Interview to PhD. Erin Bradner

Por Karla Yee Amézaga

Investigadora de Autodesk,  La Dra. Bradner realiza investigaciones del usuario o ergonomics, para entender cuáles son las percepciones y las limitaciones cognitivas de las personas y cómo diseñar software y tecnología que respondan a estas limitantes.

Karla Yee: First of all, thank you very much for your time and for coming to ITAM. What is user experience research? Please, share with us some of your experience in the field.

Erin Bradner: «User experience research is understanding how humans interact with computers. User experience research is the human side of computers; the academic field is called computer human interaction. The practitioners in the field do what is called user research or ergonomics: that’s understanding what are the perceptions and cognitive limitations of people and understanding how to design software and technology within those limitations.»

K.Y.: What comes next in the Human-Computer Interaction?

E.B.: «What comes next? What comes next is understanding how humans and consumers would use technology like I spoke about it today. 3D printing: 3D printing is about mass customization. It is the third industrial revolution.»


K.Y.: What has it meant for you, as a woman, to succeed in the field of Computer Science?

E.B.: «I hadn’t thought much about being a woman in computer science and engineering; it never particularly bothered me that there were more men in my classes than women, or there were slightly more men that work in technology than women. What I have always brought to the table, as we say in business; what I have brought to the conversation is an understanding and empathy for the people who we are designing for, and that’s what people at work have turned to me for. I know how to program, I’ve taken programming classes, but I don’t do that day to day in my job because understanding fundamentally what people need and how they will use software provides for our company a competitive advantage that I think will allow us to better understand not just what an engineer or an architect need their software to do today but what they will need it to do in the future, like multi-objective design optimization.»

K.Y.: What would you say to young people, particularly women, who are interested in studying Engineering programs?

E.B.: «Go for it. If you’ve got an interest and a passion and an excitement about it already, jump into it. If it scares you it should. Any career, any academic field that you choose, should scare you, because you know you’re going to be challenged and it’s challenge that actually gets us to do our best work. There’s a psychologist, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, and he has researched this notion of flow. Flow is when we are producing at our peak; it’s when artists are creating, it’s when computer scientists are hacking, it’s when human beings are creating at the peak level of their activities. And it’s challenge, it’s not when we are easy and we’re resting on our laurels – it’s not when the problems are easy –; it’s when we are challenged and using our skills to the greatest extent that we find this wonderful transcendent sense of flow. What advice would I give to a young woman if she were interested in technology? Go for it: pursue it. And also pursue your other interests, because it’s a combination of technical skills and passion that will make you interesting to the industry and interesting to employers.»