a re-introduction

i’m erika (she/they). these are some thoughts about the beliefs, principles, practices, frameworks, && energies that guide and shape how i show up in the world and in work. i’m a fluid, evolving, practicing being, and this is where i’m at now.

i am a design strategist — i work with people and teams to shape decisions, experiences, tools, processes, and practices, rooted in liberation from oppression.

i am a movement artist — dance is my primary art form; i use my bodies [physical; energetic; emotional; intellectual; intuitive; spiritual; ancestral] to shape communication and sensation, with emphasis on…

Time for a remix. Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

As we come up on facilitating our first in-person workshop (coming soon in online format!), and as we come up on 2020, we’ve been talking about, thinking about, and planning about goals. A lot.

I’ve never been much of a New Year’s Resolutions person, and perhaps more relevantly, I’ve never really identified as a goal-oriented person. I feel like I’ve grown allergic to the SMART Goals framework over time and have always felt overwhelmed by the idea of setting and reaching goals.

I may do a decent job covering for it, because I’ve been conditioned to perform the goal-setting and…

Late last month, we held our first Deep Dive — a full day focused on dreaming and generating content that we’d like to offer through Next World Teams. We intend to hold monthly Deep Dives as we clarify and build what we do and how we do it.

Centering and Recentering

We opened the morning with two check in questions: How are we doing? What are we each looking forward to, and what are we each nervous about?

Our goals for the Deep Dive were to:

  1. generate ideas for content we’d like to offer;
  2. prioritize those ideas; and
  3. begin to create specific content.

(Sort of.)

A common question students ask me when learning about interaction design is: what’s the difference between task flows and user flows?

While every designer seems to have a slightly different understanding of the two concepts, this is an effort to offer one perspective on the distinction.

Both task flows and user flows are deliverables that are generally useful within the interaction design phase of UX design processes, wherein we map out the structure, hierarchy, organization, and relationships across content and features of our designs, so that people who use the design (e.g. …

Last updated 17 February 2019

I’m a UX designer. I’m also a design educator, and care deeply about supporting folks who are learning UX design.

As a mentor in DesignLab’s UX Research and Strategy and Interaction Design courses, I find that students are often looking for additional tools and resources to amp up their learning. Over the last few months, I’ve compiled this list of UX resources — including articles, videos, online courses, and communities — in an effort to point students towards some solid, tried-and-true content.

Image courtesy of UX Store on Unsplash

This list is also available here as a Google Doc. Feel free to share, and let me know…

Don’t just ask more — ask better. Photo by Dan Gold via Unsplash.

I recently published a new class on Skillshare called The Art of Asking [Questions]. This is an all-levels class focused on how to better plan, structure, and frame questions within design research. This class is ideal for people interested in UX research and strategy, design thinking, systemic design, and creative problem-solving.

Asking good questions is a stepping stone to breakthrough innovations and powerful human experiences.

When it comes to UX design and design thinking, the process of forming, asking, and exploring questions is crucial to understanding people’s goals, needs, behaviors, and frustrations — and it can make or break a…

Person looking at a cloud of smoke through a magnifying glass. Photo by Saffu on Unsplash

I recently attended a conference on health experience design and was turned off by the ways in which several presenters and workshop speakers framed the role of behavioral design to improve health outcomes. Over and over, I heard people say things along the lines of, “we designed a solution to end [insert person/community]’s poor health (e.g. diabetes, obesity) by creating new ways to change their behaviors.”

I heard speakers state that we need to see people as people, and not problems. At the same time, using design to change other people’s behavior implies, at least to me, that the designers…

on Equity-Centered Community Design within spaces of power and privilege

I am humbled and privileged to have the opportunity to be part of the team at Creative Reaction Lab, an organization that is committed to educating and deploying youth leadership to address issues that disproportionately impact Black and Latinx communities — issues that stem from racism by design. I’m grateful to have opportunities to work with a wide range of people across the United States — youth and adults — in rethinking design and decision-making.

Part of what I do is train people in an approach called Equity-Centered Community Design (ECCD), which is a framework that builds on human-centered design…

How might we create a digital experience that authentically showcases Blue Turtle Bodywork’s value proposition, provides current and future customers with satisfactory information, and generates an increase in bookings?

Mockup of the desktop home page view of Blue Turtle Bodywork’s website.

The Challenge: Blue Turtle Bodywork, a Chicago-based massage therapy company centering queer and trans people of color, needs a streamlined, transparent way for customers to book appointments.

The Approach: A responsive website that clearly communicates Blue Turtle Bodywork’s services, informs clients of what to expect, and provides clients with easy appointment bookings.


  • Identify the target audiences of Blue Turtle Bodywork, and their needs, goals, priorities, and pain points.
  • Design clear information architecture to facilitate key user interactions, including appointment bookings and contact inquiries.
  • Design a responsive, easy-to-maintain website that meets user needs and is consistent with existing branding assets…

How might we better support people in creating, managing, and completing tasks that are centered on the goals they wish to accomplish?

The Challenge: People need a streamlined, easy-to-use method of creating and managing big-picture goals and the tasks to get them there.

The Approach: A mobile app that helps people set and track tasks and goals, all in one place.


  • Develop a research-informed understanding of when, how, and why people set goals and manage tasks.
  • Understand the current challenges people face with setting goals and managing tasks.
  • Design a product that improves the user experience of clearly defining, prioritizing, and working to accomplish goals.

Duration: 8 weeks

Tools: Sketch, InVision, Google Sheets

Phases: User Research — Design Strategy — Interaction…

erika harano

independent designer + educator + facilitator. designing meaningful, multimodal experiences that inspire critical thought and action. www.erikaharano.com

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