Everything that surrounds us was designed by someone and so many of us don’t even think about it. It is impossible to escape the reach of a designer’s vision and motives, especially that of the people who design for usability. As an Interaction Design major, the profound impact of the invisible work we do inspires me greatly.
From an early age, I was interested in drawing and creative hobbies, which helped me gain a strong fine arts background. As I grew older and learned of new art technologies and design fields, I was drawn to graphic design and the implications it would have on communication. In high school, I enjoyed designing posters, infographics, logos, and brand aesthetics, so most of my early work experience speaks to these skills and projects. As I discovered more of the design world, interaction design presented itself as a perfect blend of design and psychology, and this is how it ultimately won me over. I found that the problem-solving aspect was missing from a lot of my previous design work, and so the discipline of usability and user experience design illuminated to me the real-world applications of my creative skills.
When creating a new design project, I’ll start by understanding the problem and creating a “How Might We” statement to guide the direction I take the work in. For most projects, I’ll do some secondary research to get inspired and if possible, primary research through recruiting participants for interviews. This helps me grasp the depth of the issue and reveals areas of opportunity to design for. Next, I’ll create a persona and list or sketch out ideas in an attempt to exhaust all my options. It’s important for a designer to recognize their first idea will never be their best, which is why I try to spend a good amount of time brainstorming and iterating. I will then focus my concepts and start prototyping. Once I have a testable prototype, I’ll recruit participants to go through a usability test and share what their thoughts on it are and revise my design based on that feedback. Lastly, I will finalize the visual style and functionality of the design, and this is generally the process I follow in my work.
My interaction design work is inspired by all sorts of things, ranging from phenomenon in nature to animated stories to first-time-user-experiences in video games. I believe in using my skills to leverage positive change in larger systems, especially in regards to the climate crisis, women’s empowerment, and accessibility in tech. Great design not only discretely solves a problem but creates a lasting connection with users, and this is exactly what I strive to do in my work.