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Design Moves

Autodesk Hires Facebook's Director Of Product Design

As vice president of user experience, Maria Giudice will help Autodesk create a universal UX across the company's dozens of products.

[Top Photo: courtesy Maria Giudice]

Today, Autodesk—the multinational software company behind AutoCAD and dozens of other design and engineering apps—announced that it is hiring Maria Giudice as vice president of experience design. A 30-year design veteran, Giudice is coming to Autodesk from Facebook, where she has been a director of product design since Hot Studio, her experience design company, was first acquired in 2012.

At Facebook, Giudice was responsible for what she calls the "connective tissue" of how third-party devs tapped into the service. If you've used a Facebook share button on an outside site, you've been touched by her work in a small way. With Giudice joining the team in a newly created position just for her, Autodesk plans on tasking her to unify the experience of as many as 100 different products. Here, Giudice talks about why she made the move and what's coming up at Autodesk.

Why are you leaving Facebook?
Facebook is an amazing place to work. I've been able to practice design here at a global scale. When you do that, you realize that even the smallest details can have a huge effect. I've come to realize, though, that I've really started craving to work in the physical world again, helping makers.


What were you big accomplishments at Facebook?
At Facebook, I mostly focused on enabling third-party developers to leverage the service as a platform, so I was responsible for a lot of the network’s connective tissue. For example, when you're on a third-party site, and you hit the share button, I helped design what that looks like, and how it feels to use. Small things like that which end up creating millions and millions of user impressions.

AutoCAD

Why are you joining Autodesk?
I love Autodesk's mission, which is to help create the next generation of creative people. It's uniquely positioned to help unlock creative potential through its tools and products. I want to join the physical world again, and help makers.

What are the similarities between Autodesk and Facebook?
Both are mission-based. Facebook's mission, of course, is to connect the world, while Autodesk's mission is to imagine, design, and create a better world. Both are also operating at a global scale, so they make impacts that can be felt everywhere. They also both share a vision that design is critically important in business, and that they have a responsibility to their users to create great experiences.

What are you going to be doing at Autodesk?
I'm joining the company as Autodesk's vice president of experience design. I really want top focus on experiences here. You know, Autodesk has over 100 products, most of which have come in through acquisitions, so there's no consistent user experience across our products. I want to get Autodesk thinking about that entire chain of experience, and create a universal language for our UX.

How do you expect to accomplish that?
By focusing on holistic, people-centered experiences, but it's still a little early to tell what my exact game plan will be. Still, a holistic approach to user experience has been in my DNA for my whole professional life.

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