And learning how to sketch

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Icons exist in nearly every aspect of our daily life — from smartphones to restrooms to espresso machines, and beyond. Sometimes they are universally recognizable — such as the recycle symbol. Other times, they are dependent on context, such as the flush icon (see below).


Who knew writing could actually be enjoyable?

Even though I majored in Rhetoric as an undergrad and grad student and have done my share of immensely dense thesis papers pondering subjects ranging from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions to Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network-Theory, I find the task of writing to be daunting.

It’s not putting words to paper (or is it to screen?) that overwhelms me — I can write a 10-page rant in as many minutes as well as the next guy; rather, it is putting thoughts together in a logical manner to prove a thesis or support an argument that really puts a cramp in my style. …


Also known as my experience using Amazon Echo Dot

About a year ago, my husband decided manually turning on table and floor lamps was too much work. He populated the house with Amazon Echo Dots and Wemo Smart Plugs. Since then, it’s been a love/hate relationship between Alexa and me. Strong language? Well…definitely not love, but not as strong as hate; perhaps frustrating would best describe it. My husband can attest to this as he often hears screams of “ALEXA, OFFICE LIGHT ON! LIGHT ON! LIGHT ON!!!!!!! #@#$%!!!” coming up from upstairs.

I will try to limit the emotionally…


A study in Information Architecture using Box.com

Information architecture (IA) has always had a special place in my heart. Though my understanding of it, heretofore, has been limited to its manifestation as a site map, I find myself pondering its various components — ontology, taxonomy, and to a lesser extent, choreography — on a day-to-day basis, from the most mundane of work tasks (saving design files on the company Box directory after completion of a task) to personal projects (organizing my entire music collection alphabetically by artist, then by album title within each artist’s folder, and finally by song titles…


We are learning about design thinking in my UX class and one of the exercises is to quickly prototype an ATM for children.

I haven’t been to an ATM in ages, so I had to think back to the days wherein I had to interact with an ATM. And then I had to think about whether kids could have effectively interacted with these machines.

To me, an ATM is a cash machine, with consequences, good or bad. Big withdrawals might lead to overdraft fees. Big deposits…well, I never really had that problem. I also remember how I had once left…


The UX course I am currently taking asked us to reflect on product design. For me, this is one of the most challenging projects of the class thus far. It’s not hard to put words to paper (anyone can bullshit). But it’s hard to formulate meaningful thoughts on a subject I feel immensely unqualified to judge. I, with my limited consumption of digital applications and products, don’t know what I don’t know, so how can I judge whether a product is great, good, or even good enough?

In my study thus far, most definitions define product design as solving problems


This is a blog post written in response to an UX Academy assignment (and yes, we were encouraged to post on Medium). I apologize right now for what might seem like non-ending run-on sentences with syntactically incorrect combinations of independent and dependent clauses — blame it on my love for Victorian literature and my short academic dalliance with rhetoric.

In this post, I detail the differences between two streaming services — Netflix and Acorn TV — across several platforms (web app, iPad, and Amazon Fire TV). …


I graduated from Berkeley’s architectural program a decade ago. Although I have forgotten most of what I’ve learned (as I am no longer in the field), I do remember something about line weights, sections, elevations, and plans.

I was reading through Google’s Material design guidelines, specifically the “Elevations and shadows” section, when I was suddenly struck by how the cross-section diagrams reminded me of architectural drawings.

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Material Design cross-section diagram of elevation heights

Karen Huang

UX Designer. Lover of British cop dramas, period pieces, and Victorian literature.

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