why? observing the real world social activity can reground us to see what real social activity look like so that we don’t get lost designing online social interaction.

how? grab a partner and go observe some where! (why working with partner when doing observation? Force you to talk about your idea, and rethink your assumption.)


constantly look for funny/weird things in the world. Keep observing.

while observing, be sure to balance the overwhelming information.

the environment plays a big role in shaping social interaction

while observing, broaden up your mind, be aware of tunnel vision, take account of the…

  1. Start out with stating the intent of the critique session: the desire to help
  2. Provide enough context or the progress state of the design
  3. Understand the ovjective of the design first before getting into asking questions. Understand what elements of the design are related to the
  4. Be careful with asking questions in design excercises. The design was came up with in very short time therefore when the designers were asked of a question that they had never considered, it would be a common pitfall for them to design on the fly.
  5. When giving critique, careful not to use “Yes, but…” but should use “Yes, and …” instead.
  6. Giver: critique is a gift. Imagine yourself giving gift, do you look happy or aggressive?

This is a record of a design exercise. The goal of this exercise is to use constrains to influence design decisions and generate design ideas.

The process:


We ask ourselves the following questions to brainstorm ideas.

What can we do on (current) social network?


post updates (text, image)

mini game (Messenger)

browse content (FB, IG, Twitter, Reddit, WeChat, Quora)

check out events (FB events, Yelp)

stalk someone (IG, FB, Twitter, Tinder) [P.S. stalking is bad, don’t do it :)]

window shopping (Amazon, Dealmoon)

mini video (AJ+, Vimeo, IG+SC)

read news/articles (Medium, FB, Twitter, Linkedin)

Direct Messaging (Messenger, Snapchat, Wechat…



Service Design

Non-visual interfaces (earphone controller, Ford’s foot operated hatchback, wand experience)

End to end experience (end to end and holistic research, chromecast, unpacking and on boarding experience: getting stated diagram on the box)

More diverse user (Microsoft inclusive design kit, accessibility, both permanent, temporary and situational)

cross cultural and international research (150–70 millions people join the global middle class annually — 88% will live in Asia. in 2020 8 millions projected)

Beyond tech… design of everyday things

“Third place” on the web: what should social network provide

Reading notes from Our Vanishing “Third Places”.

Third place is social gathering places people used to have in the community but no longer exist in nowadays society. Social network is kind of making amend for the lack of third place in the physical world.

  1. Third places help unify neighborhoods: community blog/forum; college Canvas; WeChat neighbor groups
  2. Third places also serve as “ports of entry” for visitors and newcomers to the neighborhood where directions and other information can easily be obtained: community forum; web index page; Google…? Yelp; Dazhongdianping
  3. Third places…

This article was written before Yelp version 11.22.0

1. Introduction

User generated content platforms have many different forms including open source system, Q&A sites, open content sites and crowd source platform. These platforms provide pure public goods, which is non-exclusive and rivalrous information. The content created by a single user can benefit all other users. These platforms rely on users to create content, thus it is crucial for these platforms to attract new users and motivate existing users to make contribution to the online community. …

When acting as a facilitator, noticing conflicts between different participants is important, and one should not try to smooth things down by hiding the conflicts under the table, but should rather let participants discuss and develop this conflicts. This would be a great opportunity to harvest new insights from everyone in the group.

Do not run away from conflict, confront it and utilize it.

Picture taken in Universal Studio Orlando.

Failing gracefully.

I like how this sign prompted the users that this is broken. Nice content.

We all use some many apps everyday, and almost all of them have some sort of social features built in. Sorting them using different type of labeling method can yield some very interesting design ideas.

  1. Business model: for example, there are B2B, B2C, donation, for profit, free to use. When sorting them out, we can easily see if there is any hole or any market opportunity.
  2. Restrictions: some apps cannot function under certain circumstances. YouTube needs high speed internet connection to run, so does Coursera; Facebook cannot be used in China, nor does Google; Universal Orlando app can be set…

Good UGC design. So tempting that I actually want to join lol.

Yihui Zeng

My design notebook.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store