Simon Purves of 20-20 Technologies explains why its Fusion FX CAD software has a new look and the benefits of its Microsoft ribbon menu
Why have you changed the look of the Fusion software?
We’d run out of space on our interface. The Fusion platform is very feature rich with videos, architectural programs, tiling programs and we only had so much space. So, as we were bringing in new features, like linking in with Google SketchUp, where do you put them? The menus were becoming bigger and bigger. It’s a complete rewrite. But we’ve not changed the product. We’ve not changed the functionality. We’ve just moved features to a different place [to make them easier to find].
It looks very familiar…
We thought of all the multi-millions of people using Microsoft Office, so why not have something similar? It’s a scroll. So instead of vertical menus, the Ribbon [menu] is horizontal and everything is in front of you. What we are trying to do is give [users] an interface which is very familiar – which is good for people who are new to the business.
What are the benefits of using Fusion FX?
We’ve noticed the training time with new designers is quicker [on Fusion FX] because it looks like something they’ve seen before. We’ve taken 30% of clicks out of the design process. Before, if you clicked on a cupboard and you wanted to change it, you went into one menu and if you wanted to resize it, you went into another menu. Now, you click on the cupboard and you can move it or change it – you’re not going from menu to menu. It’s about making [the design process] more efficient. The good thing about Ribbon is – instead of having long words – there’s simple graphics. So a picture of a paint pot is obviously going to colour something and that’s how you learn. It also includes Microsoft help files menu, which opens up a whole ream of information. We have a manned help desk here and support the whole of the UK but I think the more interactive you make the product, the easier it is to find information. People will go there first – like Google.
Kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom design can be quite labour-some and it’s about making it easy for our customer to get where they need to be with the design process – because everyone is under pressure for time. A consumer on the street might go to four kitchen showrooms, but he’s only going to buy one kitchen. Not everybody gets a piece of the pie and it’s whoever does the visual gets the pie.
Are visuals more important now, than ever, for consumers?
Everybody makes a decision with their eyes – whether you’re choosing your next partner, your next meal or your next holiday. Years ago, when I was a kid, every front room had a pile of holiday brochures and you’d get a picture of the pool and a picture of breakfast and you’d book your holiday based on that. People don’t do that anymore – they are on Streetmap and Tripadvisor, [finding out] what’s the hotel like? what’s the view like? Is there a building site next to it? CAD is the Tripadvisor of kitchens. When you give someone a picture, they can immediately give you a decision. If they answer your questions – then you’re designing it together.
What about users with the old look Fusion programme, are they still supported?
Classic [old-look software] has not been discontinued but not developed, since we brought FX out. Classic is still available. But anybody that buys Fusion today will be given FX as standard. And designers can download a link to overwrite Classic with FX. It works with the same database, so keep all customer files and designs. When we did the launch, we worked on the fact that it would take 12 months to get everybody – the whole estate – [on FX].
For the complete feature, read the September issue of Kitchens & Bathrooms News