How to Engage a Customer on Your Website with 3D Content

Do you want to emotionally engage with a potential customer, immerse them in 3D and articulate what is best about your product? You’re going to need more than a photo. Let us illustrate how you can do it with 3DEXCITE Product Communicator and the real-life story of Kevin Robot.

Between the picture on the left and text on the right in Figure 1, which side catches your eyes first?

Figure 1. A page in the Kevin Robot datasheet.

Most of us would pick the image. Indeed, human cognition appreciates images and processes them much faster than text. Remember the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Let’s go deeper into this comparison to explore the specific advantages of images over text. After all, similar documents are frequently authored and consumed. Drowning in the flood of information, it is easy for the customer’s attention to wane.

Cognition speed SecondsMinutes
ContextIn-contextEasy to lose context
TranslationZeroHeavy thorough multi-lingual revisions

Table 1. Cognitive comparisons between the picture and text in Figure 1.

Making use of these advantages, the Kevin Robot datasheet includes other intuitive illustrations, striking a sleek balance between images and text.

Figure 2. More straightforward illustrations in the Kevin Robot datasheet.

Thankfully, having 3D models in our hands has opened up an easy shortcut towards intuitive images, videos and 3D interactive experiences. Specifically, 3D models help us inform, inspire and interact with our audience.

What do I mean by inform?

In addition to the informative illustrations in Figure 2, 3D brings a plethora of options for insightful presentation, which would have been time-consuming and expensive to produce with physical goods—assuming it was feasible at all.

Figure 3. Illustration showing in-context height comparison.

Figure 4. In-context annotation.

Figure 5. In-context magnifier.

Apart from the cognitive appeal for the mind, there is always a longing for emotional connection that resonates with the viewers.

Now look at these stellar renderings in Figure 6. Don’t they inspire? Don’t you want to start touching and engaging with the robot?

Figure 6. 3D renderings of Kevin Robot.

I’d love to see this product in my lab!

3D models can also enable the augmented reality (AR) display on your mobile devices, so that you can see what the robot looks like at your facility right away.

“Creating digital marketing assets from design data allowed expediting Kevin’s development and garnering interest from the market before the design prototype robot was ever built,” says Tobias Brode, head of Business Unit Medical Engineering and Biotechnology at Kevin Robot.

“Traditionally, we would have had to either ship Kevin across the world, so that customers can see him in the flesh [so to speak] or bring customers to our lab. We don’t have to do that anymore. It’s a far more sustainable approach.”

Figure 7. Augmented reality of Kevin Robot.

In addition to consuming informative illustrations and inspiring visuals, our audience can now actively play with the product, upgrading one-way-push communications to bi-directional interactions.

On the 3D Kevin Robot webpage, we can rotate the robot at our discretion, examine from any perspective, and click on the yellow-circle hotspots to understand specific features as needed.

Again, it invites the audience to participate in this exploring journey together, at their pace, in a more engaging and empowering fashion.

Figure 8. 3D Kevin Robot webpage.

Is the model too heavy and slow to load on a webpage? How is the visual quality? These are common concerns.

First, the result speaks for itself. Please feel free to click on the link and scan the QR code at the top right corner, to try it out on your computer and smart phone. On my phone, the entire page with high quality renderings and 3D models takes only seconds to load.

What is the secret? Actually, the 3D model is NOT our typical engineering data any more. It represents a special type of 3D, optimized for web presence: glTF, or put simply, “JPEG for 3D.” To make it easier to remember, I created an acronym, FUSE, to convey its key advantages. (Okay, I got a bit of help from ChatGPT.)

The first letter is F, which stands for Fast. You can create a glTF file in SOLIDWORKS’ Product Communicator in minutes, and load it on a webpage in seconds.

For example, the original data of this lawn mower assembly on the left takes over 80MB, while the glTF model on the right consumes only 4MB, a 20x compression, even smaller than certain images. That’s why it loads so fast.

Figure 9. 20x file size compression in a glTF.

As illustrated in Figure 10, Product Communicator is a role on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. You can see how it creates interactive 3D content to showcase your company’s products.

It brings two browser-based Apps: xStudio for quality rendering and xHighlight for 3D presentation. The design data comes from either your desktop SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, or from other design roles on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

You can scan the QR code in the image below to learn more about it.

Figure 10. Product Communicator structure.

The next letter in FUSE is U for Universal. Similar to JPEG for images, we can universally apply glTF for 3D over the internet, which entails a natural evolution of Internet content, from text, images, audio and video, to 3D.

The S in FUSE stands for Simple. It is super simple to export this format in Product Communicator, similar to publishing a rendering as shown below. Furthermore, businesses can present it easily, and online visitors can comprehend it intuitively, similar to images or videos on a webpage.

Figure 11. Export glTF from xStudio in Product Communicator.

The last letter is key: E for Engaging. Even after the mentioned compression, the visual appeal remains uncompromised, which ensures glTF to touch the audience emotionally, with accurate, attractive and interactive 3D content.

Beyond these four key words, FUSE also implies strategic connotations: join together 3D and the Internet, and ignite excitement for and prevalence of 3D.

Now to recap, after reviewing typical communication materials and human cognition preferences, we broke down the level-up strategy into “three I’s”: Inform, Inspire and Interact.

I hope you see how 3D-empowered content will spice up your company’s products on their website.

Figure 12. “Three I’s” to level up daily communications with Product Communicator.

Lastly, if you have any questions or are keen on exploring similar discussions, please feel free to join the Product and Technical Communication community, where users, reseller experts, partners and 3DS employees are inspiring each other and sharing tips and tricks.

Figure 13. Product and Technical Communication Community.

About the Author

Oboe Wu is a user advocacy manager with 20 years of experience in engineering, marketing and software. He advocates for 3D communication to accelerate human cognition and enhance the experiences.

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