Today we launched CircleCI’s research page. We believe in designing CircleCI cooperatively with the software community. We’re building a group of developers that will actively take part in our design process. If you sign up, you’ll get to see new product areas, be a part of the story as we build new features, and improve our core product.
Why do we do this?
CircleCI is a meta-software engineering organization. We think a lot about how our internal processes shape the tool that we create. And, being self-aware, we know that our context is incredibly different from that of those outside of our organization. The research team’s mission is to build empathy for all software teams and make thoughtful design decisions based on our understanding of their needs.
What other ways do we get feedback?
Our participatory design approach involves using the Discuss forum to have conversations about how the platform works, Ideas for voting on specific features, and we do specific qualitative research with a broad range of folks to figure out particular design puzzles. For example, we tested Windows images with users before we launched our support for Windows, we watched lots of folks go through setting up their CircleCI pipelines, and we’ve described what it’s like to advocate for adopting CircleCI as a tool.
What were we doing before?
Before we launched this page, the research, design, and product teams were reaching out to individuals and hoping they’d trust us that we weren’t malicious, that we had a plan for their time, and that they would be able to influence the direction of the product. We’d check the many locations where folks can give feedback and simply hope that we weren’t bothering them when we sent them a cold email. This wasn’t always a smooth process because sometimes our research was only partially related to what folks had posted about in our NPS response survey, in Discuss, or in AHA ideas. We now aim to have a consistent experience where you can learn about how we use your data (spoiler: only for design purposes), understand more about our process, and share if you have achromatopsia so we can be sure we’re designing for accessibility.
The research team helps design all parts of the platform, so you’ll have lots of potential areas to contribute. Design is focused on the UI, but it’s also concerned with error messages, the options included in the CLI, and overall desirability and functionality. Sign up to be a part of our development process and start influencing the future of CircleCI today!