The first thing that you notice, speaking as a SolidWorks user, when walking through the basic tutorial is the lack of a “sketch” environment. You just start sketching. You don’t have to pre-select or post-select a plane or a face, and start a sketch, you just sketch. When we start talking about ordered sketches vs Synchronous sketches, the value of it will jump again, but for right now, 2 minutes into the first tutorial, Solid Edge has already made the 1 thing I do most easier than it is in SW.
And the second thing doesn’t take long to hit me either. The Command Bar. The Command Bar doesn’t take up a huge amount of space. It doesn’t cover over the FeatureManager (Pathfinder in SE) exactly when you need to select something from it. It’s just unobtrusive, easy to access, full of options. Maybe a little cryptic. SolidWorks PropertyManager is too cumbersome and verbose, and the Command Bar is maybe kind of sparse. This is the kind of thing that you’ve got to learn to get the value from it. If you don’t use it much, you will wind up relying on tooltips, which is fine, but it doesn’t play to its strengths. It condenses the interface, and makes it quick for experienced users, but it may be a little too sparse or cryptic for new users. Are there any options for display of tooltip data?
I guess you’re only a noob for a short time, though, and after making a couple of parts, you understand that the items are: (Excuse the sloppy powerpoint capture here)
Not to pick this to pieces, but drop-down interfaces always require additional clicks. The advantage is that they are compact. Maybe there could be some additional options such as expanded by default, or auto-expand so that it would expand when you mouse over it. Or even an “icons with text” option. Each of those options has drawbacks. This thing is tiny compared to the mess that is the PropertyManager, it could afford a little extra bulk if that improved usability. What do you guys think?