Inspired by popular personality type indicators, we develop a framework for classifying individuals by their computer-aided design (CAD) behaviours. We are motivated by the trend of modern CAD software towards cloud platforms and expanded collaborative features. Cloud-CAD platforms enable collaboration by increasing access, and reducing conflicts and barriers to file-sharing.

In order to generate insight to support CAD collaboration, we analyze the real-world data from an industry partner’s product development project, consisting of eight professional designers working on a cloud-CAD platform. This data corresponds to more than 1,420,000 actions over a span of eight months. Via hierarchical clustering, we group 79 unique CAD activities into 14 categories of CAD action groups, such as Part Studio, Assembly, Comment, View/Scan and Export. Next, we identify the degree to which each of the eight designers performs activity in these CAD action groups. We demonstrate the usefulness of this framework by highlighting insights revealed by the CAD action group mapping, confirmed via discussion with the industry partner. This CAD-type behaviour framework provides a tool for assessment and reflection on the types of behavioural tendencies present or missing on a team of designers. It can assist CAD educators and trainees in understanding their comprehensive CAD learning trajectory. Future extensions of the framework could leverage artificial intelligence techniques to provide real-time feedback on designer roles.

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