Ansys UX Design Co-Op


Fall 2019 - Spring 2020
Duration: 8 months

“Working with a remote team spread across the US and under the direct supervision of the senior UX Engineer, I was involved in the final eight months of a product to be shipped; With guidance of experts in the team, I was allowed to design at multiple levels of the interface - ranging from details of an icon to larger complex workflows to make the use of complex tools familiar and intuitive. I also proposed a visual communication and documentation method unique to our product. This opportunity allowed me to put my ID problem solving chops to the test in the 2D dominion, also past experience with CAD and simulation software helped bring in a fresh set of eyes to the interface. Designing for software for the first time, and that too something as sophisticated as physics simulation software, I gained serious appreciation for the vast domains making it all come together and work like a timepiece”


Details
Worked as a UX Design co-op with ANSYS Inc.’s UX Team, embedded with the Design Business Unit, involved in the design of the next generation of Discovery - a single platform for modelling and multi-simulation needs. Assisting the team, while directly reporting to the Senior UX Engineer at the Canonsburg office, I worked on tasks that came in on a rolling basis.


Static Asset Creation
Work involved creation of static assets, like icons, for new or existing features. This involved, at first, getting deep familiarity with the tool or function being designed for and then making it visually understandable as an icon of a set size. Starting from plentiful yet expendable sketched ideas to high fidelity in-context mockups and then bringing them into code. Pushing these graphics into the codebase also introduced me to working with Git, along with some rudimentary understanding of software development for Windows and the Agile methodology.


Dynamic Asset Conceptualization
Dynamic assets convey the state of the interface and with motion based responses can greatly enhance the user experience, making it more intuitive and delightful to use. Used dynamic asset prototypes explaining interactions and microinteractions for future improvements to the UI, along with also suggesting certain features. Ranging from minor motion conveying state change to a whole set of microinteractions between different states of a major component in the UI.
Concepts were created using Adobe AfterEffects and Adobe Illustrator.


UX Testing and Research
Extensive manual testing of the software’s UI for UX improvements, reporting any issues that were spotted. Fixing contrast issues arising in the different themes for static assets and UI elements. Also involved in studying and comparing the similar features or components present in other ANSYS products.
Conducting usability studies with mechanical engineers to validate concepts and quickly move forward with a design for implementation. For existing features, based on comparisons and observations from watching the mechanical engineers use the product, points in the workflows were identified which might need improvement.
Working with other interns to find work arounds or fixes to issues.


Interaction Design
For entirely new features being introduced and their implementation in the existing UI, where and how they would fit in, conveying these sophisticated workflows through screen-state mockups, or click-through prototypes to the developers.
Evaluating and improving UI components and their micro-interactions.


Information Design
Information redesign for the main menu which allows for navigation to create new or open existing files - the previous design was visual noise was reduced when it came to displaying the help and tutorial section, the latter was accessed through a separate tab which we changed to be always accessible to the user. There were other minor changes in the display of redundant information that were fixed.


Visual Communication and Documentation Method
Proposed a new documentation method which is to be an entirely new communication medium between designers and developers - to visually convey the states and behaviors for new elements/workflows/interactions to be added to the UI or any changes to the existing ones.
Apart from these main tasks, I also had the opportunity to: Guide other incoming interns to get set up and started. Help my supervisor in the documentation of specs for the developers. Provide feedback on UI decisions and brainstorm on moonshot ideas.