About


I am Sarah Akhavan Kazemzadeh (سارا اخوان کاظم‌زاده), currently a master's student at PiET lab at York University. I work on different projects designing more inclusive accessible technologies focusing more on technologies for people with disabilities.

I recieved my bachelor's degree from Amirkabir University of Technology (aka Tehran Polytechnic) while working on several projects designing User Experience and Interface of mobile apps and websites.

I am interested in Usability Evaluation, User Research, User Experience Design, Human Centered Design, Accessible Design, Internationalization, and Inclusive Design.



Email: sarahak at cse dot yorku dot ca


Contact


If you want to know more about me, feel free to send me an email or call me :)

Email: sarah dot 9473 at gmail dot com

Tel: +1 647 468 8900



I'm also active on instagram.


CV


Please download the pdf version from here.


Research Interests

Human Computer Interaction, Human Centered Design, User Research Analysis, Inclusive Design, Accessibility and Assistive Technologies Cross Cultural Human-Computer Interaction Design, Evaluation of User Interfaces, Interaction Design,


Education

  • York University
    M.Sc. in Computer Science
  • Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic)
    B.Sc. in Computer Engineering
  • Farzanegan High School, NODET (National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents)
    High School Diploma in Mathematics and Physics

Experience

  • Adanic Software Company
    UI/UX Designer & Frontend Developer
    • User interface and experience enhancement of the ”Keylead” android application.
    • Redesigned and implemented several web pages of the web application of KeyLead and related bank services.
    • Practiced scrum process model in a real world experience.

  • Torob Online Markets Search Engine
    UI/UX designer
    • Got conversant with e-commerce websites trends.
    • Learned how to work with google analytics and how to analyze user behaviors.
    • Redesigning the user interface of the android application of Torob according to Material Design Guidelines.
    • Redesigned the navigation and the way to present the categories on the website.
    • Recategorized the products on the website for easier access of the customers.

  • Nivad Cloud
    Frontend Developer/ Django Developer
    • A startup located in Sharif Accelerator in Sharif University of Technology.
    • Worked as a django developer, frontend developer,and a designer,focusing on the front-end part.
    • Got familiar with lean start up approach.

Notable Academic Projects

  • Practices in Enabling Technologies (PiET) Lab

    SmART Toolbox Stufy: Intake
    • Designed an evaluation framework to measure the usability of the SmART Toolbox.
    • Designed and directed Think Aloud Sessions.

    Treasure Box Braille
    • Worked on the design of a more accessible User Interface for people with visual impairments.


  • Foundation of Data Mining

    Titanic: Machine Learning From Disaster
    • Implemented in both Python and R.
    • A prediction of the survival or the death of a given passenger based on a set of variables describing them such as their age, sex or passenger class on the boat.
    • Practiced dimensionality reduction and feature scaling to make the given dataset more of use.
    • Used and compared the RandomForests, GradientBoosting, NaiveBays, and Neural Network Models.
    • Scored 0.80382 on the Titanic Challenge on Kaggle.

    Fraud Detection
    • Implemented in Python using Pandas and SKlearn.
    • Used oversampling techniques to replicate the minority class of fraud data in the imbalanced original dataset.
    • Used and compared the Logistic Regression, Random Forests, Neural Network, and Decision Tree Models.

Teaching Experiences

  • Teaching Assistant, Lassonde School of Engineering, York University
    Human Computer Interaction
    - Teaching Assistant to Professor Melanie Baljko
  • Teaching Assistant, Lassonde School of Engineering, York University
    User Interfaces
    - Teaching Assistant to Professor Andriy Pavlovych
  • Teaching Assistant, Lassonde School of Engineering, York University
    User Interfaces
    - Teaching Assistant to Professor Melanie Baljko
  • Teaching Assistant, Amirkabir University of Technology
    Principles of Computer Programming (C/C++)
    - Teaching Assistant to Professor Nazerfard
  • Teaching Assistant, Amirkabir University of Technology
    Principles of Computer Programming (C/C++)
    - Teaching Assistant to Professor Shiri

Technical Skills

  • Design and Prototyping
    Sketch, Adobe Illustrator, InvisionApp, Adobe Comp

  • Digital Painting and Photo Editing
    Adobe Photoshop, Gimp, Tayasui Sketches Pro, Adobe Lightroom

