MSc (Interactive Arts and Technology), 2009
Some people plant flowers or paint old fences to make the world a prettier place. Roham Sheikholeslami uses html and vector graphics.
Sheikholeslami is a Senior User Experience Designer at Amazon and CEO of Muprime Technology. He completed a Master's Degree in Interactive Arts and Technology at SFU in 2009.
Sheikholeslami designs digital experiences that focus on enhancing users' comfort, accessibility and effectiveness.
“We are bombarded with technologies everyday. But, if those technologies are not beautiful then we can’t enjoy them, and in turn, we won’t connect with and use them properly,” says Sheikholeslami.
In 2011, Sheikholeslami gained international recognition for one of his attempts to beautify the digital world when he turned his attention to QR codes.
“QR codes were just starting to spread. However, the codes themselves were ugly. At Muprime, we started creating QRs that weren’t so generic and reflected the story of the information it was connecting too. We wanted to make them more human,” he says.
His company also developed a web tool and mobile app to allow users to automatically generate more attractive codes. Sheikholeslami was invited to accompany the Minister of International Trade and Minster of State on a five-day trade mission to China and Japan to showcase them.
Sheikholeslami is now continuing to paint the world with his pixel paintbrush in the context of Amazon’s marketplace.
“I create systems to enhance seller’s experience by making the environment more elegant and easy to use. It’s so inspiring when I think that something as simple as redesigning a button will impact millions of people within seconds,” he says.
Sheikholeslami‘s unique ability to re-fashion the digital world is no doubt related to his first career as an architect. Before attending SFU’s School of Interactive Art and Technology, he spent eight years designing residential and commercial buildings in Iran before succumbing to his fascination for information technology.
“I couldn’t even explain what I was going to study in Canada to people. My parents thought I was going to be a programmer and they were confused why I would go into computer science after already studying architecture. Even I wasn’t sure about the transition,” he says.
The jump paid off. Sheikholeslami explains that his graduate degree experience was essential to where he is now.
“In some disciplines you go deep in one area, but in today’s world you need to be able to know about many different things so you can connect the dots. That ability is what the School of Interactive Arts and Technology gave me—and something I use everyday,” he says.
- Written by Jackie Amsden and the Offices of Graduate Studies & Postdoctoral Fellows
Published in 2015