Research Software Engineering with UX: A Holistic Approach for Inclusive Innovation

Oct. 20, 2023

The Data Science Institute highlights Mariah Wall who is a User Experience designer with CyVerse. With growing interest from research software engineers and other stakeholders across the University of Arizona campus, the Data Science Institute (DSI) is laying the groundwork for a dedicated UArizona RSE Group. Wall is deeply passionate about the idea of weaving UX seamlessly into Research Software Engineering (RSE) groups, thereby creating a more holistic software development approach which yields substantial advantages. 

UX and Research Software Engineering on blue background

Wall acknowledges that UX designers use research, interviews and testing to find what users truly need, how they interact with software, and what can make their experience better. She says, “By bringing this knowledge into the world of RSE, we can craft software that not only caters to the intricate demands of researchers but also makes it a breeze for people with various skill levels to use.” This is crucial because not everyone feels at ease with command lines, and having engaging and user-friendly interfaces can level the playing field for data analysis.

According to Wall, RSE is more than just coding; it's about bringing various disciplines together. Collaborating with UX professionals helps RSE teams bridge the gap between developers and researchers from different domains. This partnership results in software that seamlessly integrates with the diverse needs and perspectives of a multidisciplinary research environment.

Moreover, having multidisciplinary RSE groups in place isn't just about attracting the best talent and funding; it's a testament to the university's commitment to innovation. By embracing more disciplines in RSE such as UX design, UArizona positions itself as a central hub for pioneering and inclusive research.

If you are interested in learning more on how to incorporate UX into research software engineering or want to be part of the RSEs Group, reach out to us by emailing

Tina L. Johnson
Mariah Wall