the quick overview
I am a user experience designer with a background in positive youth development, civic activism, and ethnographic research. I care about discovering and designing meaningful, multimodal experiences that inspire critical thought and action. I facilitate design processes -- including workshops, trainings, and design sprints -- that center on better understanding people's goals and needs, clarifying root causes of challenges, and collaboratively (re)imagining approaches to addressing the challenges.
What I do
Some of the ways I enjoy collaborating include:
- user research
- strategy development
- interaction design
- wireframing and prototyping
- usability testing
- logo and branding design
- user interface design
- responsive web design
- workshops and trainings on design thinking and human centered design
Why I design
I design because I'm passionate about leveraging human-centered design to not only solve complex problems, but to work towards dismantling institutional oppression. I am specifically drawn to user experience design because it invites us to dig into problems we face, ask critical questions, dream wildly about possibilities we can build together, and to make those dreams happen. I design because it's a collective learning process, where every person involved has insight and skill to offer. I design because design processes never end; design is grounded in the continuous improvement, iteration, and evolution of ideas and experiences.
principles, values, and beliefs
Whether I'm working on digital products or co-designing curricula for youth leadership programs, I am guided by a firm belief in cooperative work, collective learning, relationship-building, creating and sustaining multiple access points, and community-driven action. I am grounded in the non-negotiable values of challenging one's assumptions, embracing the constantly evolving and fluid nature of [design] work, and leaving one's ego at the door. I also believe that designers are most effective when we approach our work with humility, curiosity, and patient urgency.
I believe that good design centers and includes those whom are historically and systemically excluded in decision-making and problem-solving processes. I believe that as designers, we have an obligation to check and challenge the privileges we bring to design spaces and to leverage our privileges to transform power dynamics. I believe in participatory design -- designing with people, not for people -- and that process is equally important, if not more important, than the outcome.
Some additional guiding principles and beliefs, in and out of design, include the following:
- we are human beings, not human doings.*
- life is a design thinking process. discovery, learning, and iteration never stop.
- discomfort is an opportunity for growth (growing pains are good!)
- relationships make us human. relationships are golden.
- always ask questions. question everything.
- what we pay attention to grows.**
- it's always possible to make time for what matters to oneself.
- give before taking.
- do the least harm and waste as little as possible.
- acknowledge that there are things one knows one doesn't know, and that there are things one doesn't know that one doesn't know.
* I first saw this in an issue of Cheer the Eff Up, a zine by by Jonas, but it's hard to know who originally generated this exact wording.
** This is a principle that adrienne maree brown shares in Emergent Strategy. Great book. Check it out!
Why all the flowers?
Flowers, to me, represent meaningful experiences through both form and function. Flowers are key to the health of our ecosystem, and not only serve an aesthetic purpose, but are useful for celebrating, restoring, pollinating, feeding, healing, and more. I use flowers to represent utilitarianism, versatility, balance, and persistence.
(Bonus fun facts: one of the kanji characters in my name is 花, for flower, and I've got a few flowers inked on my arm.)
Other things I care about
I consider myself a facilitator and curator of ideas, mixed media artist, queer Asian American Pacific Islander activist, fierce believer in the transformative power of youth voice, and sticky note addict. I also like to grow, cook, and eat vegetables, climb real and fake rocks, screenprint, and make zines about in/visible identities.