Meet the Product Definition Team: Jeff Niederman

SOLIDWORKS 2016 Launch

Who decides What’s New in SOLIDWORKS? Product Definition team members are a major component in determining and defining enhancements and new functionality included within the SOLIDWORKS products each year. They meet face-to-face with SOLIDWORKS customers to discuss what’s working, what isn’t, and what they would like to see in the future. These customer visits are fantastic opportunities for you to connect with SOLIDWORKS directly, and let us know what we can do to help make your jobs easier. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be talking with members of the Product Definition team for an inside look at their favorite 2016 features.

Product Definition - Jeff Niederman

Meet the man who jumps through fire, literally. Jeff Niederman’s been with SOLIDWORKS for most of his career, fifteen years now! Before he joined the Product Definition Team, he worked in Technical Support, first on the phones and later as a manager.

What is your favorite 2016 feature?
In Technical Support, I used the same versions of SOLIDWORKS as the customer, but in Product Development, I get to be at the front of the design process, typically two years ahead of the customers. That’s very exciting to me. I work on many back-end projects, but one of my more visible projects is the new 3D ContentCentral we launched simultaneously with the release of SOLIDWORKS 2016 Beta.

Why 3D ContentCentral?
I used to support customers who were downloading and uploading models on 3D ContentCentral, so my history with the product goes back a long time. It is an enormously helpful site to share models for fun, education, and for serious design, but it had been neglected. I wanted to be part of the effort to rejuvenate it.

How does the new 3D ContentCentral enhance/improve the user experience?
First, it is more attractive. Our mission of creating a place for people to share models still guides the effort, but now we have a website that is leading in web design instead of trailing. Second, we got rid of the old downloadable plug-in. Now, when you want to preview a model, you can preview the model using a webgl version of eDrawings without having to download and install anything. It works on most current web browsers with no effort, unlike our previous viewer. Third, we added tools for businesses to encourage them to upload more content. The idea is to get more content and more consumers to the site. That kick-starts the spiral of enticing users to come for a better experience and more content and suppliers to come because there are more users.

What was the hardest part of bringing 3D ContentCentral to life in 2016?
It was a sprawling effort, working with graphic designers, third-parties, usability testing, database developers, and web developers. Everyone was motivated, but planning all the pieces which would come together for the release was no small feat.

What was the most enjoyable part of working on this project?
Typically, I work with a small development team to implement a feature or enhancement, but the exposure to all the different groups involved was a great learning experience.

Was this project initiated by a customer visit? An Enhancement Request? How did it start?
All of us knew what we needed to do, we just needed the green light to allocate the resources to do it.  We got the green light last summer.

And to wrap up with the man who jumps through fire, there was only one question to ask. Who’s your favorite super hero?
The Hulk. Sometimes, you just want to smash!

If you’re interested in setting up a Customer Visit with a member of the SOLIDWORKS Product Definition Team, send an email to SOLIDWORKS.NAM.RD-Info.com. Please include: your name, company, contact number, and a brief summary of what areas you’d like to discuss (Assemblies, Weldments, Sheet Metal, Drawings, Simulation, eDrawings, SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard/Professional, etc.) to get started. You can also find the team at your local user group meetings, and at SOLIDWORKS World 2016 in Dallas, Texas.

Every year SOLIDWORKS releases a new version of its flagship product, and last year, a new tradition was born here on the Blogs. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a Sneak Peek at 15 new features here on the SOLIDWORKS Blog, and then we’ll be following them up with short, detailed videos on the functionality over on the SOLIDWORKS Tech Blog beginning September 23rd. Until then, you can learn more about SOLIDWORKS 2016 by clicking the banner above and checking out the Launch Site.

Rachel Diane York

Rachel Diane York

Community and User Advocacy Manager at SOLIDWORKS
I was the founding member of the Tech Valley SOLIDWORKS User Group and a huge fan of our fantastic Community. I've taught and provided technical support for SOLIDWORKS as well as presented at many user group events. In my spare time I enjoy: billiards, reading, and playing video games. Please feel free to reach out!
Rachel Diane York
Rachel Diane York