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Tag: MS in User-Centered Design (page 1 of 2)

Faculty Spotlight: Dave Lumerman

Photo of David Lumerman.

Dave Lumerman, User-Centered Design faculty, is Corporate Vice President of User Experience at New York Life Insurance, where he develops engaging interaction for New York Life websites, applications and interactive experiences, and has done so for over 20 years. Previously, he developed online games and game shows with Pearson Television and Uproar! Games, most notably “Family Feud” and “To Tell the Truth.” Dave earned his masters degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and undergraduate degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

What led you to the User Experience (UX) field?

I have been involved with user experience longer than people have used the term. As a game designer you become very interested in the mechanics of what motivates people to complete actions, this is something today we refer to as gamification. 

But it wasn’t until my early days at my current company that we began referring to the field as it is today. That’s when I began to really focus on user experience, when I methodically started crafting designs and then testing them and seeing how the interaction I was designing affected (both positively and negatively) the experience.

What industry trend is currently exciting you?

The trend toward accessibility and beyond is exciting. Transitioning from creating an experience for a narrow set of special users, to taking the leap to inclusive design, which is considering the full range of human diversity to empower people – all people – to design products, sites and services is more beneficial.

What are your best hopes for students in your courses?

While tools and technique are a natural part of all the courses I teach, the greatest thing I can impart to my students is the ability to think independently, and form their own conclusions and analysis. It’s the independent thought, the ability to “show their work” intellectually that is key. This idea is my north star for my students, and will hopefully take them through successful careers to places they couldn’t even imagine today.

Any advice for students or alumni who are job searching or preparing for a UX job search in the near future?

My advice aligns with drawing conclusions and creating thoughtful analysis. Anyone with enough time and patience can create a portfolio of work, but what sets you apart is the ability to explain the choices you made, and reasoning behind the pictures. 

Having artifacts that are done well and explained well – in human terms, not pseudo analytical terms – can get your foot in the door. Once you are in, being thoughtful, with the ability to present your ideas and conclusions effectively will help you excel.

What is a fun fact about you that the Brandeis GPS community members may not already know?

Most folks don’t know that I am a serial cast iron collector. I love cooking using cast iron, dutch ovens, and cast iron pans, in the oven, the stovetop or over a campfire. I own so many cast iron pieces that I have a five-foot stand in my dining room dedicated to holding it all – much to my wife’s chagrin.


For more information on the User-Centered Design MS or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Brandeis GPS Alumni Spotlight

Black and white picture of Kristen MooresAlumni Spotlight

Kristen Moores ’22

Raleigh, NC

MS in User Centered Design

UX Designer, American Kennel Club

When she’s not busy working on a computer, you can usually find Kristen exploring the great outdoors for wild edible mushrooms, enjoying a tasty IPA at a craft brewery, or relaxing with her dog Tig. She’s also an avid traveler and has recently had the opportunity to visit some fantastic places like Portland, Maine; Newfoundland, Canada; Tulum, Mexico; and Lisbon, Portugal.

Get to know Kristen Moores! 

Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree?

I love working with technology and seeing how people interact with it. I’ve always been curious about new technologies and how they might shape our future. I was excited about the opportunity to participate in this process and use my skills and knowledge to help create products that would improve people’s lives.

What was your most valued experience at GPS?

I worked on projects that helped me build a strong UX portfolio – this helped me greatly when seeking my first job. I also appreciated the chance to learn from instructors who were seasoned industry professionals with extensive knowledge and experience. Additionally, I found it enriching to collaborate on projects with peers from diverse backgrounds and levels of experience.

How has your GPS degree prepared you for life after graduation?

Sharing my projects with the class was a valuable experience. It was a great way to gain confidence in communicating my ideas and design decisions to a broader audience. In my current job, I often present my research and designs to my colleagues and project stakeholders. Practicing in class was a big help in preparing me for this.

What strategies did you find helpful as you balanced responsibilities in work, school, and life?

