Things Are Getting Touchy (PLM Tablet User Experience Thoughts)

Do we need to kill a mouse? Josh Mings, author and founder at SolidSmack mentioned middle-mouse button wheel as one of the five best CAD related innovations of the last decade.

And I agree with this statement. However, do you like your iPhone? Alternatively, maybe you like your HP TouchSmart? What do you think about future user experience in the world that moving fast to the touch user experience?  Do you think we are going to see a massive shift in user experience with the introduction of touch screen devices and tablets?

At the time that whole world is preparing to the potential coming Apple’s announcement of the new tablet device, I decided to put some thoughts and analyze what potential it can bring to the people in the PLM eco-system.  Before going to analyze, take a look on the following video. Despite the fact, it is related to publishing market, I found it as the closest example to the world of 3D/CAD/PDM/PLM…

So, what do think? I’m sure you figured out some ideas that already had chance to see in CAD user experience, like SolidWorks mouse gestures. If you lately made some experience with 3DVIA Mobile, you can find some associations too.

However, I want to figure out some PLM organizational sweet-spots for such user experience:

1. Sales. What can be better than present something live and handy? The growing interest in iPhone applications is the simplest confirmation. We can see a growing amount of demo iPhone apps presenting content or even mockups of your product, ideas, etc. Be able to do the same with your users, show product look and feel, demonstrate features. I’m sure products like 3DVIA Composer from DS and similar publishing tools can be an ideal target to be presented on tablet devices.

2. Design review. It looks like tablet experience can be a good companion for collaborative work during design reviews and meetings. You don’t like people hiding behind screens of laptops and desktop monitors. It can be very cool to be able to have such a handy device to work on your current presentation.

3. Manufacturing shop-floor mobility. This is another opportunity. To have a mobile device of size bigger than PDA can open additional functions for people in the shop-floor to access different product and manufacturing related information. Operation instructions, documents – this is only the initial list of what can be used.

You can think, these are futuristic examples… Maybe, however, I’m pretty sure, our future will be much more touchy than today. However, the biggest challenge will be PLM applications. Take a look on today’s user experience. I think we are far from ideal and there is a long way towards new user experience and ideas to become real life.

Just my thoughts.
Best, Oleg


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