October 12, 2012 - no comments. Posted by in CMU IxD.

Dan Moyer’s Napkin Sketch Workbook

I’m taking a class this semester called Information + Interaction + Perception. It’s all about how to design information in a way that people will understand it and get your point. One of the readings we just did recently really resonated with me, mainly because it talks about and formalizes things I already love to do, which is to visualize information. As you can see from my notes, I try to “sketch note” a lot of the notes I take for class, as a way to remember the information better (and admittedly, to keep myself up and doing something on days when I’m tired). I won’t claim to be one of those fantastic people who can do sketch notes really well though. Anyway, this reading we completed was from Dan Moyer’s book “Napkin Sketch Workbook”. The chapter we read deals with how to organize information visually using classic structures such as concept maps (a.k.a. web of connections), charts, graphs, hierarchies, etc. What was interesting for me was that I feel like I’ve utilized quite a bit of these structures already, but to read about it and have a formal name for them is helpful for understanding my own process.

Notes below! Some of it is a bit incomplete… I must have gotten distracted during class.


August 23, 2012 - no comments. Posted by in CMU IxD.

Papercake: Winner of “Best Product Concept” (A Preview)

Here is a small preview of a project that I’ve been working on the past six months, called Papercake. This project was the primary project we completed for the course Grad Studio II, with team members Somya Jampala, Loretta Neal, and Neo Zhe Han. This class is (usually) sponsored every year by a corporate sponsor, and this year it was Microsoft and Motorola. They provided the design brief and liaisons to provide us with feedback on our work, and we picked a topic and identified a problem that we felt was fitting for the design brief. This year, it was “Information in My World”.

During the course of the semester, we gave update presentations and at our final presentation, one team was selected to go represent Carnegie Mellon University at Microsoft’s annual Design Expo in Redmond, WA. Our team was selected, and off we were in mid-July to Washington to partake in this incredible opportunity to get feedback on our concept from different kinds of people (industry professionals, other design students, faculty). At the Expo, we gave a preliminary presentation, were provided with critique, and given about 48 hours to make revisions to our presentation before our formal presentation at the Design Expo. Various other schools participated such as Royal College of Art (United Kingdom), Umeå Institute of Design (Sweden), and Tsinghua University (China), so it was a pretty international delegation. Guest critics at the formal presentation included Bill Buxton of Microsoft Research.

After our presentation, the Design Expo organizers handed out awards, and I’m happy to share that Papercake won “Best Product Concept”! This was validated many times during the course of the Expo too by people who approached us and asked us where they could access the site or that we should definitely turn it into a startup!

So… What’s Papercake?

In brief, Papercake is basically a cloud important personal document storage service with step-by-step “action plans” that help you get stuff done in life like buying a house or renewing your passport. The concept puts these two ideas together for example by showing you what documents you have and which you are missing when buying a home, so it seems less overwhelming. However, we want to stress that at its core, Papercake is not a cloud-storage service, but a service that aims to help you get to where you want to go in life.

Check out the videosketch to learn more (highly encouraged to watch it on Vimeo for the HD experience), or our presentation for the Expo. I’ll be creating a more full-fledged post about this project at the beginning of the semester, so stay tuned. But for now, I wanted to share our recent success at Microsoft!

April 11, 2012 - no comments. Posted by in CMU IxD.

Lecture: Chris Pacione on Innovation

Chris Pacione, the director of the LUMA Institute, came to our seminar class last Monday to talk about innovation. Yes, the “i” word that everybody seems to be talking about nowadays. According to Chris, everybody in business seems to know they need it–they may even have Chief Innovation Officers (88% of them, in fact), but out of that 88%, 81% of them don’t know how to do it (innovate, that is). Chris goes on to say that it’s increasingly important to know how to innovate in order to stay competitive, which is why his company, LUMA offers classes and workshops that aim to teach human-centered design to individuals and organizations.

I quite enjoyed this talk, because I’m in the midst of writing and refining my thesis proposal on creativity. Perhaps it’s good timing that I’m doing this thesis now just as designers are in high demand in the tech industry, because ever since college I’d wanted to deeply investigate the topic of creativity, looking at how people create and collaborate on a daily basis. I’ll post excerpts from my thesis proposal once I get it approved and finalized. First draft’s in and it’s quite exciting getting to see it all unfold next year…

Notes from Chris’ talk below:


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