Alisha Mahtani is a current student on City’s MSc Human Computer Interaction Design programme.
What is your name and what course do you study, what year are you in, what scholarship did you receive?
My name is Alisha Mahtani and I am currently studying Human-Computer Interaction Design full-time at City. I received the Global STEM Leadership Masters Scholarship.
What were you doing before you came to study at City?
I was working as a UX Specialist at Docquity - southeast Asia’s largest medical education and knowledge-sharing platform for doctors, enabling them to consult and collaborate on real-world medical cases in real-time.
Prior to this, I spent two years working as a Creative Lead & Project Manager at a hi-tech digital consultancy startup in New York that specializes in AI, UX, IoT & Cloud Migration.
What has been your favourite module on the course, and what have you enjoyed most about your time at City?
My favourite module so far has been Information Architecture as it has challenged me to decipher, classify and then present large amounts of information in a way that puts as little cognitive effort on the user.
After spending a few years working full-time, I truly appreciate being a student again - I’ve missed learning from passionate professionals and being able to fully develop my own ideas and not just someone else's that is higher up the food chain.
I am enjoying the opportunity to think without constraints and challenge the norm.
What kind of things are you involved in outside of your course?
I enjoy digital illustration and have been creating custom portraits for a few years now. I love music, museums, drawing, concerts, video games, and am a big Marvel fan.
What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I would like to make gaming more inclusive to a wider audience through working as a UX Consultant or Accessibility Specialist within the gaming industry.
I believe that accessible design is necessary as it builds empathy and gifts designers with the esteemed ability to unite distinct groups of people through one design - creating a sense of belonging rather than exclusion.
What would be your top tip for our applicants?
Do extensive research. Applicants should be able to meticulously and specifically explain what exactly about City’s variety of offerings appeals to them.
For example, Professors Jane Marshall & Stephanie Wilson’s EVA Park project is what attracted me to City, as this impactful project encapsulates exactly the type of work I hope to be involved with in the future - using accessible design to help people with disabilities, like aphasia, through leveraging cutting-edge experimental technologies like augmented reality (AR) gaming.
What is your proudest academic achievement?
During my last year studying psychology at New York University, an article I wrote based on a research paper I submitted to one of my final degree courses, Group Inequality & Conflict, was published online on Huffington Post in March 2017 - titled “The Psychology of Sexism: Why Some Men Don’t Vote for a Female President”.
I was motivated to uncover the implicit cognitive reasons that possibly contributed to Hillary Clinton’s loss during the 2016 US Presidential election.
How do you see your subject of study changing in the future?
In the future, designing one-for-all, standardized interactions will not be satisfactory - users will demand experiences that are significantly more personalized and unique which would rely on increased utilization of AI.
AI will allow the analysis of a user’s past and present data to customize each individual experience, and allow predictive technology to expand into product design - predicting a user’s future behaviour and reducing the effort for them to complete tasks.
UX designers will have to further individualize a user’s experience using psychology, perhaps transforming UX design into a social skill rather than design.