Vivian Li here.
I'm a product designer and coder.
I graduated from Duke with degrees in computer science and history. My "thing" is utilizing research + data to establish visionary, actionable design strategy. Then designing the actual thing.
Why do you design? Short version:
To create useful, wonderful tools for fellow human beings. Also to learn about our societies and their attitudes.
Why do you design? Long version:
I. Creating for the sake of creating
It all comes back to my fascination with studying people. Since I was a kid, I've been sensitive to the smallest details in people-- for example, the shape of their smiles, or their laugh. I picked up illustration as a way to capture those details, and I create art to this day.
II. Understanding societies and individuals
When I was 16, I fell in love with history because it allows me to understand our societies and where they're headed, particularly in social/market attitudes.
Product design and history are both empathetic practices. In history, I learn old stories to understand the present and guide the future. In product design, I learn about users to understand their needs and guide products forward. The key difference is design's creative, usable, actionable output.
III. Taking care of people
My way of "making the world a better place" is taking care of the people around me. I love cooking for friends and arranging surprise parties. I mentor designers just entering the field.
In design, I take care of our users by listening to their needs and designing solutions for them.
What do you do when you're not in the office?
I do UX and visual design freelance. I'm a pretty good skier (that's me in the gif!). I learn about Chinese history (mostly A.D. 1800-modernity) I enjoy cooking and baking bread 🍞, then eating all of it. I'm training to compete in the swim to Alcatraz. I read up on sociology, history, and modern policy.
Check out a few of my favorite reads right now:
- Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos
- Saudi Millennials Don't Use Phones Like We Do by Codebreakers
- Is this my interface of yours? by John Saito