
Take a look over at don Norman, and bruce tognazzini sites, as I’m sure they have lots of examples in there too…and I’m sure you could get them work on your UI http://www.nngroup.com/
PS: I would say solidworks but I see your from solidworks so that doesn’t really count.
Isn’t Interaction Design still distinct from UI design? I’ve always though of them as different disciplines. What we’re looking for is Hard Core UI design for a major software product. I think there is definitely crossover, but we will not be interfacing hardware with this product.