This Should Be A Lot Easier Than it is

When every solution is just a good demo and not a good tool.

My wife and I wanted to buy a new couch — the problem we ran into though was the new couch is huge. I typically can see how and where things fit very easily in my head, but this one needed some more planning because even I wasn’t sure.

This seemed like the most natural use for an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil if I had ever heard of one. In the past I used various CAD programs on my Mac, or often Adobe Illustrator to help me figure it out. This time I downloaded a ton of apps to try and see what I could do to plan out this room.

This may be the most frustrating thing I have ever tried to do on iOS. Because there are tools to do this (tons of them), they are just all clunky messes. Let’s just run through a basic exercise: create a rectangular room of 12′ by 18′, add in a couch that is 144″ by 36″. Two very basic shapes, let’s see how long it takes.

The first app I tried is ‘Graphic’ which even has a floor plan template — off to a great start. I started by trying to draw the room rectangle, except the page size wasn’t big enough. Then when I reset the scale so it would fit, I couldn’t just draw something precisely that size — instead I had to key in the values. We can stop now, it doesn’t get better — what a mess.

I tried a bunch of other apps, but my God they are terrible. They seem to focus more on creating something you might see on HGTV, rather than something that is quick and usable. This should not be a hard problem to solve — the solutions I found seem designed by what looks good in screenshots and fantasy, instead of what would actually be useful for a human.

All I want is to draw two shapes, and manipulate one within the other — maybe be able to measure things to check clearances. I couldn’t care less about applying a faux wood floor.

The last app I tried is Archisketch, which is not cheap, but it’s saving grace is that it is simply less worse than all the others. There has to be better options, and I am hoping some of you know of them. All I want to be able to do is to manipulate shapes in a room so I can get an idea of how things layout instead of standing in the room with a tape measure and randomly moving things around.

If you know of something better, get in touch.

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