Personal Posts

My Experience With an HCI Master’s Degree

Several months ago I decided to change degrees in my master’s program at DePaul from Human-Computer Interaction to Software Engineering. I had already done over a year of coursework in the HCI program, and I really enjoyed the research and data analysis aspects of what I learned in those classes. As I progressed into the more advanced classes though, there was a significant shift from doing research and analysis, to learning about design elements and prototyping tools. I felt that this focus on design was not applicable to my current career, or what I see my career ever becoming. That feeling prompted me to look into other master’s programs at DePaul, and ultimately change to a Software Engineering degree. Luckily I didn’t have to sacrifice any of my HCI credits, they all applied to the Software Engineering degree electives. So far, it’s been really rewarding to see my programming work experience pay off in my education, and to supplement my daily work with new programming concepts I’ve been reading and studying in this degree program.

The Web in Developing Nations

Lately, my writing efforts have been entirely focused on my master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction, so I thought I could at least post some of that work here for the time being.

I recently wrote a research paper about web usability in developing nations. I love discussions around web performance, so I was particularly interested in this topic. In the context of the class, I wasn’t able to dive as deep into the technical aspects as I would have liked, but I’m pretty happy with out it turned out overall. Here is a quick intro to the paper:

The internet is widely available and reliable for those of us in developed countries like the United States and most of the European Union. We have fast, highly accessible networks, ever more powerful technology to access these networks, and relatively good education systems to help us use them. But people in less developed areas of the world can have a significantly different, and often more challenging experience accessing the web. What are the problems people in these developing countries face in regards to web accessibility and usability? How can a better interaction with the web help improve the lives of these people? As designers, developers, and analysts, what can we do to improve this interaction, and why do we even care in the first place?

You can read the full paper here.

Smoky Mountain Backpacking

I took some time off last week to spend a few days backpacking on the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains. It felt amazing to get out of my office chair and just walk and breathe mountain air for 3 days. The trail was much more difficult than I thought it would be, not because of the mountains, but because of how worn down and rocky it was. If you’re not extremely careful with every step, it’s all too easy to roll an ankle or trip. Still, I really enjoyed the physical challenge and the unique landscape.


Archiving my work and processes

I’d like to start up this blog to have a more readable record of my work in web development, and my hobbies in illustration. A few reasons for this:

  • I want to showcase some PHP and front-end work I have in development.
  • It’s an excuse to create a site exactly how I would want.
  • I want to be a better writer.

I’ll also be sharing some of my thoughts and preferences about development and illustration, for anyone who happens to read or follow this. Here we go!