User Experience (UX) Research Assistant, Google
Dr Jess Tsimeris spent her childhood playing computer games and as a teenager saved the money she earnt at her part-time job to buy computer parts. With an inquisitive mind and keen to solve problems, Jess would then use the parts to build the best computer she could. Her passion for computer science didn’t stop there though.
Jess studied a Bachelor of Computer Science at the University of South Australia and in 2012 started a PhD in Computer Science at ANU with Professor Tom Gedeon supervising. In 2015 she completed her thesis on soft shape-changing touch surfaces at The Australian National University.
“I made prototypes and ran user experiments to understand how people interacted with these new touch screens and to see how well they could do certain tasks.”
Truly demonstrating the diverse application of computing technologies, Jess's research may help doctors learn how to identify cancer.
“After running some experiments and interviews with medical professionals and others, my research became focused on palpation training. Participants of my studies stated that the surface they were interacting with felt like skin.
“We can simulate lumps in the surface so we can do palpation training - generating lumps and having people identify different shapes and sizes by feeling with their hands.”
Jess worked at Liquid Instruments for six months after she submitted her thesis. She then joined her partner in the US where she volunteered with Women Who Code in Seattle and Code for the Community.
Not long after she secured her dream job at Google in Sydney and since January 2016 she has been working as a User Experience (UX) Research Assistant on Google Maps.
Jess says that studying at ANU gave her the skills and knowledge that helped her secure a job with Google, something that many students dream of.
“One of the things I loved about ANU were the opportunities to be involved in different groups and associations. I was on the Computer Science Students Association Committee and I would run big events to involve computer science and engineering students in the university culture.
“I’m quite a shy and introverted person so it made me come out of my shell and learn communication and teamwork skills that are really benefiting me now.
“Google is a fast-paced environment which requires you to be really good at communicating and getting your point across succinctly. These skills can be developed, but having a rich social life at ANU, being involved in clubs and working in team environments has differentiated me from graduates of other universities.”
In her role at Google Jess spends her time working alongside Product Managers and Engineers testing new features for Google Maps, running user experiments and researching current and future trends to determine the state of the market. Some of her Google colleagues are also alumni from the University.
In her spare time Jess still volunteers for Code For Community, an organisation that was set up by a group of people from technology companies who provide technology solutions for other not for profit organisations.
“I help design systems then I implement them. I’m currently working on a technology system for an organisation that supports people with a mental illness. The system will allow new volunteers to sign up on a website and keep a database of all the volunteers. It will allow the organisation to easily communicate with their volunteers."