I am a UX Designer and multi-platform visual artist. Based in Burlington, VT.
My name is pronounced: Shoo-en Ma-ga-han
(Math + Philosophy) > NASA > Visual Effects > MFA > VR > UX
My interest in user-centered design goes back to the beginning of my career when I worked on the Web Technologies Team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. One of my roles at JPL was Implementation Lead for a suite of web-based applications used on the Cassini mission to Saturn. I functioned as the bridge between users and developers, representing user needs through all phases of product planning, design and implementation. It was a role I relished, as technology evangelist, information architect and people-person/problem-solver.
It was around this time that I also started to really get excited about the power in technology for creativity, connection, and for streamlining cumbersome tasks, all of which allows us to do, be and accomplish so much more.
Though I moved on to a career in Visual Effects, working on such films as Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Riddick, I always maintained a fascination with the tools and technology that facilitated creation, connection and storytelling. I remember from my studies in philosophy, the idea that our use of tools is possibly what separates humans from our animal counterparts, maybe even responsible for what we call ‘culture.’ Tools and technology fascinate me, but not in and of themselves. How they contribute to a richer human experience and serve the people who use them is something I came to realize I wanted to play a much greater role in.
While completing my MFA in Fine Art Media, I was working on a Virtual Reality art installation and felt a renewed excitement about developments in emerging technology. This excitement, as well as a preoccupation with inherent problems and pain points, rekindled my interest in tools and their potential. It was at this time I made the decision to leverage my breadth of experience, and shift my career trajectory once again, in the direction of Product and User Experience Design.