Data-Driven Research + Design

We need to talk about data.

I’ve spent the last month thinking about strategic design: How can we show value of design?
We’ve been moving towards OKR’s - Objectives and Key Results to break down and measure success. To create a good OKR, we need good data. We need to be specific. We need numbers. Percentages. Estimates.

My Objective was: Becoming a (25%) more data-driven designer. Here were my Key Results:

KR1) Obtained Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ)Certification
Getting GAIQ allowed me to do a deep dive and learn about Google Analytics through advanced trainings. I learned more about how to utilize this very powerful software to segment users by device and analyze conversions, drop-offs, and bounce rates on my own site.

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KR2) Obtained Google Ads + Search Certification
After Google Analytics, my next step was to learn more about how the Adwords impacted conversions. I looked at the “Why?” behind my numbers to see how to optimize searches. This was fascinating because I learned how keywords could be activated on devices by geolocation.

KR3) Completed Foundations of Python, Python Data Structures, and Using Databases with Python
Coding is not my strength, but an area I am excited to grow. I signed up for my firm’s Women in Engineering initiative to learn Python via University of Michigan courses with a buddy. My buddy kept me accountable! Python is a complete different language, and I learned about strings, integers, lists, dictionaries, and tuples (which are IMMUTABLE).

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Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the Foundations course that I went on to complete the Data Structures and Databases course. I found SQL to be surprisingly easier to understand than Python. In my final project for databases, I added my location (Parsons) to a database, and was able to geolocate myself on a map!


Overall thoughts: Data analysis projects are interesting puzzles. I will get more into Data Science this year.

What should I learn next in Q2?

Leadership, Designing Culture, and Stand Up Comedy

In 2019, I’ve been focused on culture. Last week at work, my team (Marquee) participated in a 2-day long workshop to design culture. We participated in service design activities: creating a mixed-media collage about team culture and identity.

A few questions we asked ourselves are:

  • Who are we?

  • What do we do?

  • How do we provide value?

  • How do others see us?

Recently, I’ve also started taking Stand Up classes at Caroline’s School of Comedy. I’m learning a lot about presentation and leadership. I’ve discovered that I’m great at content and learning how to write a joke —but jokes are hard to write. A good UX writer is a strong boon to a team! My growth area is delivery - I want to be able to deliver like Alex or Mas in my class, who come full-on with energy!

I’m trying out a new routine during my Tuesday class.

I’m trying out a new routine during my Tuesday class.

Last week was Spring Break for Parsons. I’m a big reader and read David Ogilvy’s books On Advertising and Confessions of an Advertising Man. Although I am primarily a UX/Product Designer, I wanted to model after a creative leader.

I discovered that Ogilvy was a character! He is certainly a hard worker (80-hours a week) and a very engaging copywriter. But what stuck out to me is that Ogilvy was first a researcher —he references the importance of research and testing, and highlights his time working with Dr. Gallup. Ogilvy was extremely data-driven and felt it was important to write copy with specific facts - data - that would appeal best to his customers.

Sounds like a UX-er to me.

Don't bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.”
-David Ogilvy

Happy International Women's Day!

For International Women’s Day, I attended the Women in Industry event at General Assembly in NYC. Strong female leaders from Disney, Uber, Nike, and Dow Jones came out to represent and speak up about the importance of leading with inclusion.

Here’s a full house at General Assembly for International Women’s Day!


It was also 2 of my classmates from Parsons’ Birthdays. So we took a Parsons Women in Design photo to celebrate the birthdays. Classmates from Colombia, Peru, India, Taiwan, and China all came out —and I was one of the few Americans.

I’m hoping to create a platform for voices of classmates at my Parsons Masters of Strategic Design program to talk about their life experiences, stories, design, and what drew them to Parsons in the new future. Look forward to my attempt to define inclusion and diversity at Parsons through new media coming soon!


Service Design Meetup: Prototyping Workplaces

What makes a great workspace?

In a Service Design Collective Meetup recently, I worked with a team of designers, researchers, and service design experts to create what we believed would be a great workspace.

Our goal was to brainstorm - diverge in terms of creativity - and then converge to build our ideas out of pipe cleaners, balls, and stickies. Some of our best ideas were a matcha/coffee bar, green space, and phone booths to take meetings.

Here are a few images of our design process. Try to find the green space below!


Studio Sync + Resonant Leadership

I’m currently in Week 4 of my MS Strategic Design and Management. My studio team had our design crit last week and I’ve taught an Inversion during Design Leadership class on What is Resonant Leadership.

For design crit, my studio class’s prompt was to make a map of Parsons as a whole —with the constraint that we could not use geography. My team decided to research all the faculty’s backgrounds (there are 1400 professors at Parsons listed!) —and we learned that many faculty are entrepreneurs and come from a background in Architecture. My team decided to map faculty by where they had taught previously (teaching experience) to see if there was a connection — but after crit, we have decided to take a different route to look at both where faculty are from and where alumni go.

Design Innovation and Leadership has been an exercise in self-awareness. I taught a class on Resonant Leadership with my partner Vonetta and learned about the importance of being Positive Emotional Attractor (PEA). People gravitate to positive people (14 neurons in your brain light up), and away from negative people. Also, I looked at the dichotomy between those who give feedback and mentors. Mentors and people who provide feedback can provide the same information, but present in different ways. As resonant leaders, mentors present positive feedback, in terms of growth potential and goals.

Who do you look at as a resonant leader?

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