Design work at Autodesk: Autodesk ReCap

tags: user research, synthesis

MORE EXAMPLES FORTHCOMING
I'm still preparing other examples to include. I wanted to get my portfolio up ASAP. For now, enjoy one intensive user research project below!

An array of artifacts I did as part of my work on Autodesk ReCap.

About ReCap
Autodesk ReCap is a suite of tools related to the technologies of laser scanning and photogrammetry. ReCap takes this data (stored in point cloud format), and creates digital 3D models of it. This technology has many applications, including filmmaking and forensics, but ReCap is tailored to architecture and engineering: capturing building interiors and exteriors and working with aerial photography of broad spaces.

User research: Autodesk University

At Autodesk's major annual conference in Las Vegas (1000 employees and 10,000+ customers), dozens of designers do in-person research with customers annually. This project was in November 2016.

We decided to validate customers' general workflow: what, where, when, and how they captured data; the products they used to process and analyze it; and the stakeholders who interacted with it. I devised an open-ended activity to actually visualize it.

This activity went through numerous iterations:

  • interviews
  • an on-screen interactive experience
  • sketching on paper
  • post-it notes and pins on a foam board
  • post-it notes, pins, yarn, and whiteboard markers on a laminated board

Only onsite did we realize that the customers were most expressive with whiteboard markers alone. Sketching and drawing their own lines felt most natural for them. The rest went virtually untouched.

8 customers participated. I prepared 5 laminated boards, and wiped them clean/switched between them.

Accolades The AU research coordinator was so impressed with the board — the design, how customers interacted with it, and our results — that she asked to take one to share as an example of successful research.

Layout of the activity board (30x40 inches) Empty board initially set up at the conference A customer's notes and sketches A customer working on the board Board close-up

AU Research synthesis

I presented the results at our team's weekly leadership meeting, "sliced" into various angles of interest by our team. After several iterations, it was easiest to break it into several tables in PowerPoint (screen-sharing was also involved).

This is a sampling of the slides. The numbers 1-8 correspond with each participant. They were designed to let the team "sit" with them. As time went on, more questions and "oh, interesting!" comments arose from each.

This share-out got me great praise from my boss. :)

List of capture devices and related details per customer, with a few footnotes When/where customers start using Autodesk products in their workflows, what for, and next steps (with color-coding and notations) A customer working on the board Customer comments: what does and doesn't work, what they'd like, etc.
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