  • Programming and Scripting Languages
    Python, C, C++, Java, AVR Assembly, 8086 Assembly, Shell Scripting

  • Web Development
    Django with Python, JQuery, HTML, CSS, XML, AJAX, Pug

  • Database Management Systems
    MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, SQLite

  • Data Mining and Visualization
    WEKA, Rapidminer, Scikit-Learn, Pandas, Matplotlib, Numpy

  • Miscellaneous
    PyCharm, Xcode, Visual Studio, Eclipse, Proteus, Modelsim, Atmel Studio
    Linux (Ubuntu, SUSE), MacOS, Microsoft Windows
    VHDL, Verilog
    LaTeX

Language Skills

  • English
    TOEFL iBT Score: 105/120
    Reading: 26/30. Listening: 30/30, Speaking: 24/30, Writing: 25/30
  • Persian
    Native

Honors and Awards

  • 2nd Place, local ACM contest of Amirkabir university of technology 2014 among Amirkabir teams.
  • 1st Place, regional ACM contest of Sharif university of technology 2014 among All girls teams.
  • 5th Place, local ACM contest of Amirkabir university of technology 2013 among Amirkabir teams.
  • 1st place, regional ACM contest of Sharif university of technology 2013 among All girls teams.
  • Ranked top 0.006, Nationwide University Enterance Exam (Among All Students in Mathematics and Physics (approximately 230,000) )
  • 3rd Award, Young Researchers in Mathematics Convention held in Mashhad, Iran (Pigeonhole Principle Section)
  • 1st Award, Biology Competition (Farzanegan Junior Highschool of Mashhad)

Hobbies

Drawing, Digital Painting, Swimming, Squash, Reading Novels, Knitting, Cooking


Torob


Torob is an e-commerce search engine which enables the customers to search for a specific product among the iranian e-commerce websites registered on it such as DigiKala. It can also compare products from different stores and suggest you the ones with lower price.

Designing for an e-commerce application required a detailed research about the e-commerce websites, other competitors in the business and the most important one, what users need and want from an e-commerce search engine.

Thus, searching about the user segments and the market in order to find out about the user needs was the first step. By conducting several user tests with the running application of Torob at that time, I found the main pain points and flaws in the application flows and navigation. For instance, users had a great difficulty finding a specific product or category of products through the main categories navigation. By analyzing the google analytics data and the user behavior, and by reviewing the Baymard's research results, I designed the new navigation and recategorized the list of products for the new application of Torob.

In order to make the navigation easier in the application, we decided to use bottom navigation as the main navigation of the application. Using the wireframes and doing iterative user tests, we came up with the best design for the navigation and user flow in the application.

We also found out that users have difficulties searching in the application. Therefore, we changed the process of search by suggesting products when typing in the query, showed the history of previous searches when visiting the search view and made the search option more visible by the means of putting search in the main bottom navigation bar.


The "Search for Product" page, showing search history first entered the page,
and showing suggestions and autocomplete while typing the search query.


It is obvious that design is never perfect. It just gets better through iterative steps of user tests and redesigning.

KeyLead


KeyLead is a banking application designed specially for Ayandeh Bank in Iran. This application was first designed to meet the needs of accountants working with official accounts to make the money transfer easier. However, as the customer segment grew over the time, it got more popular among this bank's other customers. Thus, the application had to change to fit the new customer segment.

By conducting a user test on the old KeyLead application on the users who were the new targets of the application, we found out the pain points in the application and redesigned KeyLead by an iterative process of sketching wireframes, doing user research, observing other banking applicaitons. designing new user flows and interfaces, and testing the designs on small groups of users.

With the help of InvisionApp, we tested the interactive design of the application on users and by recieving feedbacks, we are moving forward to a new user centered design.


The "Transaction Requests" and "Account Balance" page.
You can view the full prototype here at invisionapp.


Keeping in mind the application is being designed to be used by the Iranian users, the design should be carefully customised to the rtl language. It is wrong to make every element in the design the opposite direction it had on the guidelines or similar English applications, as it may be something all people around the world agree on it, for example most of the people are right handed and it is easier to hold the cellphone with the right hand. So in these cases, we had to be careful about the design and what should be rtl or not. Also, most of the users are used to using applications like Facebook or Twitter. Hence, mirroring every element in the design may not be a great choice, as it is against what people get used to when working with other applications.