When designing an application or system, Anmol Anubhai often feels lost if she doesn’t know exactly who will be using the end product. Her passion for understanding the needs of the user led her to pursue a career in human centered interaction (HCI) and design, and this focus has taken her to positions at Uber and Google, as well as her current position as a Senior UX Researcher at Amazon Web Services. She sees firsthand how diversity matters during the design phase of technology.
“Every day I get to see the value of user-sensitive design and what it actually means to make sure that all products and services across the globe are truly inclusive,” says Anmol. “We can only make that happen if we are proactively putting in the time and effort to learn the needs of sensitive populations, including minorities, people with disabilities, and women.”
Fostering a More Diverse Human Centered Interaction Industry
During the early days of her career, Anmol didn’t often see other people of color in the HCI and user design field—especially women of color. She sometimes felt that she wasn’t able to relate to others in her field. Through her work with the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA), she began to see other professionals with diverse backgrounds achieve professional success.
“I realized that if I put in the required effort that there was room in the field for me to be successful,” says Anmol. “It’s important to see representation, but also for professionals in underrepresented communities to be successful, earn promotions and receive credit for their work. It’s important for the rest of us to see that it’s possible.”
Her involvement with IEEE SA began when she was an undergraduate serving as the secretary of the student IEEE chapter at her university in India. After joining the workforce, she continued to stay up to date on other initiatives through the IEEE newsletter.
Anmol was very excited when a former professor from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she completed her graduate work in human computer interaction and design, reached out to her regarding IEEE SA’s new Industry Connections activity.
This group is focused on designing UX for rural communities and populations. She quickly agreed to lead the User-Centered Approach to Designing a User Interface for Rural Communities Industry Connection (IC) activity, and over 20 members attended the first meeting after its launch. Through the open platform at IEEE SA, Anmol learns how other communities across the globe are designing technologies that meet the needs of rural citizens.
Because of her passion for the importance of representation, Anmol actively works to invite and welcome individuals from different cultures and backgrounds to the IC activity. While she’s recently seen a more proactive focus on diversity and inclusion, she says we as a society and industry are a long way out from the ideal. Anmol’s goal is to give back to the HCI industry by making it richer through increased diversity.
Connecting With Experts in the Field
Anmol was originally concerned about finding time in her busy schedule to put in the required effort for the IC activity. But she soon realized that the processes IEEE SA provides to chairs made it hassle free to onboard new members and run the meetings, so she can focus on the core topic.
Through leading the IC activity and collaborating with the IEEE SA Connectivity and Telecom Practice, Anmol also quickly saw that the time she devoted to IEEE SA provided her with connections and information that would help promote her own education and career.
“One of the best parts about volunteering with IEEE SA is the sheer amount of talent that you have access to during your role. You get to spend time with so many experts in the field—to speak to them and discuss the initiative, which doesn’t happen to this extent with other organizations.”
Make Your Mark at IEEE SA
Over the years, IEEE SA has grown beyond standards development to encompass a full technology development lifecycle, from pre-standardization to market adoption and use. We drive a wide range of activities empowering the world’s innovators to shape and improve technology. Individuals and organizations are invited to join us to raise the world’s technology standards for the benefit of humanity.
About Anmol Anubhai
Anmol Anubhai is a human-centered design researcher, with international research experience and mixed research methods repertoire who is passionate about building meaningful emerging technologies. She has experience leading strategic qualitative and quantitative design research for spaces such as AI-driven recommender systems, IoT data analytics, healthcare, education, journalism, mobile vision, virtual reality, multilingual chatbots, and eco-friendly sustainable home appliances.