Nepal to New York, improving user experience through human-computer interaction

October 13, 2015

Design, develop, experience

Originally from Nepal, human-computer interaction (HCI) graduate student, Pranay Chapagain, is using his studies to build platforms aimed at improving user experience in a variety of capacities.

Upon completing his undergraduate degree in eletronics and communications engineering, Chapagain gained experience in a series of developer roles, including one at his own company. Designing websites and mobile apps allowed Chapagain to build his skills in design and communications, and expand on the programming knowledge he acquired during his undergraduate studies.

SUNY Oswego's HCI program offered Chapagain the opportunity to fuse his interests and work experience while performing research in the field. 

"HCI is a unique program because right from the beginning it changes your perspective," said Chapagain. "It's not just one thing you are studying. Intro to HCI, Human Factors, and Methods are all different courses but in the end they come together to complement each other."

The value of simplicity

Chapagain's work at SUNY Oswego has been focused around improving user experience across various platforms. "The goal is to create something simple for users," Chapagain said.

One of Chapagain's first projects in Oswego was in a Software Design class. The class developed an application designed to track the Centro Bus in Oswego using sensor data on the buses to provide students with accurate bus arrival and departure times. 

Currently Chapagain is working with Fort Ontario to improve the visitor experience at the historical site with augmented reality. Using an app, visitors can point their smartphone at an object or building at the site to access additional content. This experience takes the visitor from past to present through video, images and text.

SUNY Oswego has been in the process of building an improved web presence for the school. Chapagain aided in the design and development through usability testing. His research efforts have expanded into the complex issue of user flow, including analyzing user engagement and behavior in order to optimize the experience.

Chapagain's most recent role is user researcher in SUNY Oswego's Office of Communications and Marketing.

Chapagain plans to graduate in fall 2015 with a master of science in human-computer interaction in December and hopes to find a job in user experience.