A Passion for UX Design
AF CyberWorx (CWx): What drew you to Air Force CyberWorx?
Christelle Panumpabi (CP): I was initially drawn because I found opportunity for user experience research in this role. In my past UX Design internship, I didn’t get to do too much user research. But as someone who studied Communication, I do really love getting to talk with people, hearing about their experiences and their pain points.
As I was doing research on CyberWorx, I found that it did have a lot of heavy user experience. Also, specifically in the military, it seems that sometimes users are overlooked. So I wanted to add to those efforts of really understanding users—specifically warfighters—and their experience.
CWX: Would you tell us about your first hints of interest in UX design?
CP: A little bit after the pandemic started, I became a preschool teacher. As a preschool teacher, I had a little boy whose name was Colton, who had Down Syndrome. We would give him his tablet at the end of the day to play with, and there were moments when I observed him getting really frustrated with his tablet because the UI was just not accessible to him. He had trouble getting the tablet to do what he wanted it to do. Buttons were too small, or they just didn’t respond well.
My heart was wrung inside of me because I felt he didn’t need this frustration! If only the technology were to adapt to his needs, that’s the way it should be. That’s when I first started thinking about user experience, specifically when it comes to accessibility. That’s when that little spark started within me and grew more and more.
CWx: CWx: Were you already familiar with the concept of user experience?
CP: Not very much, actually. Around that time, a few of my friends were pursuing a certification through different online programs, so I was aware of the term but didn’t realize the extent or the depth of it.
I studied communication during my undergrad and then, shortly after, pursued a certificate for UX Design. Now I am working here in Colorado, for CyberWorx!
A Creative’s Journey to the U.S.