chieri_wada.jpg
 

Chieri Wada

Part designer,
part observer of humans.

 

Short & sweet:

When I was a graphic designer, I felt myself wanting to make more of an impact. Reflecting back on my youth and watching my immigrant mother struggle with navigating interfaces, I realized that I wanted to utilize design to make digital experiences more inclusive. Furthermore, I’m a firm believer that tech can and should be a tool to spread health and happiness. My passion as a visual UX designer is to maximize tech & design as a force for good.

 

Currently…

WATCHING:

The Chef Show — Jon Favreau and Roy Choi’s adorable dynamic, coupled with the enticing artistic direction of the series makes me melt into a happy puddle (may or may not be drool).

LISTENING TO:

The Revenge of the Dreamers III —J. Cole is in my top 3 because his message to love above all... which comes through in his mentorship of the younger artists in his camp. I recommend watching the short documentary as well!

 

 

As a child, that art gallery was my pride and joy. My fashion choices though, not so much.

Unhappy pixel pusher

Back before shiny smartphones and apps existed, I was just a tomboy kid who loved art. My family would always find me at the dining table with colored pencils in hand, drawing anthropomorphic dogs like nobody’s business. Years later, I upgraded to making cooler and more *important* things like Xanga layouts and class T-shirts. Regardless of medium, I wanted to make even a slice of the world look better than it did before.

Living in Japan after college inspired me to follow my dreams of becoming a graphic designer. At first, freelancing felt so right - designing logos and flyers for local organizations. But eventually, I felt unsatisfied with the scope of my work. I found myself asking,

What kind of impact am I making?

 
My queen about to see the queen — Beyoncé

My queen about to see the queen — Beyoncé

Struggles as an immigrant

Growing up in an immigrant family, I witnessed first-hand the difficulties a non-English speaker faces in America through my mom. “Convenient” features like automated telephone services haunted her because of her accent.

They didn’t just keep her from completing a task; they taunted her and made her feel unwelcome in her home. I never understood why all user interfaces weren’t designed for edge cases like her. That’s when I realized something was inherently wrong:

Design wasn’t inclusive.

 
Happy in Tokyo, 95% because of conbinis

Happy in Tokyo, 95% because of conbinis

Designing a better world

These experiences made me realize that I want to do more than just make things look pretty. I craved more of a human element. I wanted to use my design skills to help the everyday person, to do more than design cool aesthetic but improve lives in some shape or form. Most importantly, I wanted my designs to help people feel happy and included.

After some soul searching (and Google searching), I found UX design and fell in love. User-centric design was the answer I was looking for:

To craft visually engaging designs that are usable and enjoyable!

I've spent the last year and a half molding my visual design, business, and anthropology backgrounds into a human-centered UX/UI design skill set. What now drives me as a designer is the ability to make a slice of the world function better than it did before.