About me

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What got me into human-centered design?

I was studying industrial design at Emily Carr University when at the beginning of each studio course, the instructors often asked us to brainstorm what we wanted to design.

I kept doing secondary and tertiary research but at some point I would hit a blocker. Without talking to people, it was hard for me to continue working on a project because there was no criteria to work towards or measure against.

Talking to people gave me clarity and direction. From then on, it was clear to me that a big part of what makes a design great is how well you understand your users. There’s really no other way around it.

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What am I really good at?

I would say my top skills are to:

  • Meet people where they are
  • Get to the root of the problem
  • Identify purpose
  • Look at things holistically
  • Organize complex ideas into simple and digestible formats
  • Gather teams together and solve problems
  • Mentor others to do their best work
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Which UX activities do I really like to do?

I like all aspects of UX but if I had to really narrow down, I really like to:

  • Moderate or observe user research sessions
  • Analyze findings
  • Identify trends and patterns
  • Prototype concepts
  • Work with people of diverse skills to solve problems together
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What differentiates me from other designers?

My background is quite unusual. I worked in startup companies and then shifted to public sector. Both sectors are drastically different in terms of business model and culture, but the common thread here is that I enjoy working on projects for social good and well being.

I believe that there are many ways to solve a problem and I tackle whichever way is best. Depending on the user need and vision, sometimes it requires a multi-level approach and sometimes it’s a simple process.

My portfolio reflects that philosophy in some ways. I am not a believer in following processes if they do not serve a higher purpose. The process should always be about learning and improving.

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On which projects did I bring the most value?

I bring value to all projects I work on in different ways as outlined in my work.

I do my best work in environments where my expertise is trusted and I have autonomy to explore.

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From which projects did I learn the most?

Every project is a learning experience for me in some way, shape or form. However, if I had to pick one project with the steepest learning curve, I would say Snug Vest. It was a startup with tight budgets so going through that experience taught me how to be resourceful, pivot quickly with ongoing demands, and think outside the box.

Photograph by Lily Dai.