Research and development is one of the most important aspects of leading high-tech companies. Any corporation that is going to launch a commercially successful product in the market should conduct extensive user research in order to thoroughly understand current market trends and the needs of customers. Without user research, the chance of launching a successful product decreases drastically.
UPMC Enterprises is a leading high-tech company in the field of healthcare technologies. The strategic collaboration with GE, IBM, and other big names in the field of IT and healthcare has enabled UPMC to design and develop technology-based, medical-related products. In order to address real needs of users, research is an important, key factor in the development process at UPMC Enterprises.
I am both a PhD student and research assistant. Since I am studying to get a doctoral degree, I want to improve my research skills in a fast moving environment of industry. Therefore, I searched for internship positions with research opportunities in high-tech firms. When I interviewed with UPMC Enterprises managers, my excitement about the research opportunities and projects at UPMC Bakery Square was undeniable!
Starting my summer internship in May 2015, my initial projects involved development of eye-tracking research protocols. Using this technology, it was then my responsibility to conduct data collection from expert users. Though it can be difficult for researchers to access a pool of expert participants, I was fortunate to be able to recruit expert users (with high level of experience) for my research. After data collection, I used different statistical tests to analyze the information, and finally interpret the data. Through this I provided recommendations to improve user interaction with the product.
In fact, the product development process at UPMC Enterprises requires a high level of quality assurance and research, which helps designers and developers gain a better understanding of user interaction with interfaces, software, mobile applications, and webware. My research findings revealed some usability issues with two projects that are part of the Next Generation Imaging team. Every day at UPMC Enterprises, product analysts and user experience designers run summative and formative tests to improve product functions and quality of interaction. The research might be a simple A/B testing that slightly improves user performance or deep multiple-approach research for creating optimal user workflow or information architecture. Each project calls for a unique research strategy. This summer provided great insight into the research and development realm.
Ehsan Naderi, Enterprises Summer Associate