Role: Lead UX Researcher

The design community at Autodesk was fragmented and siloed.

“In order to become a good online community Autodesk must overcome the mentality that SF is *the* office and everywhere else is *remote*”
As a team of three interns, we set out to uncover the knowledge gaps that designers and researchers faced. Our aim was to provide recommendations for a solution by using the voice of the community itself. Within a short timeline of three weeks, our insights informed the development team's feature prioritization of a design home page that would act as a single source of truth for resources and collaboration at Autodesk.


After two intense weeks of interviewing and surveying, we analyzed our findings and presented them to our stakeholders. We succeeded in achieving the holy grail of a researcher, as they immediately took action on the insights and completely turned around a few of their initial hypotheses.

Through this process, I understood that in ever changing organizations, research is given importance only when it is done quickly and delivered at the right time. Data driven results combined with qualitative quotes create the greatest impact on the audience. It was a moment of triumph when, having delivered our presentation, the senior stakeholders in the room all had an 'aha' moment and decided to switch around the priorities in order to cater to the users' needs that we had uncovered.

"I believe the success of this initiative will depend on people, not technology. What I would recommend is focus on people first, do as little technology as possible."


Research Goals

We began by defining the high level goals that would direct the questions we asked.

  • What are the present day practices when trying to be informed about the design community and reach out to them?
  • What information is important for designers?
  • How willing are people to contribute towards the community and how do they wish to do it?
  • If we had only one place to look for all the details, how do designers envision it?


We recruited, scheduled and moderated 16 interviews over the two week period. In addition I designed and sent out a survey that received responses from 70% of the entire design community across Autodesk offices all over the world.

Our research process was constrained to a short timeline, so I created a backlog of tasks and led daily stand ups in order to track our progress. As we were an independent unit, the scrum board kept our managers abreast of the current work done.


While analyzing the data we created affinity diagrams around central themes that came up during the interviews. These themes of community sentiment were the main focus of our final presentation.

"Just having information available is not enough, it must be searchable and not overwhelming.”
“We don’t need Facebook. We need real data and actionable tools. We (need) a voice for our active design process.”


Our final recommendations included the following key insights.
  • Design Community: The locations are fragmented in silos. There is major FOMO (fear of missing out) in ‘remote’ offices.
  • Information: People want to know about projects and research before finding out about other people, as well as design guidelines, best practices and a gallery of existing work.
  • Contributions: People are more willing to contribute their project information and employee profiles than articles or blogs.
  • The look and feel: A clean and simple landing page without the clutter of articles, events and news items. Different user groups have varying priorities.
“Thanks for starting this design website! It is badly needed. ”
“Keep up the good work. I'd like to see more tangible examples, critiques, voice, and feeling.”
"Very excited that you are working to solve this problem. :-)"​