From Software Developer to User Experience Researcher

by Anmol Motikar

It is common to change career paths to find job satisfaction, personal interest, or just to add another feather in one’s hat. Few people change their career paths because of their passion to learn and understand the semantics. Shruthy Sreepathy chose to become a User Experience (UX) researcher/designer to understand the implications of design and to answer one important question: How can we make experiences better?

Shruthy is pursuing an MS in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience with specialization in Human Computer Interaction. As a UX researcher one has to understand the product they are working on and understand the user while keeping personal biases at bay. It also requires critical thinking and collaborating with both front-end and back-end developers. Shruthy is working in the ArtSciLab as a UX researcher and developer for a project called ARTECA. Her main role as a user researcher is to conduct usability testing using tools like Morae, Validately, and Optimal workshop. After the usability testing she analyzes the data to determine the problems and come up with solutions.

Collaboration is an important aspect in big projects. Shruthy has collaborated and consulted with designers and developers to come up with new designs that provides a solution to the existing problem to make it better. Her classes at UT Dallas helped her to become successful in her role, “I only knew usability testing but after taking Design Principles and Creating Interactive media helped me think more like a researcher, it laid a basic foundation. I learned more about the design process and analyzing data obtained through tests.”

An internship is one of the best ways to learn about the field one wants to work in, and when a person has both academic and industrial internship they tend to see two perspectives on the same topic. Shruthy interned at Sabre for her industrial internship. “It was an amazing experience, I learned how UX experts conduct workshops and got to be a part of an outstanding team. Teamwork is imperative if you work as a UX researcher. I definitely enjoyed working in a group environment,” said Shruthy. Shruthy graduates this May.