Leadership is a quality that you have to earn. The best managers need to be great leaders because if people don’t follow them and don’t respect them and don’t trust them, they’re not going to be particularly effective in impacting a team.

— Julie Zhuo

I tripped over this quote from Julie about design leadership last week. Three particular words she used have caught my attention: follow, respect, trust. Yet none of the design leaders kick off their job with all of them in place. …

For this post, I would like to share some thoughts on my recent readings on motivating people as (design) managers, including some must-learn manager skills and knowledge, as well as some best practices in the field.

Shared vision? Telos thinking? North Star? God Metrics? — The power of alignment

Many of my readings in these two weeks covered how important a clear and shared vision is. Alignment becomes a key thread for managers to connect team member’s motivation. In the HBR article “To Lead, Create a Shared Vision”, I highlighted:

The only visions that take hold are shared visions — and you will create them only when you listen very, very closely to…

This is a mock TED Talk we did this summer on the topic of cognitive bias for our Story class in the graduate Interaction Design program at California College of the Arts. It was very fun to compose a 3-minute TED talk following the real TEDx Speaker Guide, as well as listening to my classmates’ stories about their own cognitive biases. Below it the script of my talk.

One week ago I did an Implicit Association Test created by Harvard. The one I did helps me self-check how biased I am associating females to family and males to career.


I really enjoyed making the cover :P Let me know in the comments if this form works for you as compared to unsplash photos

No one is born as a manager or a design leader, so we can train ourselves into one as long as we possess a growth mindset. Regardless of the hat we are wearing right now, we should all expect ourselves to be design leaders for the future.

This is the center idea brought by a course called “Leadership by Design” while I was studying at the MDes Interaction Design Program, California College of the Arts. And this idea, which I’m really grateful for as a 23-year old fresh-grad, motivates me to turn it into a series of blog posts.


I wrote this at the end of my first semester at MDes Interaction Design, California College of the Arts. I found this in my Grammarly draft box today, and decided to make some edits out of embarrassment (my writing style looked mysterious…) And now it’s ready for some fresh air :)

A crucible like a graduate IxD program is one of the most valuable places for unique design feedbacks. …

This is a group project I did with my partner Himani Deshpande in Fall 2018, the first semester of our Interaction Design Program at California College of the Arts. This blog post documented our usability testing process, including…

  1. Purpose
  2. Results
  3. Usability test guideline
  4. How we conduct the test
    - Phase 1 & What we changed after Phase 1
    - Phase 2 & Our takeaway on street usability tests
  5. Key observations
  6. What works in our original design
  7. Final recommended wireframes
  8. Reflection on our first street usability testing experience


1 / Purpose

We conducted this usability test to validate and improve the BART Clipper…

Screen snap of Flat Tomato, an app based on Pomodoro technique

First thing first, what is wisdom technology?

If you have never heard of the term “wisdom technology”, no worries, because me neither! As Kristian Simsarian, my professor of Theater in the Future course puts it: ways we reclaim what’s human. In my own words, I see them as methodologies invented through the mere power of one man sitting there, thinking. Examples are: meditation techniques, non-violent communication (NVC), improvisation techniques etc.

What is Pomodoro?

Pomodoro is the Italian word for a tomato, named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by the creator of this technique. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s…

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

*This article was originally the final draft of my undergrad thesis, finished in May 2018. I apologize if my manner of writing here looks awkwardly pedantic. Optimizing this paper for modern-day browser reading is on my to-do list :-)

1. Introduction

Definition of algorithm varies, and there is rationally more than one kind of algorithm (Blass and Gurevich 2003). Though a universal definition is unavailable so far, what we do agree is that automation, calculation, and data processing are the signature characteristics of this technology. Algorithms implemented in the realm of social network platform, which is the specific application we are going…

This is the place where I dump my sketchnotes, made for the articles, TED talks, lectures, projects, books and other interesting stuff I tripped over in and outside of school.

Last update: Feb.23.2019

Following the previous discussion on Communication barrier in long-distance relationships, I interviewed three friends who were or are in long distance relationships about their experience.

Two basic background questions:

  1. How long have you been in Long Distance Relationship (LDR) with your partner?
  2. Which city is your partner living in right now?

Then, I asked them to name a *thing* apart from Instant Messaging app that connects them and their partner during LDR. …

Yang Q

👋 My name is Yang, a graduate Interaction Design student in San Francisco learning how to write in Design.

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