Oboe Wu

Recommended practices of Web AR

Blog Post created by Oboe Wu on Jul 5, 2019

After the SOLIDWORKS Sell release 2.11.4 on June 3 to support Android devices, Web AR is getting more popular thanks to its practical and easy applications. Besides software and hardware system requirements, there are also digital model requirements according to Google. For example, here are the recommended limits: 

  • Number of vertices: 30,000
  • Number of materials: 10
  • Max texture resolution: 2048 × 2048
  • Bone (including non-weighted joints): 254 (hard limit)
  • Bone weights per vertex limit: 4 (hard limit)
  • UV: 1 UV per mesh (hard limit)
  • Model size: 10 MB (bigger models may result in poor user experience)


What do these mean in SOLIDWORKS Sell?

One idea is to simplify the internal model features and components before enabling Web AR. After all, most of the time, the AR mode is to help visually validate the exterior dimensions and appearances in a physical space, so internal details probably will not be seen anyway. Plus, too many hidden details would increase digital model file sizes and slow down the responses on smartphones unnecessarily. On a webpage, even one second of loading delay can impact the user experiences and conversion rates. That is why Google started using page speed in mobile search ranking in January 2018.

Let’s take the Beamy speaker configurator as an example. Figure 1 shows a SOLIDWORKS exploded view revealing extensive internal mechanical details. While valuable for complete designs and functionalities, these details are really not necessary for an exterior configurator, let alone the inner electrical components such as Printed Circuit Board, wiring and harnessing, because their appearances probably will not affect online shoppers’ purchasing decisions.

Figure 1. A SOLIDWORKS exploded view of the Beamy Speaker.


Hence, the published configurator focused on outer appearances and removed a large number of inner details. Figure 2 shows the comparison between the finished configurator and the simplified internal components and features. In fact, the total online geometry (OBJ) is only 25 MB, rather than 400MB of its SOLIDWORKS assembly. This is why the online configurator and AR can work smoothly on a smartphone.



Figure 2. A comparison between a finished online configurator and the internal simplifications.

One part worth calling out is the frame as shown in Figure 3. The internal holes and ribs have all been removed to cut the geometry file size down by 70 percent. 


Figure 3. A comparison between a complete frame and a simplified one to cut the file size and speed up online responses.


Now as a reminder, let’s see how to enable Web AR for a configurator in SOLIDWORKS Sell. Please check the box ARQUICKLOOK as shown in Figure 4 below on a configurator tile. Web AR is not enabled for every configurator by default due to the geometry size and performance considerations as aforementioned.

Figure 4. Enable Web AR for a configurator.


Then on the Preview Layout editor, please make sure the AR button is placed to the front for all necessary screen sizes, especially for low-resolution phones as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Make sure the AR button is placed to the front for all necessary screen sizes. 


With the above measures, you should be all set with the Web AR for your online visitors. Enjoy!