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At Vectorworks, our engineers use several sources to help develop new features, such as user requests on the community board, distributor recommendations, and competitive analysis. Another beneficial tool they rely on to decide what new features to produce is data analytics.

With data analytics, there are no definite answers. Our data engineers have to look at the data with an open mind in order to find something they didn’t expect to see.

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Big-Data Engineer Chen Zheng

One of our big-data engineers is Chen Zheng, who has been working at Vectorworks since 2015. Her day-to-day responsibilities include helping the other engineers decipher data analytics and user logs, allowing them to make insightful decisions about improvements to the software. Data like this is particularly useful in helping the team create keyboard shortcuts for Vectorworks, because it can provide a snapshot of which commands and tools designers use the most. 

For example, for the recent  feature, the engineers wanted to create an easy shortcut so users could quickly toggle between single view and multi-view settings. By analyzing data captured through the software, they discovered which default keys users prefer and tracked how many users favor customized keys. This data helped them choose which keyboard shortcut would benefit users the most.

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Key usage metrics used to determine the ‘M’ key as the shortcut for multiple drawing views

Zheng says her job is interesting because she makes important assessments that make our systems better and better, and it’s all based on feedback from our users. The metric reports show which tools and keys users choose to utilize the most, allowing her and her team to easily make tweaks and adjustments. “It’s interesting to see how users have different preferences,” Zheng said.

If you have certain preferences or wish list items that you would like to share with our big-data engineers, please share them through the Vectorworks Community Board.