If you were to set up a system to review and recommend design software, these aspects should form part of your checklist or research priorities. The things that the users would be most concerned and interested in. No design software review should be written without the details and suggestions, as noted below.
The results of testing
The software needs to be able to do what it says on the tin. Software needs to be tested for exactly what it is supposed to be able to do and as many of the different versions and possibilities for the work to take. The remainder of the review will mean nothing, and neither will the amazing user interface nor the fact that all your competitors have the software, unless it works as it should to improve and streamline specific business systems and processes.
Costs and business benefits
The costs that the business will need to pay for the software versus the defined benefits need to be calculated and part of any discussion about the adoption of any new software or IT systems. It’s a simple cost benefit analysis and one that must be done as part of an IT audit to determine the exact nature of the software/hardware and infrastructure required, where it can be accessed or purchased, and the costs thereof. Write the review with the most current costings and ensure that you make the reader aware of the authenticity and neutrality of the review so it’s not a sales pitch.
Is the software agile and flexible?
The ability to work on the software on several different platforms and machines, as well as operating systems, is one of the principles of agile and flexible software development. Some may refer to it as movability in that it’s about transferring the workflows and information from place to place, or at least accessing it wherever you are. A great example of this is how the PCB design software from Altium is able to allow CAD data to be viewed using the software and also provides seamless collaboration across the entire PCB design process. These are aspects of the software that you must discuss and relate to the user or prospective user exactly how agile and flexible the software is. Use various similar software variants for the same use function to discuss these features, wherever possible.
Screenshots and specific use guidance
The modern software reviewer needs to make the information interactive and communicative. Any review should include screenshots and short video clips of the software being used and explanations of best practice and best use scenarios. Shortcuts and tips for use are the main aspects of any review that everyone wants to access, and the more interactive and interesting these are, the better.
If you’re interested in reading genuine software reviews, you should be looking for the aspects mentioned herein to be included as a must. It’s these aspects of the review that will make it worthwhile reading it and a resource for those who use the design software or have at least considered it.