Cloud CAD options: Don’t make me think

Cloud CAD options: Don’t make me think

Big news for everyone interested in CAD and cloud. You can try a browser version of Autodesk Fusion360 now. Bryce Heventhal  blog Fusion 360 in a Browser (Preview) – DESIGN DIFFERENTLY – Autodesk. Read the blog and try Autodesk Fusion 360 in a browser. I did…

It made me think about earlier cloud CAD discussions. Check out my blogs Carl Bass and Jon Hirschtick are in agreement about future of CAD; Autodesk and Onshape are disagree about cloud technology and focus. Fusion 360 in a browser was first mentioned back in 2015 as “Project Leopard”. You probably remember my blog – Autodesk Fusion360 and Onshape trajectories are getting close. So, as far as I can see, it is available for everyone in preview now.

But how Autodesk is going to balance between browser and desktop version of Fusion360? Today it looks like an alternative editing option in Autodesk Fusion Team (you might remember this as A360). As you can see, 2 edit options are available – desktop and browser.

The news about future Fusion360 in a browser development made me think about normalization in cloud CAD development. As things will be moving forward, CAD vendors will try to have more options. And it is happening with Fusion360 now. I can see upside and downsides. Autodesk users are getting browser based edit option, which is obviously a good thing. But, thinking about options made me feel sick. I don’t want to think about options, unless I really need. It will force me to compare features and think what option to use. And for CAD vendor, it is a question of resources and compatibility of features between 2 different options.

What is my conclusion? Browser based CAD is getting more traction. If you follow Onshape development, you can see how Onshape is catching up and adding new features. Autodesk is recognizing the importance of browser based CAD and adding this option Fusion 360. This is great news for users. It is still not clear to me how these two options will co-exist. From data management standpoint, it is not clear to me how Fusion360 will keep consistency of data between desktop and browser based sessions. And from experience perspective, I believe users want one version of CAD does everything they need. To jump between 2 different versions requires additional thinking effort from users. It is a time to refresh my favorite “Don’t make me think” paradigm. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of openBoM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.

Don’t make me think – a UX bestseller by Steve Krug


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