Re-imagining Asana on the web: a design challege

Kasey Fleisher Hickey and Zöe Desroches

Asana designathon

Last week, we co-hosted our first in-house Designathon with technology VC firm Andreessen-Horowitz. Design students and interns from across the Bay Area gathered to tackle a unique design challenge: to design Asana as a platform across the web. The students were joined by Asana’s in-house designers who were on hand to offer ideas, mentorship, and guidance.

The challenge

The premise behind the prompt was this: the more ubiquitous Asana can become on the web, the more beneficial it will be to teams. We wanted to see what it would look like if Asana were integrated across the web not unlike Facebook, which is a core of our social experience and a platform that includes photo-sharing, fitness, and social games.

Challenge participants were given a two hour time block to work on a design or interpretation of their response. Students worked in teams of 3-5 people and presented their designs at the end of the night. We were impressed by a number of interesting integrations, ranging from geo-located tasks and workspaces to Asana running on various applications across desktop, web, and mobile. Our own design team was blown away by the number and quality of ideas; when the time came to select a winner, the deliberation period became quite heated!

“One of the simplest pleasures as a designer is getting fresh, outside eyes on the problems you’ve been thinking about for years. Every aspect of the Designathon, from merely explaining what Asana is trying to get at to seeing the students’ solutions, delivered that in spades.” — Andrew Watterson, Asana designer

The winners

Our team was inspired by the attendees’ fresh perspective on Asana.  And though the choice was hard, the panel of judges ultimately decided to crown Team Heist (named after a meeting room here in our office) the winner of the design challenge. The team designed an integration with Dropbox and Gmail that would streamline the collaborative workflow among project managers, designers, and developers. The proposed integration combined task management and notifications — specifically for communication around design changes — as well as the ability to comment on Dropbox files from email or Asana. If that sounds complex, check out the slides from their presentation below to better understand their process!

Asana designathon

The winning presentation



At Asana, we focus on marrying design with everything we do. Learn more about design at by browsing our design archives and watch co-founder Justin Rosenstein discuss the importance of design at Asana with Bloomberg TV.

We’d love to hear: what is the number one integration you’d like to see?

Discover apps that integrate with Asana by visiting our apps page.

Check out a few photos from the event, below.

Asana designathon Asana designathon Asana designathon

  1. avatarSimon

    Great concepts and the idea for automating the process with Gmail and Dropbox is really good. I was hoping to see some UI screenshots with this one though! I think the tools themselves shouldn’t be as important as the process, so instead of Gmail and Dropbox it would be [Email Client] and [Cloud File Storage] with the process being the same. That would improve portability and adoption rate too.The email integration would be just that the file and comment would be emailed to the PM, who can view the attachment reply directly from any email client.

    Although Asana is primarily focused on work without email, there is no denying it is integral to many people’s workflows. Email is the “app” I would like to see improve integration with.

    Looking forward to more Asana updates!

  2. avatarMatt McLaughlin

    I’d love to see Asana integrated with the commenting system in Google Docs. Right now I can link a work file in Asana and also share it with say my boss. But when my boss goes in and makes comments in the document (rather than in the Asana thread) the notification appears in my email inbox. I’d love it if Asana could “trap” those comment notifications and pull them into Asana rather than my email. It could also automatically make a sub-Task of “Resolving” comments from other members of the team.

    For integrating with email, the simplest thing (which I would kill for) would be a “related email conversations” view for tasks. I often correspond with outside folks who are not on Asana for gathering requirements, etc. I’d love it if there was an easy way to associate those conversations with a tasks. Here I’m thinking that if I email a document that is related to a task (embedding a Google Doc URL), Asana is smart enough to then associate that email and any further back and forth replies with the task.

    1. avatarLauren

      I love this idea to integrate with Google Drive comments! I use both too Matt, and would love to see them talking to one another.

  3. avatarArsham Mirshah

    Asana team, I just wanted to say that your product is AMAZING.. it’s revolutionized our work here @WebMechanix (http://www.webmechanix.com).

    Blog posts like this where you showcase your involvement in the community and endless thirst to iterate & improve is probably the TOP reason why we choose to switch to Asana over other competitors..

    For instance, I noticed you can now pin comments to the top of task threads now… Couldn’t find the announcement for this but the UX of the pin button was so perfect that it didn’t need an explanation.

    Well done *claps* .. keep up the awesome work :)

  4. avatarRyan Sanders

    One thing we’re using more on our projects is InVision (http://www.invisionapp.com/) and it would be great to see an InVision – Asana integration. We love the visuals and commenting in InVision and it would be great to tie mocks to Asana tasks/subtasks.

  5. avatarLauren

    I would love to see better integrations wih a visual interpretation of workflow that we can interact with in real-time. The current solutions are definitely cool, but none are comprehensive enough to allow us to see a visual project management view.

    DropTask, for example, has a great visual layout (sorry to quote another tool, love you Asana!!).

    The new Asana calendar view is a huge improvement for a timeline view, but it also makes tasks without a due date completely invisible. Could you put them above or below the calendar view, or to the side in a list so that they dont’ disappear? The weekend days being completely off the screen except for the blue dot also makes this view less userful. I am always concerned about using calendar view that I’ll miss an important task simply because it does not have a due date.

  6. avatarjwjb

    Great initial design review from the Asana Web Design Challenge winners and a great start to being able to more easily visualize our tasks, workloads, workflows, etc and cannot wait to see a working prototype to tryout.

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