This section especially resonated with me - a very realistic description of my experience in the early phases of UX projects. Here, I manage my expectation for ethnographic research (essentially the "crown jewel" of UX), against timelines and organizational structures that don't leave much space for it.

Instead, these timelines and structures ask me to "trust my own expertise" first, which quite frankly is a human-centered design education's biggest red flag!

I'm learning to balance these tensions, relinquishing a bit of what my education told me is the "right process," in order to meet an organization where they are. As a fun side effect, trusting my own expertise is actually a great confidence boost!


Design for Social Innovation, Spring 2020

I absolutely loved this class, and I am so grateful for the experience. I almost dropped the class in week 1 due to a scheduling conflict, but I tried to make it work, and spent the first two weeks essentially running across campus (and still walking in late). I ended up asking my department to leave other class early so I could make it on time (thanks HCI!).

I can’t exactly pinpoint why, but in Social Innovation I felt especially confident and productive. Perhaps it was in contrast to some of my experiences in…


Design for Social Innovation, Spring 2020

The paper is complete!

Read it here. If you don’t have a CMU email address, request access!


Design for Social Innovation, Spring 2020

How might we help existing outdoor companies make decisions that better address women’s needs?

As I’ve dug deeper into this problem, done a research fusion, and thought about my role as an individual, I’ve narrowed the scope in such a way that speaks to my manifesto and reflects who I am, as a designer and as a person. I’m very happy with that!

In my last post, I discussed the lack of women in leadership roles and the gender data gap, citing them both as key problems to solve. …


final product

Experimental Capture, Spring 2020

Many people are completely dependent on corrective lenses without knowing how they work; this project examines the invisible stresses we put in & around our eyes every day.

I have worn glasses since I was 5 years old, and contacts since I was 8, but I’ve never stopped to think about their construction. To me, they are these “perfect” objects that come from nowhere. I get a prescription, and then a few days later they simply show up as exactly what I need.

In learning about polarized light, however, I realized that transparent plastic is not…


Design for Social Innovation, Spring 2020

This is a one-pager to begin the process of writing a social innovation paper. Based off of Karen Kelsky’s “Foolproof Research Proposal Template.”

To begin, the large general topic of wide interest: Gender Representation in the Outdoor Industry

In the outdoor industry, there is a whole ecosystem (no pun intended) of diversity issues; some have more focus than others, and gender representation is only one of them. Likewise, “gender representation” itself is a wide, wide open concept. Representation where?

On the leadership side, while “women come in at about 50 or 60 percent of…


Design for Social Innovation, Spring 2020

We’ve seen a lot of perspectives these first few weeks, from a whirlwind history lesson to high-level design theory to the grounding reality of public policy.

Do any of these perspectives align with the things I care about? This is the early early phase of problem definition for my paper.

The main consensus in class has been that Goldsmith has more of an optimistic outlook than we got from Papanek or Manzini. I don’t want to dwell too much in a negative space — “hopelessness” isn’t usually a productive way to go about things…


Design for Social Innovation, Spring 2020

I interpret “manifesto” to mean a staunch declaration, an unshakable set of beliefs, a call to action and — more often than not — revolution.

But that’s not really how I operate. In my life, and in design, I favor flexibility over rigidity and conversation over rebellion. My emerging manifesto is a humble yet confident assessment of my place in the design world, not as a strict set of beliefs but as a point of convergence between many ways of thinking and doing.

My current headspace sits between cognitive science, human-centered design and alternative…


Dexign Futures, CMU Fall 2019

Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

I became interested in qualitative research long before I decided to study HCI. I did my undergrad in cognitive science, a magical place where science and humanities collide and give rise to big arguments about how to “properly” study the mind. It’s this space of total confusion, because it’s all about us. It’s 2019; we have all these fabulous tools for studying the things around us (plants and animals and even our physical bodies…) and created by us (literature and art and culture…), and we’ve been studying these things for thousands of years and we’re…

Stacy Kellner

cognitive scientist & human-centered designer, just finishing a Masters in Human Computer Interaction at CMU.

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