Taking one class each quarter while working full-time worked well for me, as I could focus on one subject while keeping up with my job. Time management and planning ahead were vital for making it work. But it’s important to remember that life can throw unexpected curveballs, so feel free to contact your professors for help if you ever need to catch up.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

Brushing up on the basics of design and user research before starting your program is a great idea. A good foundation will help you start strong and make the most of your time in the program. Also, feel free to experiment and play around with different design tools. It’s the best way to learn and grow as a designer – have fun!


For more information on the User-Centered Design MS or any other GPS programs, visit brandeis.edu/gps/.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Picture of Liza Crystabel Rangel standing in front of a tent in what appears to be a desert.Student Spotlight

Liza “Crystabel” Rangel, ‘23

Los Angeles, CA

Product Manager at CreativEngine

Program: MS in User-Centered Design

Crystabel likes to read, draw, and play the piano in her spare time. However, she is passionate about community building and serving underserved populations. As a daughter of Mexican immigrants, she understands the hardships that marginalized people face. She volunteers doing community clean-ups as well as distributing goods. She is also currently a Chapter Director in Los Angeles for Techqueria, a nonprofit that serves the largest global community of Latine professionals in tech.

She is a true believer that When We Grow Others, We Grow Ourselves.

Get to know Crystabel Rangel! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?
I chose Brandeis for the courses offered in the UCD program. I liked the flexibility of being able to keep working while also studying. I also received strong and positive reviews of the program, which made Brandeis my top choice. I am truly honored to be accepted as a student.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?
I started incorporating a user-centered design process at my current job. The more I learned about UX, the more I fell in love with the discipline and industry.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far?
My experience at Brandeis has been exceptionally positive. I have enjoyed getting to know my professors and classmates. In addition, the material covered in the courses is highly relevant to the UX field and provides me with knowledge and skills to improve my professional development.

What has been your favorite class to-date?
My favorite class thus far is Design Operation and Leadership with Professor David Lumerman. This course taught me strategies for effective leadership and operational tactics to build teams and manage resources.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis?
I am on track to complete my program in Spring 2023. For the remaining time that I am in the program, I hope to help build and foster a community among the students in the UCD Program to help us stay connected, provide resources, and help each other succeed.

For more information on the User-Centered Design program or any other GPS programs, visit our website.

Brandeis GPS Sponsors UXPA Boston Annual Conference

Three people stand behind a table with tall Brandeis University signs on either side

From left to right: Director of Admissions Christie Barone, Brandeis GPS Alumni Craig Cailler, and Assistant Director of Partnership Engagement Michaela Henry

Last week, Brandeis GPS sponsored UXPA Boston’s annual conference. The event was a day-long, in person conference featuring networking opportunities, professional development sessions, and several panels and keynote speakers about different topics in the industry.

Our own User-Centered Design (UCD) faculty and board members were integral to the success of the day. UCD faculty member Bob Thomas is President of UXPA Boston. He kicked off the day with a welcome address, and later hosted a group mentoring session. The chair of the UCD program, Eva Kaniasty, was featured on the panel “Design of Design Education,” along with program board members Chris Hass and Lou Susi. 

Four people sit in a row of chairs on a stage, one speaking into a microphone

“Design of Design Education” Panel at UXPA Boston | From left to right: Jason Reynolds, Amy Heymans, Eva Kaniasty, and Chris Hass

Chris Hass is on the board of UXPA Boston as well.

Lou Cimaglia, a Brandeis GPS Lunch and Learn speaker, also gave a talk titled “Content Isn’t A Word: A Team Approach to UX Writing.” His Lunch and Learn – register here! – will be this Thursday, October 20 at 12pm.


For more information on the User-Centered Design program or any other GPS programs, visit our website.

Q&A with Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Faculty: Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Program: User-Centered Design

Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SM and Goddard College, B.A.

