Autodesk Feedback Community: How to get involved in the development of Autodesk software


What better way to kick of my first Autodesk Community Voices blog post than to promote another Autodesk community everyone should know about… that being the Autodesk Feedback Community. The feedback community is the epicenter of all beta testing for customers and can lead to invitations to participate in more advanced opportunities… including a weeklong trip to China!


Feedback offerings available in the Autodesk Feedback Community include:

  • Online Discussions
  • Research Surveys
  • Usability Evaluation of Software, Prototypes, Help Systems, etc.
  • Focus Groups/Customer Advisory Boards
  • Evaluation of Software or Alpha/Beta/Delta Testing

The Highlights

As listed above, there are a lot of aspects to participating in an Autodesk beta. Here there are two highlights I want to start with: access to the beta software and top-secret forums😊.


All Feedback Community participants must sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before being allowed access to any resources.


Beta Software

Autodesk is always working on improving their software. Thus, those involved in a beta (e.g. for Revit, AutoCAD, etc.) can download a monthly, on average, beta build and test thee new features. Since the software is beta, it is not recommended to be installed on your primary production computer (legit beta software)! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to use the beta software to open copies of your real-world files and see if you can make a new feature work and not cause any errors or computer crashes. The entire point here is to find problems before shipping the software to the rest of the world!


The top-secret forums

An aspect of the feedback community that I truly love, is the “community” part. There are literally secret forums! Why secret? Remember the NDA comment above… things are being said about software features that are not public knowledge yet, and if things go off the rails a specific feature might not see the light of day (I can think of a few examples of this). Plus, there is something about publicly traded companies that I don’t fully understand😊


On these forums there are Autodesk product managers and developers. Yes, the folks actually writing the code are chatting with the users. This is an amazing opportunity to better understand how Autodesk software works under-the-hood! Not only that, but many of the worldwide expert customers are also on these forums, chatting. It is cool to hear their thoughts on a new feature, such as why they like or dis-like something. I often find myself thinking “I did not think of that!”. Which is also why these forums exist, as Autodesk and all its talented people cannot possibly think of everything!


Active participation has its rewards

Like most things in life, hard work has its rewards. In the Feedback Community the folks actively trying to break the software (that is literally our job, lol), logging issues, and providing constructive criticism are often invited to participate in more advanced discussions and events, such as Sprint Demos and Inside the Factory (ITF).


Sprint Demos

I am currently involved in two sprint demos for Autodesk Revit. One is focused on the next generation of Autodesk Insight, a building performance tool tied to Autodesk Revit. I was even interviewed by Autodesk for this effort and they made a video for Autodesk University 2020, more on that here.


I am also on a sprint demo series by a group that brought us the new features to print and link PDF files in Revit. During these demos, the Autodesk teams show a small group of customers what they have been working on for the past two weeks. We get to comment on what we see and are encouraged to be totally honest… and we are!


Inside the Factory

Each year, when there is not a global pandemic happening, Autodesk hosts several beta-testing events at one of their locations in North America, Europe, and Asia. During this event, a limited number of expert and highly active feedback community beta testers are invited to work with the product managers and developers for a weeklong series of tests on real-world datasets. There are also several presentations on features they have not even started working on yet! And, other than airfare, the entire thing is free; Autodesk pays for lodging, meals, and some fun.


A few years ago, was able to attend an ITF in Shanghai, China. Autodesk has an amazing campus in Shanghai and many great people working there. Here are a few photos I took from the event.

ITF China.png


Get involved

Autodesk can create all these opportunities, but if you don't get involved, they have no way to hear your thoughts. Posting in the forums or telling your reseller is not likely to get Autodesk's attention as compared to being an active participant in the beta program and on Revit Ideas. So, I encourage you all to head to the Feedback Community (linked below) and sign up, and then get involved.


Also, it does not hurt that you will have a good understanding of all the new features when the new version comes out... and, from reading all the posts on the secret beta forum, you will know the reasoning behind certain steps and limitations (most of which cannot be mentioned publicly).


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