Status of UX at the European Bioinformatics Institute

I’ve just realised that I never blogged about the article on user experience that was featured in EMBL’s newsletter last year.  The piece was actually published in the October 2013 issue of EMBL&cetera, but it is still available online.

Oct 2013, EMBL&cetera newsletter
Article about UX at the EBI featured in in the EMBL&cetera newsletter, Oct 2013 issue

Some more background info from me…

The first explicit role in user experience at the EBI was the position I took up at the end of 2009.  Since then (without blowing our own trumpets too hard) I think that the work of Francis Rowland (who also joined late 2009), Sangya Pundir (who joined in 2011) and myself, has meant that UX design has become ‘in demand’ at the EBI.  Service teams now recognise that UX offers them potential to produce user-centred interfaces to their data services, which in turn, offer improved opportunity for life science researchers to get their jobs done; potentially leading to important scientific discoveries of the future in fields such as genetics, protein research, drug discovery, and others.

Indeed, in recent months I have noticed that UX design is gaining credibility across the institute in very tangible ways: for example, I have seen multiple instances of UX design-related deliverables being explicitly mentioned in project propsals/project grants to funders.  This is a huge step forwards, because when budget is allocated up-front for UX work, we have an even better chance of getting useful stuff done, rather than having to do UX work as an ‘extra’/in-kind.  I hope this trend continues!

Useful links

Paper: “Bioinformatics meets user-centred design: a perspective (2012) PLoS Computational Biology 8(7)”

Web Development at EMBL-EBI

Listing of EMBL&cetera newsletters

EBI Interfaces Blog (for tips and info on UX Design in bioinformatics)



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