Amaya Becvar Weddle, Ph.D.
Humane Technology Artisan

Contact Info 

 email:            phone:  (858)344-6879           My Blog:  The Humane Technology Artisan

About Me:

  • Possesses strong formal academic research background as well as years of hands-on corporate experience in user experience.
  • Expert in agile user experience research methods.
  • Strong team leader and excellent communication skills.
  • Capacity to work in many diverse roles, as both a UX researcher and interaction designer.


  • University of California, San Diego. La Jolla, CA.

        Ph.D. in Cognitive Science, June, 2008, (GPA - 3.96)
        Dissertation:  An Ethnographic Investigation of the Evolving Dynamics of a Learning Ecology
        Co-advisors:  Dr. James Hollan and Dr. Edwin Hutchins

  • University of California, San Diego.  La Jolla, CA.

        M.S. in Biochemistry, 2002, (GPA - 3.90)

  • Amherst College. Amherst, MA.
                  B.A. in Chemistry, magna cum laude, 1997, (GPA - 3.70)

Work Experience

  • Senior User Experience Researcher, Cisco Systems, Milpitas, CA.  2010-present
Pioneered and established agile user research methods as a key contributor to the user experience team to define the design of the enterprise collaboration and social networking product, Quad.  Led ethnographic and contextual research efforts to better understand the collaboration and social networking needs of businesspeople as they accomplish their work.  Organized the flagship Quad customer advisory panel that allows us to draw on research participants who are internal and external customers. Ran unmoderated research studies to help benchmark and track the usability of Quad as it moves through development releases.
  • Usability Manager, BitDefender, Mountain View, CA.  2009-2010
Directed a team of designers and researchers who successfully delivered user interfaces for multiple product releases of BitDefender's award-winning security product lines.  Crafted research plans and moderated usability tests, contextual interviews, ethnographic inquiries, and focus groups. Performed heuristic reviews of UIs for consumer and business products, and the website, and copyedited all UI text.  Generated clear design specifications, wireframes, and mockups of GUIs for BitDefender's consumer, enterprise and mobile products, and successfully delivered clean, simple interfaces.  Created and analyzed results of web-based usability surveys, customer insights surveys, and website analytics data.  Conducted usability tests internationally - in France, UK, Germany, Spain, and Romania.  Partnered with cross-functional, internationally distributed teams comprised of product managers, marketing, and development.
  • Lead Usability Researcher, theUEgroup, San Jose, CA.  2008-2009
Delivered top results on multiple usability research projects, delighting clients such as McAfee, Boston Scientific, Allergan, and SK Telecomm.  Composed research plans for focus groups, usability tests, and contextual interviews, and performed all research and analysis.  Architected device designs, educational videos, and GUIs, and partnered with outside contractors to deliver 3D prototypes and polished interfaces.  Wrote research reports and presented findings to clients and top executives.  Filmed and edited digital video highlights usability test sessions.  Headed teams of interns and research assistants to ensure project timelines and high-quality results were achieved.
  • Lecturer, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.  2007-2008
Taught university-level cognitive science course, The Cognitive Consequences of Technology.  Created innovative, timely course content, assignments, and assessment materials on usability and human-computer interaction.  Delivered engaging lectures and managed all aspects of the courses’ online experience.  Graded assignments and mentored students with individualized tutoring help on course material.  Managed and evaluated teaching assistants to ensure alignment with course goals.
Crafted and engineered top-quality LED and microcontroller wearables for innovative design company on a contract basis.  Delivered unique illuminated wearables to clients such as The Rockettes, Dancing with the Stars, and Carnival Cruise Lines.
  • Educational Technology Designer and Researcher,  Southwestern Community College, National City, CA.  2004-2006
Designed, implemented and managed a Web 2.0 collaborative video blogging system for nationally-ranked dental hygiene program.  Filmed onsite instructional material, edited and produced digital videos.  Created infographics and interactive educational materials.  Evaluated the positive educational impacts of technology using online surveys, faculty and staff interviews, contextual analysis, usability metrics, and website analytics.  Published findings in peer-reviewed journals and presented research results at international technology conferences.
  • Contract Website Designer, San Diego Dental Seminars, National City, CA  2006

Produced and managed a high-quality website for local seminar company using HTML, Flash, and JavaScript.

  • Vice-president, Inventor, and Shareholder, Becvar and Becvar, LLC, El Paso, Texas.  2004-present.

Entrepreneured biotechnology company to oversee the intellectual property (patents) from my award-winning science fair project.  Successful licensed this innovative methodology to Chromadex, Inc.  Continued partnership with Chromadex to ensure that the business needs of international markets were met.

