V14 - All About That Face (Interface)!

Aug 24, 2018 | Posted by: Sherry Hess

As I was preparing for IMS2018 and the pending release of NI AWR Design Environment V14, I was reminded of our reputation in the market, earned 20 years ago at the 1998 Baltimore IMS, where we introduced a refreshingly intuitive software solution that was easy to use and had the ability to tune circuit performance the way RF engineers wanted it to do so.  In other words, our user interface (see image for screen of our first official release) that first put us on the map offered and continues to offer real benefit by thinking like designers and anticipating their needs.  The intuitive nature of our interface continues to gain and keep customers smitten with our software products ever since.

Perhaps because it’s summer or I’m listening to too much pop on the radio as I drive to the office, but all the mentions of interface this and interface that reminded me of a Meghan Trainor hit song called “It’s All About that Bass.”  Bass?  What about “face” as in interface?  

 [Queue music and see parody lyric on the right.]

Not to over simplify this major new release, but the interface (or rather "Face") of V14 software has continued to evolve and be improved in two significant ways.

The first is with our wizard technology that takes seemingly complex tasks and numerous mouse clicks and keystrokes and turns those into user-productivity solutions. Underlying our design wizards is a software architecture that enables our development and applications teams, as well as our customers, to design powerful utilities that automate engineering design steps. This allows our users to focus more on engineering and less on the nuts and bolts of driving a software tool. 

Three specific examples of this wizard technology are found in V14 and include our new network synthesis module, our enhanced PCB import wizard, and our streamlined phased-array wizard.  The interfaces for all of these features live up to the Microwave Office legacy for innovation and ease of use. I invite everyone to check out the videos for each of these on AWR.TV within our V14 Playlist to see for yourself.

The second striking development pertains to overall usability and upping the intuitive factor.  From the new and improved tuning bar for large-scale parametric design, to the centralized management of measurement data for creating and managing reports all from within a single frame, to iNets™ intelligent nets improvement for faster and more robust routing through modules, and to all the other ongoing enhancements to our UI that find their way into each and every release, a focus on usability and user productivity continue to be a key part of each new release.  

While this blog started off a bit tongue in cheek with the Face song parody, it ends on a serious note in that at the end of the day, our recently released V14 NI AWR Design Environment platform continues to show our dedication to customers and our commitment and focus on building products that empower RF/microwave designers with a superior user experience in order to ensure their design success.