Yanwen is an award-winning designer specializing in user experience, data visualization and graphic design. When Yanwen served as a User Experience Designer at Conde Nast Digital, she worked on multiple global brands' website redesign projects, including Glamour, Conde Nast Traveler, Epicurious, Teen Vogue and Golf Digest. Those projects have been nominated by the Webby Awards in 2015 and 2016. Besides that, Yanwen’s design has been exhibited in New York and Beijing, China. Additionally, her work has been featured in various publications. Now she serves as a jury member for CSS Design Awards 2017, 47th Creativity International Awards, and a mentor for NYC UXPA mentorship program.
Yanwen Hu ("YH") interviewed on Tuesday, 22 May.
YH : I started painting since I was six then I decided to study design in college. After that I went to New York for Master program. Later I was working for Conde Nast, where I had chance to work closely with lots of famous magazines.
YH : My parents were majoring in science and engineering so they were a little bit hesitated about my decision. They felt I should be a scientist or an engineer. But I love painting since my childhood, so they are supportive and encourage me to do what I want.
YH : I am always obsessed with complexity of structures and patterns. That is why I am doing data visualization because I like charts and numbers. I feel the visualization shows the beauty of statistics.
YH : For most of my work, design is not my first step. Most of time I will write down my feeling when the feeling hits me. The words are more abstract and linear, while the visual language has more dimensions. In my work I am trying to explore the both parts.
YH : I think the logical thinking coming from my parents' background definitely influences me a lot. In my daily work as a lead UX designer, I like reading metrics by myself.
YH : User Experience Design is my dream design field. It is hybrid, including information architecture, interaction design, visual design and research. It is a great area that I can integrate both my design aesthetics and logical thinking together.
YH : Explore the world and discover yourself. Know what you like and what you are good at.
YH : Embrace every opportunities and do not say "no" to yourself at the beginning.
YH : My daily work is quite busy. Now there are lots of meetings with stakeholders which means I have less time designing compared to the past; on the other hand, I learnt a lot about business directions and product strategies, which are helpful for design. Sometimes you really need to see the vision, then you can evaluate and execute the idea.
YH : I am reading tech and design blogs during my commute. In the technology industry, everything changes so fast. Even for designers, it is important to know the new techniques and trends.
YH : Definitely designers will evaluate any products or projects from aesthetic standpoint, but most importantly is whether it makes sense to its users. Balancing the aesthetics and utility is one of my rules to evaluate projects.
YH : To be honest, design is never FULLY ready. Everyday you can still find some parts in the design that you want to change. But for work, you need to launch your products. So it is essential in work to collaborate with other team members like Product Managers and Developers and prioritize design by different phases. No product can launch all the features at the same time.
YH : My most favorite work is 5000 Years Chinese History Visualization, which is my college capstone project. That time I spent nearly one year researching history, which I am always interested in. I really appreciate my school gave me one year to explore the things I love.
YH : I likes German and North European Design since I was in school. Also I am really into the data visualization published by the New York Times. Actually that was one of the reason I decided to move to New York for my graduate school.
YH : Beijing is my hometown, which is the capital in China. It is a fast-growing city and has over 20 million population. I think that might make me try to discover the beauty of complexity. There are lots of things going on and they are all connected in some ways.
YH : As a UX designer, I believe the best product coming from a perfect "triangle:" design + technology + business/product. Design's mission is to find and push for the features that are benefit for users; technology is about the current technique capability whether we can make the product come true; while business is about when and how we can make the products survive in the reality.
YH : I always feel local design communities are so helpful. I was serving as a mentor for NXPA NYC last year and my mentee was still in school. We kept talking for almost half a year, about her portfolios, interviews, jobs, future career, etc. The responsibility as lead designer is not just designing, but also mentoring. I even learnt a lot from helping her.
YH : I think the most impressive part is how A' Design Award is keep connecting you to multiple activities.Yanwen Hu Profile
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