  • User Experience Consultant, Semantic Research, Inc., San Diego, California. 2002-2003

Consulted on design and marketing strategies for semantic networking software.  Performed heuristic reviews and cognitive walk-throughs of SemNet software prototypes.  Provided direction and concepts for all science-related product lines.

  • Website Designer and Research Assistant, San Diego State University, San Diego, California.  1998-1999

Performed usability studies and educational assessments of semantic networking software, used in biology education programs at San Diego State University.  Used educational research to generate course curricula, infographics, and laboratory exercises for an internationally distributed biology education website.

  • Educational Outreach Instructor, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego, CA.  1997-1998
Designed mobile science exhibits that brought complex scientific concepts to life.  Presented top-quality educational programs to elementary schools in San Diego County on physics, optics, chemistry, and mathematical concepts.

Skills and Technology

UI/UX Design
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Photoshop
  • Acrobat
  • OmniGraffle
  • Visio
  • PowerPoint
  • SketchUp 
Usability Research
  • Digital recording equipment troubleshooting and management
  • iMovie
  • Quicktime Pro 
  • Flash movie maker
  • Video Blogging 
Research Methods

  • Contextual Interviewing
  • Contextual Design
  • Ethnography
  • Rapid Iterative Usability Testing
  • Focus Groups
  • Content Analysis
  • Survey Administration
  • Coding
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Excel
  • QuestionPro
  • SurveyMonkey
  • SPSS
-Project Management
  • GoToMeeting
  • Microsoft Project
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • SCM software, JIRA

Awards and Honors

  • Cal(IT)2 Graduate Research Fellowship sponsored by SPAWAR, Department of Naval Research, 2002-2006
  • Forris Jewett Moore Fellowship for Graduate Study, 2004
  • John Woodruff Simpson Fellowship for Graduate Study, 2003
  • John Woodruff Simpson Fellowship for Graduate Study, 2002
  • GAANN Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 1999-2002
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1997
  • Amherst College Class of 1956 Teaching Fellowship, 1997
  • International Science and Engineering Fair Grand Prize Winner, 1992

Publications and Patents

  • Becvar, L.A.  “Transparency and Technology Appropriation:  Social Impacts of a Video Blogging System for Clinical Instruction in Dental Hygiene.”  Proceedings of the ACM-GROUP 2007 Conference, Sanibel, FL, Nov 4-7.
  • Becvar, L.A. and Becvar, J.  (2007)  “Method and System for Creating Ink Art.”  U.S. Patent Application # 20,080,092,308.
  • Becvar, L.A., Hollan, J., Hutchins, E. (2007) "Representational Gestures as Cognitive Artifacts for Developing Theory in a Scientific Laboratory." Artifacts in Workplace Practice. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Becvar, J. and Becvar, L.A. (2006) “A System and Method for Creating Ink Art.” US Patent Pending.
  • Becvar, L.A., Hollan, J., Hutchins, E. (2005) "Hands as Molecules: Representational Gestures as Cognitive Artifacts for Developing Theory in a Scientific Laboratory." Semiotica. 156-1/4: 89-112.
  • Becvar, J. and Becvar, L.A. (2005) “Luminous Bacteria and Methods for the Isolation, Identification and Quantification of Toxicants, Continuation.” U.S. Pat. No. 6,673,563.
  • Becvar, L.A.  (2004)  “Conceptual Structure in Chemical Equations:  Embodied and Mathematical Metaphors.” Learning ad Technology Research Portal.
  • embodiedandmathmetaphors_Becvar2003.pdf
  • Becvar, L.A., Wood, M., Prieto, J.H., Melacini, G., Komives, E.A.  (2003)  “NMR Structures Reveal How Oxidation Inactivates Thrombomodulin.” Biochemistry. 42: 11932-11942. 
  • Becvar, L.A.  (2002)  “Developing Conceptual Metaphors for Understanding Molecular Models in a Freshman Chemistry Lab.”  Trends in Science Education Webzine.  14:42-48.
  • Becvar, J. and Becvar, L.A. (2002) “Kit for the Isolation, Identification and Quantitation of Toxicants.” U.S. Pat. No. 6,340,572.
  • Kovacic, P.A. and Becvar, L.A.  (2001) "Mode of Action of Anti-Infective Agents: Focus on Oxidative Stress and Electron Transfer." Current Opinion in Pharmaceutical Research. 3(2): 143-167.
  • Becvar, J. and Becvar, L.A. (2000) “Luminous Bacteria and Methods for the Isolation, Identification and Quantitation of Toxicants.” U.S. Pat. No. 6,017,722.