UW HCDE Alumni Discuss their Experiences

Three alumni talk about their experience in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) at the University of Washington.

Video Transcription

Narrator: Three alumni talk about their experience in the Human Centered Design & Engineering program at the University of Washington.

Michael Berg: I first discovered the HCDE Department going for the User Centered Design certificate. I was working in an intro level usability job and I wanted more background in the field, and I came back for more because I felt like the department offered a unique kind of integration of technical writing, technical editing, graphic design, user testing and web coding or UI design. And I liked that it gave me a holistic picture of the user. I like that bigger picture and I wanted that. That's why HCDE was appealing to me.

Adonis Acuario: I had recently done some user research in the past in industry, and I was really interested in looking and refining my skills in usability, user centered design, interface design. I looked up this program, and I thought this was a perfect fit based off of those general interests on figuring out how to improve the user experience.

Brandi Arnold: I chose the program because I started of in psychology, and I started to realize that I really didn't want to be a clinical psychologist. I was more interested in the experimental part of it, but I also wanted to try to find something that was at the intersection between psychology and technology.

Michael Berg: So, I'm a Program Manager at Microsoft and I work as part of a group that supports user researchers, and the program really helped me in having a grounding in usability, understanding what the user researchers are after, what their goals are and being better able to support those needs.

In addition, I also work with improving our tools, making them more usable, so I'm able to apply those practical skills from the program in making the experience better for the user researchers.

Brandi Arnold: For my job with Microsoft Game Studios, I work on the user research team and what our team does, primarily, is run usability studies and other sorts of research studies on games that are in development. What the department has helped me with is the User Center Design background and the usability experience.

Adonis Acuario: I'm a Customer Experience Researcher. I just joined JP Morgan Chase, and it's pretty much something that I do every day, which is just usability studies, and talking with clients, trying to what my old professor would tell me which is, "Bringing the voice of the customer to the table of design." That's something that I do every day, something that I've learned from this program.

Brandi Arnold: I'm really glad that I joined the Human Centered Design & Engineering program because now I have a fantastic job that I really enjoy, and it takes my passion for research and my love of video games and puts them together into something that's really interesting and fun and a challenging career.

Michael Berg: You talk about passion and I think that's one of the defining characteristics of the HCDE Department. There's so much passion here around the discipline. Students are encouraged to engage in research, to network with others in the field and to join a larger community by attending conferences or joining professional organizations. It's a real benefit as a student.

Adonis Acuario: I think one of the best things for me in the program was that it really allowed us to focus in on areas that we're really interested in. I've been in classes with Program Managers, Developers, Designers, Researchers, people who knew nothing about the program, each of us with our own interests. And then, with the common goal of the professors, we're able to expand it and develop our own interest in the area of HCDE, and it's been really exciting to see all of us grow in that way.

If you are interested in creating outstanding user experiences, definitely check out HCDE.

Michael Berg: You know, HCDE is an exciting, evolving field, and I think this department is right on the cutting edge of it. I would encourage anybody to explore this department further.

Adonis Acuario: Human Centered Design & Engineering is exactly that. It's about creating the optimal user experience, so at the end of the day you can go home really feeling like you made a difference in some people's lives.

Narrator: For more information about HCDE at the University of Washington, visit us on the web at hcde.washington.edu.