MetroStar is exploring the positive impact our people are having on the world around them. In this series, you will learn about the different roles, projects, and positive changes MetroStar’s team is helping to create.
You may see mathematics and design often pitted against each other; however, a lot can be learned from math to help enhance design and art.
Varsha, a UX Architect at MetroStar, studied mathematics and biology for her undergraduate degree but began to look into the world of UX design after college.
"I took a nontraditional career path for someone in design, but that is a pattern you see with many UX Designers. There are not a lot of formal degree programs for this field, so you often see people with different backgrounds," Varsha said.
Varsha grew her portfolio while learning new skills and started applying for design jobs. She has worked in both the private and public sectors and has also worked as a freelance designer for startups. At MetroStar, Varsha helps clients understand their users' needs and helps them achieve their business goals and KPI metrics through her use of smart design principals.
Research is the key to fixing user experience problems that impact both clients and users.
"There is a lot of collaboration in this field because you are working as a team with the client," Varsha said. "You must research to understand the client and users' needs and then translate those needs into a strategy that improves a product or service."
One modernization project Varsha has worked on for government clients is making sure they have inclusive and accessible web and application designs.
"There is such a diverse population in America, so making sure that websites are accessible, 508 compliant, and being held accountable, is vital to modernization," Varsha said. "Some examples include finding ways to help someone access information if they are visually impaired and another is if someone is not a native English speaker."
This year, Varsha has primarily worked at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to improve a major application that allows alcohol, tobacco, and firearm manufacturers to register for permits quickly and easily.
She serves as the UX architect by creating wireframes, user flows, and UX testing artifacts. The enhancements she recommends as a UX architect help the client, the manufacturers, and the end-users—who need access to the products—obtain the information they need more easily.
"UX impacts the way we interact with everything around us. So, it's not just applications and websites; it's everything. It's all about a person's experience interacting with something tangible."
Varsha enjoys working as a government contractor because the websites and applications she works on are often public-facing and have a broad reach. She believes her impact is making improved government websites through really understanding a user's needs.
"We are helping agencies get Americans in contact with the right people. So, even if we aren't directly helping the end-user, we support the people who help them," Varsha said.
Due to the nature of MetroStar's clients, the notion of credibility is critical when working on websites. The projects have high traffic and users are logging on and expecting an official government website.
"There is a responsibility to create websites that look creditable but also offer users a secure, user-friendly platform," Varsha said.
Varsha and MetroStar see the modernization of websites as a pathway to help clients and to also positively impact the people who interact with the government every day.
"We have a responsibly beyond just completing the work or tasks at hand for our clients. Most of our work revolves around changing the way a product functions or changing user behavior," Varsha said. "We need to focus on ways we can do that in a way that positively impacts our society."
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