Beta testing, much like the community, brings together NX users from all over the world. It’s a fun opportunity for people from all different backgrounds, industries, and design disciplines to meet in person to not only test the software, but as mentioned in our previous blog post, to share opinions and help guide the direction of the future of NX.
For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to attend before, you may wonder what exactly takes place over the course of the week. Each attendee brings a dataset with which to work. You get assigned a workstation for the week (or two, as the case may be. More testers are opting to attend for the full two weeks to allow for additional testing time). The environment is very collaborative: Everyone is gathered together in the computer lab, and people often stop what they’re doing to watch others and discuss, share what they discover about the software.
You may imagine each day consists solely of testing–this is how I expected beta to be–but there are various breakout sessions dedicated to discussing new aspects of the software. There is a mix of presentations and demos along with roundtables where the users can have open conversations with the Siemens team.
When providing feedback, people tend not to hold back, which makes for productive and lively talks. The most popular session, by far, is the usability discussion which concerns questions such as how much training is needed to use a feature, and will this change have a positive effect on your workflow? Whereas other sessions tend to draw smaller niche audiences, nearly every single tester stops what they’re doing to attend the usability talk.
While specifics are off limits for discussion at this time, Multiple Displayed Parts is one new function we can talk about. You may have seen Chris’s blog in which he and Johannes mention MDP. If not, you should go back and take a look. Multiple Displayed Parts will allow you to view parts and assemblies in a tabbed layout. You can pull views out and rearrange them in almost limitless combinations for fast, convenient comparison (the name itself is pretty self-explanatory, eh?). So far, Multiple Displayed Parts has been one of the most popular changes coming to NX. During the usability discussion, virtually everyone raised their hand to indicate that it would positively affect their users.
In addition to the positive feedback, much of the usability discussion was dedicated to talk of how to make the user experience even better. At the end of the day, what matters most is creating great software that our customers can use right off the bat to improve their processes, workflows, and ultimately help them to deliver the best products possible ahead of their competitors. The discussions that take place and the feedback our customers provide during beta makes that a reality.