UX Design Success Story: Visual Redesign and Functional Regroup
When first introduced, the online 360 scan publishing and viewing tool was a success, and perhaps a victim of its own success. It became widely used by B2B customers to share 360 panoramic views of their laser scans, measure and mark them up.
Assigned the task of upgrading the UX, I first noticed the visual design could use a facelift. The icons looked like they were borrowed from a number of different sources, and they were not clearly grouped or coupled with screen interactions (Figure 1). The open structure of the distributed software allowed end users to modify the interface, so the authorship of the software could be obscured (Figure 2).
The new version would have a toolbar with functional groups of icons clearly labelled. Particular groups on the toolbar are matched with screen view saving, measuring and markup properties on the left sidebar. I made the left sidebar an accordion style menu that could be collapsed to enable a larger view of the 360 panorama screen. The toolbar was made collapsible as well. There was interest in providing for tablet interaction, so a collapsible navigation tool was added at the right. I made numerous color mockups in Illustrator and Photoshop, and delivered icon sets to the Application Engineers to implement (Figure 3). There were some limitations to the UX because of locking down the GUI from the open structure of the previous version, but these were minor. We provided a space for users to add their own watermark transparent PNG file to the lower right corner of the viewport.
These first versions of the panoramic software had limitations, such as using only running on Internet Explorer with the addition of our plugin. The next generation is a major rewrite, running on all browsers, tablets and mobile devices. I provided UX research and visual design on this current version as well. It is very rewarding to take part and realize over years of research and development, the successful evolution of an amazing software product. Experience it here.