Interview with Shuchen Wang

Jobstack and PeopleScout | TITAN Business Awards
The Future of Hiring with JobStack and PeopleScout
March 14, 2024
Electrifying the World: How Volkswagen’s ID.7 Launch Sparked a Global Buzz
March 14, 2024

Shuchen Wang

Shuchen Wang, a User Experience Designer, has always been passionate about creation, a joy rooted in childhood activities of crafting and exploring aesthetics. This curiosity about the construction and functionality of things ignited an early interest in design.

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

I am Shuchen Wang, a User Experience Designer currently working in a design position at a financial company in the United States. I pursued my undergraduate degree in Product Design at Hubei University of Technology and later completed my graduate studies in Interaction Design at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

My educational background and professional experience have equipped me with a deep understanding of user-centred design principles and the ability to create intuitive and engaging user experiences.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

I have always had a passion for creation, stemming from my childhood where I found joy in crafting things and exploring the world of aesthetics. My curiosity about how things are built and how they function sparked an early interest in design.

As I grew older, this interest evolved into a deep appreciation for various forms of art, including novels, paintings, poetry, and films. These art forms captivated me, not just for their beauty but for their ability to delve into the human experience and reflect the world around us. This combination of creative impulse and an appreciation for artistic expression naturally led me to choose a career as a designer, where I could merge my love for creation with my fascination for art and human-centered experiences.

3Tell us more about your agency/company, job profile, and what you do.

I am currently employed at a financial company, where I specialise in designing internal products aimed at enhancing efficiency and collaboration among team members. My role involves a meticulous process of understanding user needs, navigating technical constraints, and meeting business objectives to craft optimal user experiences.

Prior to this, I worked at a startup where I was instrumental in developing an AI-based meeting transcript product. This role honed my skills in balancing innovative technology with practical user interface design. In both positions, my primary focus has been on creating user-centric designs that not only solve practical problems but also provide an intuitive and seamless experience for the users.

My job involves a blend of creative design, technical understanding, and strategic thinking to ensure that the products I work on are not only effective but also resonate well with the users.

4What does “design” mean to you?

To me, 'design' is a multifaceted concept that revolves around solving real-world problems in innovative and effective ways. It's about breaking boundaries and thinking outside the box to address the needs of different user groups.

Design involves a deep understanding of these diverse needs and creatively embracing limitations to find solutions that are not just functional but also aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. It's a process of exploration and experimentation, where the challenge lies in balancing practicality with creativity.

Ultimately, design is about making life easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable for people by transforming complex problems into simple, elegant solutions.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

My favourite kind of design is one that tackles complex problems with simplicity and elegance. I am particularly drawn to designs that create intuitive experiences where users can interact seamlessly without needing to think about how to use them. This type of design represents a perfect harmony between form and function, where every element serves a purpose and contributes to an effortless user experience.

Additionally, I highly value inclusivity in design, ensuring that products are accessible and accommodating to a wide range of users, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds. To me, the best designs are those that not only solve problems creatively but also foster an environment of inclusiveness and understanding.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

A good design is user-centred, intuitively simplifying complex challenges and ensuring seamless interaction. It's a blend of form and function, practical and scalable to various contexts.

Key to good design is inclusivity, accessible to all users regardless of background or ability. It's not merely about solving problems creatively but about enhancing everyday life through thoughtful, empathetic design that prioritises functionality, user experience, and adaptability.

7How did you come up with the idea for your award-winning design?

The idea for my award-winning design, 'Focus', originated from hearing friends complain about the poor user experience of in-car head-up display navigation systems. They often found these systems confusing while driving, leading to wrong turns.

Initially, our goal was to enhance the existing head-up display systems to make navigation simpler and clearer. However, after conducting user research, we shifted our focus to categorising information within the navigation system. This approach aimed to reduce the visual burden on drivers, enabling them to concentrate better and drive more naturally by streamlining the presentation of crucial navigation data.

8What was your main source of inspiration for this design?

Our main source of inspiration for this design was the valuable insights we gained from user interviews. During the research phase, we closely observed how drivers interacted with current Head-Up Display (HUD) systems and listened to their complaints and challenges.

These firsthand experiences and detailed feedback allowed us to understand the core issues at a deeper level. This direct engagement with users was instrumental in shaping our design approach, guiding us to develop solutions that directly addressed the problems and needs identified during these observations and interviews.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?

The concept of 'leaving space' in traditional Chinese landscape painting, significantly influences my design process. This art form emphasises highlighting key elements while leaving ample blank space, allowing viewers to engage their imagination. I've always admired this approach and its alignment with clean, direct design principles.

When designing 'Focus,' this concept became particularly relevant. Overly complex information systems in vehicles often led to driver confusion. Therefore, we decided to retain only the most crucial information at any given moment, enabling drivers to focus on their immediate driving experience. This approach reflects the minimalist and thoughtful essence of my cultural heritage.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the London Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Receiving the London Design Awards is a tremendous honour for both myself and our team. This award not only validates our hard work and dedication but also serves as a powerful motivator to continue pursuing our passion for design. It's a recognition that underscores our commitment to innovation and excellence in the field.