Bio: Elizabeth Rosenzweig is a design researcher whose mission is to use technology to make the world a better place. She believes that the best design comes from good research. This all starts with a user-centered design. From volunteer events, design challenges, and research projects. Elizabeth has been able to push the bounds of the current status quo and innovate. Examples include founding running World Usability Day, producing 4 Patents on intelligent design for image management and organizations, long-term impact on Medicare.gov, yearlong study on body-worn cameras, and other projects. Rosenzweig’s work can be seen at designresearchforgood.org.

 

How did your career journey lead you to User-Centered Design? What has the path been to becoming a design researcher?

I started my career as a photographer and a graphic designer.  I thought that visual art/design was going to be my career journey. But an unexpected development happened when I applied to graduate school and ended up  at the MIT Media Lab.  There I had a front row seat to the development of user centered design, human-computer interaction and UX. My volunteer work at various organizations has confirmed how important our field really is.  It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of this developing field.

 

What design and/or technology trends are currently exciting you?

Intelligent user interfaces (IUI) have been something that has always interested me. In fact I did quite a lot of research on it. Using IUI to help put humans first, through the field of human-centered artificial intelligence(HCAI). HCAI is very exciting to me and has the potential to change the world in a positive way because it includes not only UCD but ethics and goals, 

 

What are your best hopes for the students in your courses?

I hope my students come to know how important our work is to our society.  UCD is our hope for the future, by putting the human at the center of design can ensure we create products and services that help solve our biggest problems.

 

Do you have any advice for Brandeis GPS community members planning a job search in UX?

We can use our UX skills in every aspect of our lives including our job search.  Define your own persona, what are your goals, do you want to do UX design or UX research? In the interviews, what is the persona of the people interviewing you, what are their goals and challenges. Ask thoughtful questions.   Know your strengths and be honest about the areas you need to develop.  Finally, when you’re starting out. It is important to have a portfolio to show people what you’ve done. In the portfolio it’s very important to describe what you did, the use case, and what your role was and how it impacted the project.

 

What is a fun fact about you that Brandeis GPS community members may not already know?

When I was in college I took a job teaching blind people to ski, the training included a full day skiing blindfold. Before that training, I had imagined what it would be like if I were blind, but living a day without seeing made me realize that experience was not one I could even imagine, it was so different then my own experience. That is when I learned the true importance of empathy and how important it is to understand a person’s experience, to put yourself in their shoes so you can develop a product or service that helps them make their lives better.

 

For more information on the User-Centered Design program or any other GPS programs, visit our website.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Headshot of McKenzie Little

Student Spotlight

McKenzie Little ‘23

California

Design Automation Engineer

Program: MS in User-Centered Design 

In her spare time, McKenzie likes to visit with friends, travel, hike, dance, bake, crochet, rock climb, and practice yoga. In her most recent trip, McKenzie spent a month in Washington State with her boyfriend and several friends working remotely and exploring the state on the weekends. Exploring new places is when she is happiest!

Get to know McKenzie Little! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I chose Brandeis GPS due to the courses in the User-Centered Design program, as the topics were aligned with my career goals. I felt that I would get a lot of hands-on experience through project work and that I would learn a lot from the mentorship of industry professionals instructing the courses.  

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I chose User-Centered Design because improving people’s lives through design and research aligned with my values. I also enjoy being able to express creativity through sketching and prototyping. Also, doing a part-time work rotation with a User Experience team at my workplace really solidified my desire to pursue this career.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

I have had a fantastic experience so far. I have met many talented students with similar interests and goals in the program. The instructors have been so helpful and inspiring to learn from.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis? 

I am looking forward to learning as much as possible in the four remaining courses I have left in the program. I hope to continue to strengthen my relationships with the other students in my classes and to learn from them as well.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation, I am looking forward to applying what I have learned in the program and expanding my knowledge as I grow my skills in the industry.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

I highly recommend participating in the student mentorship program. My advisor reached out to me about this opportunity shortly before my first course in the program, and it was extremely helpful to have a mentor to share questions with as I progressed through the first few courses.

