Being an immigrant can feel like building a solid house on unsolid ground, but I have prepared myself for this. Here’s the story of my immigration and my American dreams. Hope this can inspire you and help you believe that you can make a change in this world.

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It’s August 2009. I’m doing my homework in my room in Tehran, Iran, when suddenly I hear my dad’s excited voice saying “we’re going to America”. After almost two decades of waiting, we’re finally moving to the US. At that time, I was 13. As long as I could recall, we were always about to move to the US. In each gathering or family ceremony, everyone would talk about our case. At first, it was exciting, but when 10 years passed and nothing happened, it just become a meaningless mission in the corner of my mind. So when I heard…

What do these numbers that impact our lives mean? How can we interpret a 3.4% mortality rate of COVID-19? Why do we feel statistically numb when we hear that 640,000 Somali children are starving? How can we make rational decisions while empathizing with the numbers?’s a human-centered approach to empathic analysis.

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Let’s start this post by a short story…

Once upon a time, there was a 25-year-old woman named Shayena. Shayena lived on a planet in the chocolate way galaxy.

As human-centered designers, we focus on understanding the perspective of people who experience a problem. We empathize with their needs, and pain points. However, a lot of times we forget to empathize with our own perspectives, values, and pain points. How can we build self-empathy while empathizing with others?

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What is the role of empathy in design?

Empathy! A delightful word that is being used more frequently than ever in the worlds of technology, human-centered design, and user experience. Empathy is an art that requires practice. Building empathy doesn’t mean creating detailed personas or conducing 100 interviews to understand a person’s perspective, it simply means creating a flexible and open mindset to acknowledge and accept people’s pain points, needs, and values. It means keeping your arms wide open to embrace new thoughts, beliefs, and values systems that come from different groups of people. It means being able to understand beyond your own assumptions and knowledge. …

Are the things we call artifacts really apart from nature? Doesn’t almost every element in our environment show evidence of human artifice? Inspired by Herbert Simon’s The Sciences of the Artificial, we will reevaluate the artificial and natural notions of design in an attempt to create a realistic image of intelligent systems.

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Have you ever looked up the word “artificial” in the dictionary? Well, I have!

Before writing this story, I tried my best to come up with a neutral term to replace “artificial intelligence”.

Take a look at some of the results according to the Oxford dictionary: feigned, insincere, false, affected, mannered, unnatural, stilted, contrived, pretended, put-on, exaggerated, actorly, overdone, overripe, forced, strained, hollow, spurious.

The list goes on, but one thing remains the same: The pejorative notion of artificial!

The pejorative notion of artificial

I do understand that the capabilities of AI and the way it has been presented by media can make it seem…

As designers, we often count on intuition as one of the primary design tools when addressing a design challenge, but what about rationality and logic? How can we combine logic and intuition to make effective design decisions?

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“If he is a good designer the form he invents will penetrate the problem so deeply that it not only solves it but illuminates it.” — Christopher Alexander

Notes on the Synthesis of Form” is a masterpiece written by Christopher Alexander. In his book, Alexander discusses concepts of form and context through the lens of complicated design problems.

Complicated design problems are the challenges that deal with multiple stakeholders, unknown requirements, rapid changes, etc.

Rings a bell?

Isn’t that the definition of a challenge that we, as designers, have dealt with at least once in our professional life?

Let’s just…

Do you remember Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, the tale of an entire kingdom that ignores the obvious for fear of judgment, only to be called out by a child? What if I tell you after almost 200 years the emperor is still wearing the “invisible” clothes and many of those who see the naked emperor walking down the streets decide not to talk about it?

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by Nelleke Verhoeff

When I started working as a UX engineer, my supervisor was this amazing designer who was creative, fast, and innovative. I enjoyed looking at his work and learning from him. However, since my background was in computer science and his background was in design, as you can imagine, a lot of times I would look at something and think to myself “this guy has no clue about the framework that we use” , “has he ever looked at the data model when he was designing this?”, or “has he done market research and competitive analysis before doing this?”?

A mobile app that lowers the barrier to food donation by making it possible from the convenience of the home.

Organization: University of Washington MHCI+D Program
Khai Nguyen, Oliver Engel, Sayena Majlesein
Duration: 1 Week — Immersion Studio Course

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During the first week of Immersion Studio, we were given the challenge to explore one of the key facets of HCI: computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), to find ways of using technology to help people cooperate in acts of civic engagement.


Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. — Mark Twain

Sayena Majlesein

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