Side Note:  Obviously, I’ve been away from blogging for a little while.  I discovered that working full time and attending grad school full time, and planning a wedding all at the same time was quite overwhelming. So, blogging about HCI took a backseat for a little while. But, yesterday, I started a new job as a “Usability Consultant/Information Architect”.  So, now I am immersed in HCI in both work and school.  So, I think I’ll be returning to blogging 🙂

For the past three years, I’ve worked for Indiana University (IU) in a tech support role (I’d been in tech support for 10 years prior to working at IU, as well).  One of my duties was to administer a certain web app.  When I took that role over, I was thrown into a project of designing a new app to do the same functions as the old one.  About two years ago, during the design process, we had the university’s usability lab conduct user testing.

I watched the testing and was fascinated. Here was an app that I thought had been designed very well and would pose hardly any problems to users, and here were users who had problems!  I found it kind of exciting to be wrong. It was eye-opening to see users use the application in ways I hadn’t anticipated.

I had no idea that the field of Usability existed before those tests.  But, while I was observing those tests, I remember thinking to myself, I want to do that!  I want to walk people through tests of applications and tools and find out how to make them better!

As I got to thinking about it, I realized that all of my experience in tech support was leading me to this point.  I had made a career of helping people use poorly-designed yet functional applications and tools.  But, after the tests, I realized that what I had been doing was a bandaid.  To truly solve people’s problems with those applications, the applications themselves needed to be redesigned.

So, I began to do a little web-surfing about usability.  I discovered that IU had an excellent HCI/d program, so about a year ago I applied and began my stint as a grad student.  I decided from the beginning that I wanted to work in usability and made that the focus of most of my classess and assignments.  And, secretly, I wanted to work at IU’s usability lab, because I already loved working for IU in a different department.  So, what could be more perfect than doing usability at IU?

After my first semester, a graduate assistantship position with the usability lab opened up.  I applied for it, was intereviewed, but didn’t get the job.

Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago.  I had finished my first year as a grad student, and had another year to go until I had a degree.  A full-time job opening at the usability lab was posted.  I figured I wasn’t qualified since I didn’t have my degree yet.  But, I figured there’d be no harm in applying, and if I could get an interview, then at least I’d keep myself on the radar of the people who worked there, so that when I did have my degree and another position opened, I’d be in a better position to get the job.

So I applied.  And, I interviewed.  Four days later, I was offered the position.  And, yesterday, I started the job.

In the past three weeks, I’ve said goodbye to a job and coworkers that I really loved, I’ve switched platforms (from Windows to Mac) and am learning all new apps, and I began what I thought was my unachievable dream job.  Plus, I’m still going to be going to school full-time come September.

And, I thought I was overwhelmed before!  But, this overwhelming feeling is a good one.  I’ve been doing more in-depth web-surfing on usability and discovered a whole new level of overwhelmedmness (yes, I just made up that word!)

There’s just so much out there to read and and so little time….


2 responses to this post.

  1. Very nice!!


  2. Hci Bookmarks…

    Remmrit.com user has just tagged your post as hci!…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: