Machine learning is often considered a field still in its youth, despite roots in established sciences, and if that’s the case, ML fairness and ethics is still in its infancy, despite similar historical resonances. Yet, the increasing use of ML in everyday computing makes it a salient and critical area to review for its biases in race, gender, class and other areas that affect human lives, sometimes in invisible ways.


In Industry

Scholars identify a multitude of industries that use ML, and often struggle with fairness. Four are most commonly cited.

The first of these is criminal justice, where statistical risk assessments…

In favor of a ten thousand-foot view of design ethics.

Would we always know when our designs do damage, in the long run or short? Would we have the courage to admit it and the initiative to change it?

We live in a culture of instant gratification and persistent distraction. The two qualities go hand in hand, reinforcing each other. Our game designs are fast-paced and reward-laced, addictive. Our social networks keep us “in the loop,” ensuring we don’t take time for ourselves. Even the apps we have for pragmatic reasons ping us constantly, vying for more attention. The moments of our day are taken up by notifications, but now…

An easy online portfolio and critique experience for art students and their teachers

Project Overview

The project was commissioned by Young Audiences New York, a 66-year old nonprofit education organization that gives children and youth from under-resourced schools and neighborhoods a chance to experience and create art. Within their portfolio of programs, we designed for the LinkNYC program, which connects high school students to real world experiences in the fields of digital media, music production, and visual arts by giving them access to classes with practicing teaching artists and professional mentors.

Our goal was to create an app or mobile…

Project Overview

For this project, we developed an environmentally conscious new feature for Seamless called ecoEATS, which sells surplus meals at a discounted rate through the existing app interface.

My role

My role was broad, encompassing all stages of the UX process, since I contributed to each part. My largest roles, however, were in UX research and usability testing. My other three teammates similarly contributed to each part, and more specifically to areas that interested them.


The timeframe was from February 20-March 2, a span of 10 days.

Limitations, Parameters, Resources, and Materials

For this project, nicknamed the “passion…

A better website experience for Eataly

Project Overview

The design challenge was to redesign the Eataly website, making it more user-friendly as well as responsive for mobile.

My role

The project was split into two phases. For the first phase, research, I worked on a team of four, collaborating with Moira Cosgrove, Ely Wolfe, and Lucy Zhao. We each took equal responsibility for our roles as UX Researchers.

For the second phase, execution, I worked alone to synthesize and interpret research findings, propose a new information architecture for the site, create wireframes and a prototype, test my designs, and iterate…

A new event spaces feature for Airbnb

My role

I worked in a four-member team, with Ania Gall, Rachel Kamelhar, and Sabina Roslyakova. We collaboratively split work so that we each had a chance to test all roles in the UX process from researcher to designer to tester.


The project spanned ten days, from January 23-February 2, 2018.

Limitations, Parameters, Resources, and Materials

Because the project was a simulation and we were not affiliated with Airbnb, our data-gathering and branding were not “official,” but rather, a mock-up of what Airbnb might actually build if they were to pursue a…

A new music app that generates playlists for locavores

My role

My role in this project was broad, spanning from UX researcher to designer to tester. Since this was a solo project designed to reflect rapid prototyping, my work covered all stages of UX design from research, synthesis, redefinition, ideation, to delivery.


The project spanned four days, from January 19–22, 2018.

Limitations, Parameters, Resources, and Materials

The prompt was to design a mobile application around the theme of music. Given the limited scope and timeframe of this project, we were given clear instructions on the type of research, synthesis…

Xian Gu

Maker, giver, learner, and all-around nerd. UX researcher and strategist with a background in HCI and psychology. Currently @ Microsoft

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