Modernizing vertical applications for the AutoCAD Enterprise

The AutoCAD team hired me to evolve the user experience for a community of process and chemical engineering designers. After rallying users to Autodesk's beta test website, they were invited to participate in previews and prototypes of upcoming releases. Partnered with product management, we developed concepts into features, iterating on user stories together. My work fed into a Waterfall style release cadence with periodic "hot fix" releases to patch live features.

Rapid ideation in sketches

I used my iPad and the Paper app by Fifty-Three to sketch designs with teammates, community members, research participants and subject matter experts. It's one of the best ways to ideate rapidly in context and get to a first-pass of design and technical specifications, leveraging the benefit of many iterations, efficiently.

Contextual inquiry with the community

I conducted on-site visits with clients like Chevron and its engineering design contractors as often as possible. I used my learnings from a diversity of applications and use cases to gain a deeper understanding of users' needs and wants. Here, you can see a physical structure being re-designed using Plant 3D. In this situation, we discovered a particular limitation of the software based on fabricating circular shapes that required updates to core features of AutoCAD.

Design specifications

Complex and technical software requires tight change management with very specific and carefully measured specifications. Here, you can see a section of design changes, converting an all-text based user interface into one with visual plan symbols replacing as much text as possible. At left is the design specification with annotations and callouts; At right is a screenshot from the product, mid-implementation, pointing out a bug. It was important to maintain a close relationship with engineering in order to deliver rock solid results.