My name is Chris Watkins, and I’m currently in the second year of a master’s degree in Human-Centered Design & Development at Purdue University. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Web Design & Development from Northumbria University in the United Kingdom in 2015. In the two years between graduating and continuing my education at Purdue, I worked as a User Experience Designer & Front-End Developer for an in-house agency creating e-commerce and software solutions for the automotive industry, as well as carrying out freelance work in UX consultancy, design, and development.
My undergraduate education was geared predominantly towards the front and back-end development of websites and software applications, with complimentary classes in user experience research and visual design, arming me with the ability to rapidly create high-fidelity interactive prototypes as well as fully-fledged websites, and conduct lab-based usability testing. My graduate career has allowed me to greatly build upon my skills in HCI research, particularly in more contextually suitable qualitative methods including interviews, contextual inquiry etc., from a critical perspective. My thesis research focuses on the impacts of fulfillment and compromise of a HCI/UX student’s core values as a designer in the workplace, as the field advocates for academics and practitioners to adopt a more critical and reflective approach to their work, with the end goal being the production of more socially responsible design.
During the summer of 2018, I was fortunate enough to complete a 12-week internship with M*Modal in Pittsburgh, working on improving voice-interactions for physicians using speech-enabled content in a multi-modality system, to improve the quality and completeness of their clinical patient documentation.
I have been working with the Science Gateways Community Institute as a usability consultant since January 2018. During this time, I have worked with clients from a variety of STEM backgrounds, including quantum chemistry and geospatial mapping, carrying out usability evaluations of existing software, conducting user research, and providing design recommendations in the form of static and interactive prototypes, as well as providing some development support throughout the implementation process.