User interface procedures

User interface procedures are needed to define and describe the company's CAD/CAM/CAE user interface and assist all users, both casual and experienced, to gain the most benefit from CAD/CAM/CAE. These User Guides should not duplicate the vendors' user manuals, but show in detail how CAD/CAM/CAE should be used to achieve defined production objectives, such as the preparation of an electrical schematic drawing. (Vendors' manuals generally concentrate on describing system commands and features, not their application.)

A major ingredient of the recipe for high user productivity is good User Guides supported by an effective user interface with software tuned to meet the company's production requirements. A CAD/ CAM system computer is good at repeating instructions and stringing together production commands. This capability enables software to be built to meet specialized requirements. For the full benefits of CAD/CAM/CAE to be achieved, all such software improvements and new facilities must be transmitted to the users through controlled documents, i.e., User Guides, which detail any non-standard software in the context of real production work.

A feedback loop should be incorporated to allow hands-on users to identify enhancements for formal review by management and the system support team. The result of this review should be fed back to the users to close the loop. The importance of allowing the hands-on user to influence the way that the system is developed and applied should not be underestimated, since it is they who have the greatest knowledge of the way the system is used.

There should be one User Guide for each major area of work undertaken on the CAD/CAM/CAE system. These areas include creating symbols, developing three-dimensional models, preparing two-dimensional models, analysis, simulation and preparing NC data. Each User Guide should include any special instructions and all the necessary guidance required to perform the defined task.

  • Logging on and off
  • File naming
  • Symbol or figure library
  • Menu
  • Drawing frame
  • Layering
  • Structured material take-off lists and parts lists

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Page last modified on February 11, 2000
Copyright 1999, 2000 by John Stark