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Berkeley Lab’s STRUDEL Project Brings UX/UI Methods to Scientific Software Design

New Design System for Science to be Focus of Upcoming Webinars, Hackathon

February 16, 2024

By Kathy Kincade

An emerging open-science project at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is designed to enhance the development of user-centric software for scientific applications. This project is working to help software teams learn about a new user experience/user interface (UX/UI) design tool that addresses the challenges of creating scientific software that puts the user experience at the forefront. 

Dubbed “STRUDEL” (Scientific sofTware Research for User experience, Design, Engagement and Learning), the project is the brainchild of the Berkeley Lab Scientific Data Division’s User Experience team. With funding from the Arthur P. Sloan Foundation and  support from the Berkeley Lab Foundation , the STRUDEL collaboration has developed a design and planning framework – the STRUDEL Design System – and will introduce the system and the concepts behind it at the team’s first webinar, “The Journey to STRUDEL: How We Came to Embrace User Experience in Scientific Ecosystems,” on Feb. 21.

User experience is often an afterthought in scientific software that impacts usability, accessibility, design, and functionality of products. But the UX community for scientific software is growing and has begun addressing these challenges with new tools such as the STRUDEL Design System, which provides guidelines for designing and implementing user interfaces for scientific software using reusable components and patterns.

Scientific software is really hard and is very different from commercial software. In the scientific community, people have different and multiple roles in the projects and often resources are limited for software development,” said Lavanya Ramakrishnan, Scientific Data Division Deputy for Science and a driving force behind the creation and development of STRUDEL. “What STRUDEL tries to do is lower the cost of participation in developing tools that will help us build sustainable, reliable, and usable software for scientific applications.” 

Ramakrishnan will lead the Feb. 21 webinar, where she will discuss STRUDEL’s vision and the importance of adopting UX methods into scientific software development. The event will take place 9–10 a.m. Pacific time; for more information and to register, go to 

A related webinar, “How to Build a Science UI: Getting Started with the STRUDEL Design System,” will take place on March 8, 11 a.m.12 p.m. Pacific time; for more information and to register, go to

Also in March, STRUDEL will hold an all-day hackathon at Berkeley Lab, where participants will have the opportunity to prototype a new UI using the Design System while receiving expert support from the STRUDEL team. This event will take place on March 19; space is limited, so interested attendees are urged to register by March 11 at

About Berkeley Lab

Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 16 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit