Immersive Experiences Lab, HP Inc.
The Immersive Experiences Lab (IXL), led by Dr. Mirjana Spasojevic, studies and anticipates the ways in which people will engage with technologies that don’t yet exist. Using a people-first approach, IXL conducts frequent rounds of requirements gathering, prototyping and usability testing to deliver insights in areas as diverse as blended reality, authentic user experiences, and shaping future interactions with smart devices.
During a 3-month internship at IXL at HP Inc's Palo Alto headquarters, I worked with Senior Manager Dr. Alex Thayer on an exploration of the workflows and requirements of design professionals in architecture, industrial design, illustration, graphic design, and user experience design.
IXL was approached by an HP Inc. business unit which was exploring applications for a new technology that could improve the working lives of designers and creative thinkers. I performed a review of their recent developments and past research in the area, compiled research questions that would help their exploration, and devised a two-stage research plan.
In the first stage, I deployed an online questionnaire to internal HP Inc. employees in designer and designer-adjacent roles. Of the ~20 respondents, I identified notable participants and approached them for follow-up interviews. Four semi-structured interviews were conducted over video conferencing, yielding additional rich details on design workflows and barriers in a corporate setting. One of the key respondents was a manager of designers at the director level, and their contribution was invaluable in understanding the specific challenges faced by larger design teams.
To understand independent designers who were not part of a larger organization, in the second stage of my research I sought out freelancers, students and part-time designers across disciplines. I conducted 11 semi-structured interviews with design professionals in a neutral space in downtown San Francisco. They were asked to bring samples of their work and the design tools they used the most.
After interviews were transcribed, I performed emergent coding on a subset, yielding a candidate list of themes touched on by our respondents. The rest of the interviews were then analyzed using thematic analysis. Over 15 high-level themes emerged and developed in the course of the analysis. Finally, I compiled a report with the most relevant insights. I presented my findings to the IXL team, and was asked to repeat the presentation for 2 other business teams and their executive stakeholders.