Autodesk Fusion 360
Autodesk Fusion 360
As access to 3D printers become more widely available its refreshing to see tools like this one that lower the barriers in the creation of printable objects. We haven’t yet tried the software as its still in beta but it promises great things. We look forward to seeing the developers deliver on those promises.
Autodesk Fusion 360
CAD FOR THE REST OF US. Fusion 360 is the first complete, cloud-based, 3D CAD solution for product design, and targets a new user: Modern Makers that design differently with a DIY approach to developing new products. This program allows designers and engineers freedom to take work anywhere with powerful and accessible design and collaboration tools. Designers are enabled with 3D organic free-form modeling, surfaces, and solids in one integrated solution. Users open, edit and save designs in common formats and can consult specialists and collaborate with peers. This new platform integrates across disciplines and provides connected collaboration.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
DESIGN FOR THE FUTURE OF MAKING. Many user interfaces of CAD systems are overly designed, over featured, and get in the way of the intended focus of the consumer- their work. The learning curve of the software itself is often more challenging than the design task. With this in mind, Autodesk committed to a vision of the future that will see design, development and manufacturing radically change over the next ten years. The company has been moving towards an integrated, cloud-enabled experience that promises to connect makers directly to consumers and democratize the design, production and sale of new products. One of the first of this new generation of products is Autodesk Fusion 360, targeted at accelerating the "Future of Making." Autodesk asked our team to help with the visual positioning and design of this new platform to connect with Modern Makers. In order to strike a balance between accessible simplicity, expert power, and software smarts - the team created a detailed visual design and interaction language for Fusion 360.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
Our team identified three attributes which we used to connect the visual design of the platform with the user’s perceptions and requirements: finding the right balance between SIMPLE, SMART and POWERFUL. Fusion360 needed to be SIMPLE: to be approachable and easy to use, fun and engaging over time, without ever being simplistic. It also needed to be SMART: useful for many kinds of projects, to be customized to the each user's needs, and adapt over time. Fusion360 needed to be POWERFUL: to have the capabilities and performance to make people productive while tackling challenging design problems, without ever becoming too complex or intimidating for the target users. Fusion360 is: SIMPLE: Iconic Hierarchy of Tools and Commands An engaging series of visual elements that moves away from the technical references of the past. Color-coding by capability creates clarity whether the user is working in Solids, Surfacing or Assembly modes. SMART: Intuitive Model Navigation and Manipulator Kept the user's work as the central focus, with the user interface as a supporting element in the experience. Consistent system for the in-canvas manipulator that clarifies the multiple states and modes for modifying surfaces and solids. Usable across the range of extreme light and dark environments a user might choose. POWERFUL: Surfacing Support and Collaboration Users can work seamlessly between solids and surfaces, expanding their confidence and capabilities to tackle design changes. Built-in social features allow users to learn more quickly, whether it is learning new capabilities or tackling a tough design challenge.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
DESIGN, TEST, ITERATE. The team included both UX and design process experts to attack the problem from both points of view: from the perspective of world-class experience design and also from the point of view of the true workflow of design and engineering experts. Rapid iteration of the user experience included prototypes built from paper and digitally in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and Keynote. Graphics for user interface elements were imported into existing CAD packages to simulate the modeling environment. Through these iterations, the ideal form for icons, toolbars and in-canvas manipulators was reached. The final assets were then generated and sent to the development team for integration into a web-based coding environment.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
This program enables designers and engineers to work and collaborate from anywhere and it will change with way that maker’s make in the future. Our team created a clean, modern visual system that lets the user’s work be the central focus and gives the tools a supporting role. The visual and interactive design targets novices, experimenters and prototypers without alienating the more serious engineering consumer.