Research Statement

Three areas of research interests at the intersection of art and technology in new/future applications:

  • Understanding the Challenges of Designing and Developing Multi-Device Experiences for Video, Voice, AR, VR, and Emerging Technologies with accessibility standards
  • Understanding of Perception, Cognition, and Time Constants
  • Universal Human-Computer Interaction and Visualization

My background in arts and technology has always been about creating rich, engaging experiences that inform the user and provide a positive, pleasant interaction with technology. Adobe products were my gateway into the digital design world.

At first, it was the most effective way to promote my portfolio as an editorial illustrator and showcase my art and writing. Soon, I was teaching Art Appreciation and struggling with a required site used by the college for reporting and testing. The UX was so bad most could never access the required pages, including myself. This sparked my strong stance on universal UX standards and best practices. I went on to create a curriculum and content that was accessible to all my students and did not rely on a Publisher's website. This also increased engagement in the course and interests in art and technology with the students.

I have worked in the UX, UI, visual design, UX design, front-end design/development space in a wide variety of industries: bio-tech drug development and logistics, e-commerce, human resources applications, mobile development, developer tools, software development, fashion design, resort hospitality, marketing technology, non-profit institutions, and higher education. No matter the industry, the need for clear guidelines rooted in real UX research is necessary to improve the digital design and adoption of any product.

Understanding the Challenges of Designing and Developing Multi-Device Experiences

Support for multi-device interactions has fallen behind users' desire to leverage the diverse capabilities of the devices that surround them. I am interested in investigating the barriers to creating useful, usable, and delightful multi-device experiences. There are three key challenges: 1) the difficulty in designing the interactions between devices, 2) the complexity of adapting interfaces to different platform UI standards, and 3) the lack of tools and methods for testing multi-device user experiences. I am interested in researching the technological and business factors behind these challenges and potential ways to lower the barriers they impose.

Understanding of Perception, Cognition, and Time Constants

Anything more than 3 seconds is too long! The goal post on what is an acceptable waiting time for content has been decreasing as our expectations demand instant access. The subjective experience, or sense, of time is someone's own perception of the duration of the events. Though directly experiencing or understanding another person's perception of time is not possible, such a perception can be objectively studied with actual loading times to the millisecond recorded by browsers and data logs relative to users' impatience. What creates the frustration users feel when the content they anticipate does not appear in the time they deemed necessary? How do their load time expectations change over time? What are the cognitive and psychological impacts of perceived time? How are these expectations set? How are they influenced and manipulated with design and technology? What is the impact of dedicating resources to the friction caused by perceived time and engineering time constants? How does this impact our cognition and perceptions of digital fluency?

Human-Computer Interaction and Visualization

I believe HCI researchers have enormous potential to impact the experience of users as well as conduct innovative research. Grounded in user behavior understanding and real use, HCI researchers invent, design, build and trial large-scale interactive systems in the real world. Success is declared only when we positively impact our users and user communities, often through new and improved products. As a HCI researcher and design engineer, I am engaged in a variety of HCI disciplines such as interactive visualization and visual analytics, design accessibility, predictive and intelligent user interface technologies and software, mobile and ubiquitous computing, social and collaborative computing. Current projects include the developer's experience, user interfaces for engineering tools, visualizing abstract concepts, recommenders for content, apps, and activities; smart input and prediction of text on mobile devices; user engagement analytics; user interface development tools; and interactive visualization of complex data.

Current Work

Designing a Visual Layout Explorer for Google's Flutter framework

Flutter Layout Explorer

Designing Layout Explorer

Building a layout is a basic and frequent task in UI development, yet ​research​ shows that even experienced Flutter users have significant trouble resolving layout errors. Layout errors often occur when a widget is not appropriately constrained, so the size allocated to it cannot accommodate the size it wants to be. The debugging process presents a lot of challenges. First, there is clearly a ​gulf of evaluation​ – the difficulty of understanding the error. Research found the RenderObjects and its key properties such as constraints and sizes are not well-known even among experienced Flutter users. Without a conceptual model of how layout works in Flutter, the user wouldn't know that they need to examine widgets' constraints and sizes. In addition, users are often unaware of the inspector as a tool that can help them understand layouts. Then, there is a ​gulf of execution​ – the difficulty to identify the correct action. However, crossing the gulf of evaluation seems to be a larger challenge, given the limited amount of options that exist to fix a layout error. In addition to design needs, additional effort to improve the usability of error messages in programming by enhancing their presentation was studied. Specifically, the Flutter UXR team, evaluated three visual variants of a representative error message in an open-source UI framework, by applying visual perception theories and visual design techniques. In an experiment, we found that all three variants resulted in much higher error comprehension and error resolution rates than the original presentation of the error message, though the enhancements are seemingly "cosmetic." This helped embolden my design vision and encourage Engineering to adopt the informed design changes proposed. This is an ongoing project being impacted by Covid-19's shifting priorities

Designing the DevTools Developer Experience for Google's Flutter & Dart

Flutter DevTools

Designing DevTools

Flutter is Google's UI toolkit for building beautiful, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase using Google's Dart language. The new DevTools expands and unites various developer tools is a suite of performance and debugging tools for Dart and Flutter. It is in beta release and is under active development. I am working on the design of the DevTools with the primary focus on the developer experience visualizing vital information for software developers like memory issues, diagnostics, network profiling, cpu profiling, easily diagnose UI jank and inspect the UI layout and state of the Flutter app.

Future Directions of Research

UX/UI/CX/DX Visual Design Accessible Standards for Responsive/Adaptive/IoT

Iconography, color psychology, symbolism, accessibility, and execution are key interests and need dedicated advocacy in large design systems. I am focused on how color can reduce and enhance cognitive load and how culture impacts the perception of meaning of color. As dark mode is accepted and implemented across design technology, I am interested in researching how color systems improve the user experience.

I am significantly motivated by the subjective review of digital design technology's expectations. It is no longer possible to expect all users to have the same design experience. Users have their own preferences for devices and technologies, forcing designers to accommodate an ever growing list of aspect ratios and technology restrictions as they consider their design approach. It's more complicated than changing shape requirements of the design, it's also about designing for the load time of content, designing for local storage capacities, designing for user's bandwidth restrictions, designing for accessibility, designing for security protocols and cross-browsers, and context. User's expectation are evolving at a pace design and design education has not been able to accommodate and the cognitive load is real. Designing touch points that respect finger size and proximity to what surrounds it has yet to be fully studied and applied as a universal standard. Often, the best UX is blocked by physical mobile restraints like CTAs too close to a device edge and touch is not registered. As the last decade brought about new and competing frameworks, the tools and techniques for digital design content delivery has been more complicated and its overhead can create new challenges in design and accessible

Human-Computer Interaction and Visualization for the Community

Focusing on how design both evolves and impacts society as it adapts to digital technology and how that impacts communities in various ways based on ever-changing variables. Covid-19's mostly worldwide lockdown has illustrated how it is human nature to be creative. Digital tools and their interfaces need to be global and easily accessible to any and all ages and skills. From the creativity and community that formed around the Ocean Spray guy to the families filming skits together, the community that has enveloped and embraced the creative digital tools has brought real meaning and tangible joy into their lives in ways they may have not thought possible pre-pandemic. The rise of streaming and UGC has exploded with the confluence of art, design, and technology in fun and positive ways. I am interested in researching how design technology can enhance communities and conversely, how design can be used to counter toxic uses of social media.

I’m open to new opportunities.

If you're looking to connect, let’s grab a coffee and chat!

Here's some of what I'm listening to.

crosswalk shot across from the sfmoma with painting that reads think outside the building.