November 9 is World Usability Day, an initiative by the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and the User Experience (UX) community to promote the values of usability, user-centered design, universal usability, and celebrate progress toward equal access to digital technology. We would like to celebrate these important initiatives by spotlighting current HCC and UX students in the Department of Information Systems. God’sfavour Sunday is currently in our combined BS to MS program. Sunday is expected to finish with the BS in Information Systems in December 2023 and the MS in Human-Centered Computing in the fall of 2024.
Sunday takes time to answer some questions for us about usability, how he got interested in the combined program, and his plans after graduation.
Information Systems: You are currently enrolled in the combined BS in IS and MS in HCC accelerated program. When did you first become interested in these fields and why did you decide to do the combined program?
God’sfavour Sunday: I first became interested in this program when I read about it in an email sent out to the department in my first year. I scheduled a meeting with Dr. Sreedevi Sampath where she provided information about the program and I decided to take the IS 303 class. The course was interesting and it taught me about the basics of UX/UI design. After taking this course and working on several projects, I decided to really commit myself to getting into the program.
Information Systems: What are the advantages of doing the combined program? Can you share about your experience and how you are balancing the workload of taking undergraduate and graduate courses?
God’sfavour Sunday: The main advantage of doing the combined program is the time one saves. Despite the workload being a little heavier, I have learned to manage my time. The workload does add variety, and my interest in the classes has helped keep me active with my studies. I quite enjoy it and it feels like a proper use of my time.
Information Systems: Could you talk a little bit about what usability is and why you think it is important?
God’sfavour Sunday: Usability is the ease a product can be maneuvered to solve a specific problem. This word, despite seeming very simple, has pushed humanity to great heights. Usability allows for the ease of use of a tool (to achieve a goal) which then allows for more of us to create and use more products effectively. This cyclical process is what has given us unfathomable growth.
Information Systems: What are some examples of good design you have seen that meet usability goals?
God’sfavour Sunday: Three products I believe have met usability goals are (1) the ink pen, (2) the computer, and (3) Google Search. These products are some of the most important of all and have become central to our existence. Even if one never used these tools, they are easily learned and understood. They have led to the development of countless tools and revolutionized the daily lives of so many people.
Information Systems: What are some things we can do in our day-to-day to be more aware of the impact that usability has on user experience?
God’sfavour Sunday: To be more aware of the impact that usability has on user experience we must do two things; first, be empathetic. We need to understand the diversity of human experience, taking the time to think about the lives of our fellow human beings and meeting a more diverse group of people. Despite this seeming to be counterintuitive, the second is to disconnect from the products we use on a daily basis. Only when we disconnect from something (we use so often) can we understand the aspects that make them so useful to us.
Information Systems: What are your career aspirations after graduation?
God’sfavour Sunday: After graduation I see myself working in web development, in a UX design firm, or in a larger tech company. I would like to get more experience in mobile development, equitable design, and accessible design before I embark on my main goal; to create my own UX design firm. My long-term goal is to help develop the next billion internet users by creating products that can really improve the well-being of many around the world.