What has been your favorite class to-date? 

My favorite class so far has been User Interface Design with Dave Lumerman. This course is an elective, and it truly pushed me on a constructive way to improve my skills and grow. I took it early on in my program and it helped me get more comfortable with design ideation as well as prototyping.

For more information on the User-Centered Design program or any other GPS programs, visit our website.

2022 UXPA Boston Fair

On May 25th, Brandeis University was pleased to sponsor the annual UXPA Boston Fair. The event, held virtually on Zoom and Kumospace, offered students and career changers the opportunity to receive mentorship and guidance around career paths in the fields of user experience design, research, development, information architecture, and content strategy.

The fair was especially useful to students currently enrolled in Brandeis GPS’s User-Centered Design program. The online master’s program, which offers both full-time and part-time options, allows students to study at the intersection of psychology, creativity and technology, thus enabling them to gain a deeper understanding of user experience (UX) and engagement principles. 

It is clear from student testimonials that the UXPA Fair was a success on multiple fronts, offering students a wide range of learning experiences to complement their studies at Brandeis GPS.

Student Crystable Rangel found the career panel to be particularly interesting, stating that “each panelist had a diverse background and brought a unique perspective.” Rangel walked away from the panel with a new understanding of the importance of mentorship, saying that, “while I am learning a lot in my program, it has become very clear to me that I will also need a mentor to help with my growth and transition.”

Aashish Maskey, who attended the event from her home in Hawaii, also gained valuable insight from the career panel. She says, “It was great to have some of my questions answered in the group mentoring. I am transitioning into UX with previous experience with healthcare, clinical applications and background in art. It was good to know that some of the skills and knowledge that I already have could be my advantage in breaking into the field of UX.”

According to Gabriele Burke, breakout sessions were “the highlight” of the event, with “very knowledgeable instructors and very interactive sessions.” She says, “Instructors answered all my questions and took a lot of time, which was good for the small group sizes.” This helped Burke to gain useful information about preparing “specialized and tactical resumes.”

Other GPS students made valuable connections during the networking part of the fair. Student Abigail Grinberg stated, “I found it to be valuable to connect with others in the UX industry and hear about their varying experiences. Especially since I am new to the field, I appreciated hearing advice on how others went about finding their first UX jobs. It also was interesting to learn about the types of projects people are working on and the many applications of UX/UI.”

To read more about the learning and networking opportunities offered by Brandeis GPS, visit our website.

UX is my superpower

Photo of David Lumerman.User experience is all about solving problems, and having a deep understanding of mechanics behind the actions people take gives a UX practitioner more tools to solve these problems.

Like Batman, the world’s greatest detective, you use a combination of the clues found in our surroundings, in user norms like heuristics, and active listening to users, and even the needs and goals of stakeholders to solve the problems, combat evil (or at least bad UX) ands save Gotham City.

This all begins with asking the right question.

As an adjunct professor at Brandeis the “Why” is something I explore with all the students in the program. The “Why” becomes the caped crusader’s utility belt, and all the tools fit into the various compartments. Understanding the “Why” is key to being able to deliver good UX and improvement for the people we are trying to help. Making things better, more efficient and easier to use is the key.

The most successful students in the program can not only relay the information but use this utility belt to extrapolate and apply the lessons to the work they produce.

By building a foundation of heuristics, applying critical thinking and good observation you can successfully tackle any UX task. The tools may evolve, the user’s gulf of understanding may be increased, but the fundamentals of what makes for good UX and good design form the bedrock of the user experience discipline

A good superhero is empathetic.

If you have ever observed participants in a one-on-one usability test you immediately begin to empathize with the people performing the actions. It’s actually one of the hardest things to do when running sessions, to not interject and alleviate the discomfort you are observing. When counseling students it is something I emphasize that you need to be comfortable with their discomfort for the greater good. The greater good of the project, the design and the user experience.

