Design Problem

Improve User Experience of A360 Viewer for People Who Do 3d-printing

Project Overview


A360 Viewer is a free online viewer for 2D and 3D designs including AutoCAD DWG, DXF, Revit RVT and Inventor IPT, as well as STEP, SolidWorks, CATIA and other over 50 formats. Uploading and viewing CAD files are very easy and convenient with its straightforward drag and drop interface. Since it’s a browser-based tool, users don’t have to download or install any software or plugins to view large and complex files.


From the analytics, a fact has been found that the format of a significant number of files uploaded to the viewer is .stl, which is the most common file format for 3d-printing. This fact indicates that many people who do 3d-printing are using this viewer for their work. During this project, my team was trying to find some solutions to improve the user experience of A360 viewer for people who do 3d-printing.

My Role

I was honored to join Cloud Platform UX (CPUX) Team at Autodesk Inc. in 2015 summer as an interaction designer intern to work on this project with other 2 interns (one as a UX researcher and another one as a product manager).


We did a lot of background research about 3d-printing and users of A360 Viewer in the beginning. I conducted competitive analysis between A360 viewer with other 6 .stl file online viewers including 3dvieweronline, Viewstl... from the perspective of user experience.

I participated and facilitated in 30 user interviews to find our user’s pain points.

After analyzing the qualitative and quantitative data, I led the design activities and synthesis using Luma methods. I proposed 4 new features which could be added onto the current A360 viewer and presented them in Lo-fi prototypes. After discussing with CPUX team, I designed the hi-fi prototype of the new features added and did a presentation to CPUX team and other audience in the department.


After I left the internship for about 2 weeks, one of the features I proposed was launched now. This feature is helping users to take a screenshot of what they uploaded to the viewer by one click.

Design Process

Define Design Problem

Because 3d printing is relatively a new area to me and the other 2 interns, we did a lot of research to define the design problem.

1. In order to get a better understanding of 3d-printing, we interviewed around 30 participants who do 3d-printings for different purposes, in order to see how could A360 viewer could fit in their working cycles.

2. I conducted analysis of A360 viewer to synthesize the hierarchy and functionality of A360 viewer. Meanwhile we analyzed features of other competitor viewers to get inspiration from their solutions to the same problem.

3. We sent out surveys to users who upload .stl files to A360 Viewer to ask about their purposes and pain points of using the viewer to do 3d-printing.


After analyzing the qualitative and quantitative data collected from research, we brainstormed to generate ideas. Then we used Luma methods to synthesize the potential design opportunities for A360 Viewer for target users.


We summarized potential design opportunities that exist in 3 areas (for the confidential issue, the specific content won’t be listed here). After analyzing the feasibility and possibility, we proposed 4 features focusing on improving asynchronous/synchronous communication for A360 Viewer users who do 3d-printing. I created low fidelity mock-ups and high fidelity prototypes to present those proposed features.

The launched feature is one-key screenshot function: when user hits the screenshot button on the top of viewer, current view will be captured automatically. Thus user can save the image to local machine for either self record or sharing with others.


Although we didn't get chance to evaluate this prototype before I left my internship at Autodesk, after this feature released, internal analytics showed that more users came to the webpage of A360 Viewer. The screenshot function was an important factor that attracts more users to use this product.

Video Demo