Behind the Scenes with the Revit Team: meet Jeff Hanson

Architecture

By Sylvia Knauer

Jeff has been part of the Revit team for 11 years. He works as a Subject Matter Expert developing learning content. Prior to joining Autodesk, Jeff worked for an architectural firm in Minneapolis for 8 years. Find Jeff on the Autodesk forums under the user name loboarch.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I work on the CXD team. CXD stands for Content Experience Design. We love acronyms here at Autodesk, but basically what this means is I am on the team responsible for creating all kinds of learning content for Revit. So when you go to use online help (you should really go look at it!), this is the content my team creates. We also work on in-product help, too, things like tooltips, error messages, those kinds of things. If it helps you learn how to use Revit, chances are my team was involved somehow.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I am on a team full of writers by trade. However, I am trained as an architect, so writing is not exactly my strong point.  Instead, I like making the videos that appear in our help. They are challenging.  I try to make the story presented in the video feel “real” and keep the videos short, 3 minutes or less. I like figuring out how to tell a reasonable story, teach our customers something they might not know, and do it in a tight time frame. We added over 30 videos to the online help last year, and we hope to do the same again this year.

I have also done some video production work for mainstage presentations at Autodesk University. Those are always a fun diversion from a strictly tutorial type of video.

At the end of the day, though, I suppose helping customers accomplish their goals with our software is really what drives me each day. Sharing my knowledge of Revit out to the larger community gives me the greatest satisfaction.

What are you most proud of about your work with Revit?

I think my work on turning Revit LT into a real product would be my answer to this one. I ended up being the primary designer on Revit LT. In this case, most of the design work was around finding the right set of features from Revit to package for our LT customers. This involved a lot of user research and understanding use patterns in Revit. Some of the changes made specifically for Revit LT found their way into Revit as well.

What is one of your favorite stories about interacting with Revit customers?

A number of years ago at AU, I was working the Answer Bar and a customer had a question about working on a building with a very large floor plate that kind of twisted like a snake. I worked with her to show her how she might use dependent views and how to rotate views so she could get her work done more easily. Both of those things are not overly complex to do, she just did not know about them. This saved her so much time working on the project that she sent an email to my manager explaining how I had saved her so much time. The time saved paid for her trip to AU that year. I think that is a great customer story.

Do you have a favorite project that was designed in Revit?

For this one I will go with US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of the Minnesota Vikings football team. I am picking it for 2 reasons. First, I think it is a great success story of Revit and Autodesk’s other BIM products used together to deliver a huge project ahead of schedule and under budget.  Second, I am a huge Minnesota Vikings fan. I went to graduate school at the University of Minnesota and had season tickets to the Vikings for 6 years. I gave them up when I moved to New Hampshire to work for Autodesk.

Jeff Hanson at US Bank Stadium

I had a chance to go back to visit Minneapolis last fall and went to a game at the stadium. It is just as fantastic in person as it was seeing it on my computer screen before it was built.

What are you most excited about in the future of design with Revit?

I am excited about Project Quantum. I know it is not Revit, but Revit will play a role in the Quantum ecosystem. The idea of freeing data from the desktop so it can be used in different contexts makes me excited. I think about all the ways this coordinated data will be used. Collaboration for Revit, Insight, Revit Live, and Cloud Rendering touch on this data at the center and in the cloud idea, but I think there are still a lot of things in that space to get excited about. It is a good time to be working at Autodesk, standing at the edge of a shift in how work gets done.

Jeff Hanson Autodesk

Behind the Scenes with the Revit Team is a series introducing the people dedicated to the development and use of Revit software. 

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