I see this struggle as a good thing. If UX folks are not bothered by the discomfort they are inflicting, maybe they are not empathizing enough.

UX is hard. It’s a relatively new field that fights to gain a seat at the table. I equate it sometimes as running head long into a brick wall, checking the wall for cracks, and shaking it off and doing it again.

The best of us have a passion for running into that wall. If given a choice, be Batman. Always be Batman.

 

Bio

David Lumerman, M.S., has been an Adjunct Professor at Brandeis University since 2017 conducting courses in including User Interface design, User Experience Design, Cognitive and Social Psychology of User-Centered Design, Design Operation and Leadership, and the Capstone in User-Centered Design. During this time he has redeveloped both the User Interface Design and Design Operation and Leadership courses.

Mr. Lumerman is the Corporate Vice President of User Experience at New York Life Insurance, where he develops engaging interaction for New York Life websites, applications and interactive experiences, and has done so for over 20 years. Previously, David developed online games and game shows with Pearson Television and Uproar! Games, most notably the interactive versions of “Family Feud” and “To Tell the Truth.” He earned his Masters degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and undergraduate degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

An avid outdoorsman, David is proficient in Dutch Oven Cooking and is actively involved in running outdoor programs through the Boy Scouts of America. He has been married for over 30 years to his wife Dvorah, and has two sons, Sam and Henry, who are both Eagle Scouts.

Dave is the recipient of the 2022 “Rabb School Outstanding Teacher Award”.

For more information on the User-Centered Design MS or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Faculty Spotlight: Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Faculty: Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Program: User-Centered Design

Course: RUCD 190 Capstone

Awards: Usability Professionals Association: Lifetime Achievement Award 2009

Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SM and Goddard College, B.A.

Bio: Elizabeth Rosenzweig is a design researcher whose mission is to use technology to make the world a better place. She believes that the best design comes from good research. This all starts with a user-centered design. From volunteer events, design challenges, and research projects. Elizabeth has been able to push the bounds of the current status quo and innovate. Examples include founding running World Usability Day, producing 4 Patents on intelligent design for image management and organizations, long-term impact on Medicare.gov, yearlong study on body-worn cameras, and other projects. Rosenzweig’s work can be seen at designresearchforgood.org

Why is this course important or valuable to a UCD student?

The Capstone course brings together all the skills and knowledge the UCD student has obtained from the UCD program. The Capstone allows them to apply these skills to a project of their choosing, perhaps one they have been thinking of for a while, or a brand new idea. This class is a wonderful opportunity to create a strong portfolio piece that they can use when they interview for a job.

Why do you enjoy teaching this course?

 I enjoy engaging with the students as they give birth, grow and refine their ideas. Since this is often one of the last classes, the UCD students come into the class with strong skills. The journey from the inception of their idea to a fully designed clickable prototype in one term is amazing.

Anything else you would like to share with a prospective student?

The final presentation is the best part because it provides the student with experience of presenting their original project to the UCD Advisory Board, who then provides support, mentorship, and invaluable feedback on the work.  The Advisory Board is a strong network of seasoned UCD professionals that helps build a strong network for the UCD student.

For more information on the User-Centered Design MS or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

McKenzie Little ‘23

California

Design Automation Engineer

Program: MS in User-Centered Design

In her spare time, McKenzie enjoys hiking, camping, yoga, making coffee, and reading. 

 

Get to know McKenzie Little! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

I was really drawn to the courses listed in the program and the online flexibility for working professionals.

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I was able to have a part-time work rotation with a UX team at my workplace and it really solidified my desire to pursue UX as a career.

How have you enjoyed your experience at Brandeis thus far? 

I start the first class in my program in a few short weeks! I am very excited to begin my studies online at Brandeis University. 

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis? 

I hope to learn as much as possible and make great connections with other students. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

I plan to work in the UX field.

For more information on the User-Centered Design program, visit: https://www.brandeis.edu/gps/academics/user-centered-design/index.html.

 

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