As a technologist, my primary interest is in closing the gap between the user and their information. Often, the steep learning curve of technology can be a barrier that keeps people from using tools that can make their lives easier and more productive. To help connect people with the information they need to improve their lives, I have focused my time as a student on studying human-centered computing, in addition to the technical and programming skills of a computer science degree.
Studying the User
- At the UM3D Lab, I develop for a system that translates natural hand movements into controls to navigate a 3D environment. This project has required an understanding of how people perceive their relationship with visualizations, e.g. do they gesture to interact with an image on a screen as they would interact with a physical object? What if the screen is 3D, or part of a larger immersive environment?
- In Needs Assessment and Usability Evaluation, my team and I did a full usability evaluation of Google Maps with focus on accessibility for handicapped individuals. We created an interaction map for the product, conducted user research, developed personas, and finally made a collection of accessibility recommendations at the end of the project.
Human-Centered Product Design
- As a Program Management intern at Microsoft, I worked on the Word team evaluating problem areas in list-making tools and image insertion on mobile. In these problem spaces where users have a set of expectations for a long-standing product like Word, it was critical to have an understanding the user's mental model of the software.
- In Software Engineering, I proposed, designed, and later developed, with a team of fellow students, an application that allowed a local girl with cerebral palsy to compose music using a sequencer program on a tablet. Because of her limited motor control, this application had to be carefully designed to be operable with just one gesture.
Visual and Interface Design
- I learned a great deal about interaction design from the Office Design team as a Program Management intern. Together, we proposed new interaction designs that better aligned the internal structure of documents with their visual representation. Unfortunately, I cannot showcase these designs publicly for confidentiality reasons.
- Although I do not have formal training in visual design, I work to present information as effectively as I can. These efforts can be seen in my research posters, which have received awards for visual and verbal presentation; and in the advertisements I have created for the Girls in EECS club.