For the company, this distinction enhances our reputation and showcases our ability to produce award-winning work. It's a proud moment that inspires us to keep pushing the boundaries and creating designs that make a meaningful impact.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 London Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The project 'FOCUS' represents our innovative attempt in the field of intelligent driving, integrating augmented reality with car head-up display systems (AR HUD). Our goal was to enhance the driving experience by intuitively guiding drivers through traffic conditions and providing timely danger alerts.

What sets 'FOCUS' apart from existing market solutions is its departure from the typical HUD system design, which often overwhelms drivers with excessive, distracting, and redundant data. Our user-centred research revealed that drivers prefer precise and essential information over irrelevant details.

We restructured the information architecture into two categories: 'Persistent Information' and 'Situational Information.' This refined system reduces cognitive load by presenting only indispensable information. Additionally, our auditory alert system is synchronized with the visual display, providing varying levels of alerts based on the severity of potential dangers.

'FOCUS' is a thoughtfully designed solution that prioritises key information over information overload. It ensures drivers maintain focus on the road, thereby enhancing safety and driving pleasure. We chose to enter this project into the London Design Awards because it epitomises our commitment to creating user-centric, innovative solutions that significantly improve everyday experiences.

12What were the main challenges you faced during the design process, and how did you overcome them?

One of the main challenges in designing 'FOCUS' was my lack of experience with head-up display systems and an initial unfamiliarity with the necessary information and interactions.

To overcome this, we conducted interviews with users who were actively using HUD systems, asking about their experiences and pain points while driving with navigation. Most users reported being overwhelmed by complex information, leading to wrong turns or more serious issues. We closely observed drivers using HUD systems to understand which information was essential and which was secondary, allowing us to categorise the data effectively.

Another challenge was the limited variety of existing HUD systems on the market, offering few solutions to draw from. We aimed to innovate, introducing new concepts and solutions. We explored various navigation technologies, different visual display techniques, and even drew inspiration from science fiction movies and video games.

Eventually, we decided to incorporate AR technology into our solution, offering a more immersive navigation experience to users. This approach allowed us to address the challenges creatively, leading to the successful design of 'FOCUS'.

13How do you think winning this award will impact your future as a designer?
Winning this award inspires me to pursue bolder, more creative design projects, fueling my growth and innovation as a designer.
14What are your top three (3) favourite things about our industry?
My top three favourite aspects of the design industry are collaborating with incredibly creative minds, solving real-world problems, and constantly breaking boundaries to innovate.
15Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

Sustainable design practices:

The design sector is increasingly adopting environmentally friendly approaches, with a focus on sustainability and circular design principles. Designers are at the forefront of this shift, taking into account the life cycle of products, the materials used, and their environmental effects, aiming to minimise waste and carbon emissions.

Multi-modal experiences:

In the coming 5 to 10 years, design is set to evolve across various interfaces, adopting a multi-modal strategy. With technological progress, designers will focus on crafting fluid experiences that span across augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and voice interfaces. The key will be on ensuring adaptability and making these experiences accessible in response to changing user interaction patterns.

Integration of AI in design:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionising the design field through the use of machine learning and algorithms. I foresee a future where designers work alongside AI for analysing data, personalising user experiences, and automating tasks. The ethical implications of AI deployment are becoming an important factor in the industry's development.

16What sets your design apart from others in the same category?
Our design stands out due to its user-centric approach, simplifying complex information for intuitive use, and its innovative integration of AR technology, enhancing the driving experience. We focus on what's essential, reducing cognitive load, and prioritising safety and clarity, setting a new standard in the category.
17Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

In the next 5-10 years, the design industry will be profoundly transformed by the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence. This evolution will challenge designers to engage more deeply in critical thinking, questioning existing norms and standards.

As AI becomes more integrated into the creative process, designers will need to push the boundaries of innovation, finding new ways to blend technology with human-centric design principles. This period will be marked by a significant shift towards more intelligent, responsive, and user-focused design solutions.

18What advice do you have for aspiring designers who want to create award-winning designs?
Keep doing what you love.
19What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
I would recommend exploring art exhibitions and immersing yourself in various forms of art. Paying close attention to even the smallest details in these settings can spark inspiration and provide valuable opportunities for reflection and learning. This exposure to diverse artistic expressions can broaden your perspective and enhance your creative thinking, which is crucial in the design process.
20Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
I'm more of a cook than a designer.
21Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My friends have been my greatest inspiration in life. They come from diverse backgrounds, each bringing unique perspectives and experiences. Their varied journeys and the way they approach challenges continually inspire me, encouraging me to broaden my own horizons and embrace life's multitude of possibilities.
22What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Truly enjoy what you do and never be afraid of making mistakes.

Winning Entry

Focus | 2023

Focus | Shuchen Wang

Project Focus represents an innovative leap in the realm of intelligent driving, underpinned by the integration of an Augmented Reality Heads-Up Display … (Read more at London Design Awards)

Shuchen Wang

Shuchen Wang, a User Experience Designer, has always been passionate about creation, a joy rooted in childhood activities of crafting and exploring aesthetics. This curiosity about the construction and functionality of things ignited an early interest in design.

Read more about Shucen Wang's interview for the 2023 Vega Digital Awards!