The User Experience and User Interface Design teams at Volkswagen’s Smart.Production:Lab optimise production processes, designing simple and intuitive software interfaces.
Nadja Bogdanova had studied math and computer science since her early school days in Russia. When she moved to Germany at the age of 16 she realized she was better than most of her classmates at the two subjects, which gave her a different perspective on them. “When I understood how good I was at them, I began to enjoy them more and more and decided to focus on studying digital media,” she says. “I also noticed that there were very few women in the computer science courses”.
Thesis at Volkswagen
For her master’s thesis, Nadja wanted to program software that tested whether design specifications had been met. However, her search for a supervisor was not easy. “You can’t do that!” was the response of one potential tutor.
But Nadja didn’t give up. After finding a professor for her thesis, she turned to Volkswagen to support her research work. As it happened, the assessment of the professor who she had asked for help turned out to be completely off the mark - Nadja completed her studies with flying colors.
Nadja Bogdanova has been working in Volkswagen’s Smart.Production:Lab since early 2019. She is responsible for conceiving and designing the interface between users and software functions - also known as “user experience” and “user interface design” in technical jargon.
“Our users are production planners and employees in the factory. They use different software to optimize the processes in the production of automobiles”, explains Nadja. “In logistics, for example, we help colleagues to check whether everything has been packed correctly, which makes their work a lot easier. One specific case of how we have helped is in providing a dedicated screen for a goods cart. The cart has four spaces for four items: when one of the items is removed, the screen automatically alerts the appropriate team member that something is missing”.
“My job is all about simplifying technology; people should not be concerned or frightened about technology taking over their work because we also try to ensure no one is overwhelmed by too many innovations”, says Nadja, who has also worked on the development of software that automatically pixelates people in videos to protect their privacy. “The most important part of this job is to understand the needs and requirements of two different sides – both the users and the developers”.
An innovative approach
“When we design an user interface, it’s not just a matter of making it look appealing”, she continues. “It’s also about making it easy and intuitive to use”. Nadja believes that Volkswagen offers the ideal environment for this kind of work. “We can contribute our ideas and try out new things. Our team is a colorful mix and digitalisation is given a high priority in the company, which facilitates interaction with other IT departments and promotes innovation. Here at Volkswagen we programme things that no one has ever programmed before”, says Nadja, before emphasising the personal opportunity.
“In computer science, you have to keep up with the latest developments and learn new things, because digitalisation changes everything. And I’m right in the middle of it. That’s what makes my work so exciting”.
Source: Volkswagen AG