Making our lives easier with art – Winnie Yoe

The User Experience Design has become such a big part of our lives and most of us don’t even know it yet. Its full capabilities probably surpass anything we humans can ever comprehend. We certainly don’t give this phenomenal design enough credit—and we really should, because frankly when it comes right down to it, UI/UX design pretty much makes all our lives so much easier.

So how does an artist come about on a very technical aspect of design?

“Art and design are always physically around us, you can’t really miss them,” Winnie Yoe says. “I think I have always [had] an appreciation for art and design. When I was completing my International Baccalaureate diploma, I dropped Economics for Fine Art. It was probably the best decision I have made.”

Winnie found a fascination in design when she took her first design-thinking class during her freshman year at Dartmouth University. “It introduced me to a very different problem-solving approach,” Winnie says. “It led me to my current job at the Digital Arts Leadership and Innovation Lab. I really enjoy my work and love working in a creative, collaborative environment.”

What does it take to be an official User Experience Designer?

While the primary goal is to make the interaction between a computer and its user fundamentally easier, the Designer needs to go through a whole heck load of nuts to get there, like: executing interaction design and visual design as a part of a multi-disciplinary team, consulting with clients, researching interaction design trends, researching technology trends, and have damn good knowledge on software and Web applications that are emerging in the scene everyday!

“It really depends on the project and the audience,” Winnie says about the conceptual principles in her design. “In general, I appreciate user-centric designs that are clean and intuitive. I also believe in design for change…I think design could bring a huge positive impact.”

Where does your inspiration hail from?

“I am influenced by anti-art concepts. I make small-scale work usually because I do not agree with the replacement of content with form. Much of my work is interactive because I want to break down the authority of the artists in Art.”

Because a lot of Winnie’s work possesses a somewhat ephemeral quality, it is important to recognize the extensive groundwork user-experience designers go through on a daily basis.

“My design [is often] collaborative so a lot of times it is about compromising and also just discussing what works better. You have a lot of grand ideas but sometimes you can’t execute all of them—[albeit] practical reasons or [simply lack of resources]. So often you have to think of what the most important feature is of the design and you focus and try to do that well. Then if it is possible, refine the other parts.”

“I don’t think I have a systematic approach to how I do it. I think a lot of times when I have an idea, I get my hands dirty and experiment to see what works and what doesn’t.”

With artists like Winnie, it never really is books, music or paintings or whatnot that get them going. “Interpersonal relationships [and] specific incidents,” she says. “I also love to embrace chance and elements of surprises.” And like many other fellow successful artists, she has her own sense of humor: “My friends at the lab I work at joke about starting a company on a yacht island, so maybe that is where my future career will head.”

As for her next projects, Winnie aspires to start on an artist book that deals with biased and offensive incidents that she herself experienced in school. “I think there are many ways for social activism,” she says. “And I chose to channel my anger and frustration into my art, creating something that is not necessarily in your face, but something that is powerful, reflective and hopefully, smart.”

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