Please tell us about yourself

Meet Samarth Bahuguna, a senior user experience designer at IXL! You’ll be over the moon with Samarth, who shared with us what it takes to be a user experience designer at IXL, what his superhero power would be, how he’d survive a trip to outer space, and more. He currently based in San Francisco, California, but grew up in New Delhi, India.

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What did you do prior to coming to IXL?

Before joining IXL, I was completing my master’s in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to that, I worked briefly as a developer in India and did my undergrad in electronics.

What do you do at IXL? Give us a taste of what a typical day at work is like for you.

My team works on the visual and interaction design for all the educational content on IXL. We make sure that content is intuitive and usable for the target age group and that IXL is an accessible and delightful experience for all students. For example, I helped design parts of this social studies skill, where students can zoom into and select small countries on an interactive map. Over the past year, my team has been heavily focused on creating interactive math problems for lower grades.

What skills/qualities does it take to do your job?

A couple of things come to mind; the first is good design intuition. You should recognize what qualifies as good design and know what factors to think about when designing for different subjects or age groups. The second is strong communication skills. Because our team works closely with curriculum designers and engineers, there are lots of meetings, brainstorms, and design critiques, so it’s important to communicate effectively with all teams involved.

Why did you join IXL?

I’m really interested in interaction design and that’s a big part of being a user experience designer at IXL. The role aligned perfectly with my interests and I also wanted to work in the education space. It’s both fun and rewarding!

What do you like about working at IXL?

I like working in education and knowing that IXL is making an impact on so many students around the world. My role has allowed me to take on diverse projects that have helped expand my design skills and knowledge. Lastly, I’m part of a relatively small and highly collaborative team and I enjoy working with them.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I really enjoy science fiction, films, and comics. I listen to a lot of film scores and have recently been playing them on the keyboard. Traveling is another frequent hobby—New York is always fun and Carmel was one of my favorite weekend trips!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I went through the usual astronaut phase, but that didn’t stick for long. I was also fascinated by dinosaurs and loved Jurassic Park, so I remember wanting to do something related to dinosaur research.

What’s your favorite movie?

This is hard! I can narrow it down to genres—sci-fi and horror. Some recent films I’ve really enjoyed are Blade Runner 2049 and Dunkirk.