From UX to HX

A response to Humans, not Users: Why UX is a Problem by Johannes Ippen.

The use of mobile phones has been embedded in our lives that it has become apart of our identity. It plays a prominent role in shaping aspects of human behaviour. According to research at Penn State, we use a gadget for 10 hours and 39 minutes on average (Cimino, 2018). Based on Harvard stats, 73% of us have experienced anxiety over losing our phones (Hartley, 2019). This anxiety and fear is now a recognisable psychological disorder called Nomophobia. This highlights why the way we utilise and interact with technology is significant; hence the need to pay closer attention to user experience, also known as UX.

Design is more than a language. It is a powerful tool that can influence and manipulate people. It is not only about creating aesthetically pleasing visuals, but also a decision of making things accessible and functional. Additionally, designers also create interactions and experiences, eventually generating a routine for people. 

Many products in the market are continually developing to provide the best user experience to achieve high user engagement rate. The force driving behind successful products is a great user experience design. Applications such as Instagram or TikTok are dominant in their space because of great UX. They know how to create addictive and feel-good experiences for their users. But this is also a problem. These products are services that target the mass audience, and they monetise through advertisement. Product designers and business strategists have found the perfect ratio of content and ads to place on their interface to make users come back for more. The higher the retention rate, the more money they earn. Every click, like, comment or share, is a recorded data for programmers to calculate and form a probability to curate a preferable content for the user. The designers base their decision on these metrics to produce a greater experience.

In Johannes Ippen’s TEDtalk, he mentioned how Snapchat had created what may seem like a fun feature to a concern. Snapchat, a direct communication tool, made a feature where if you send a ‘snap’ back and forth for a few days, you get rewarded by having a streak which is represented by a fire icon. The number beside the icon will gradually increase, the longer you keep the streak going (the number represents the days the two users have been ‘snapping’). And users of Snapchat do take this very seriously. Johannes commented on how a feature that emphasises the building of relationships could result in something that drives anxiety and labour. Thus a designer’s job is upmost crucial in creating not only the experience but also to consider the aftermath. Designers tend to make these design decisions to optimise longer usage and underestimate the impact it may have on relationships, health and how people may enjoy life. Ever since the launch of social media, the majority seek the need to document and publicise on social media instead of genuinely enjoying the small moments. We have formed a habit of publishing the best of life on social media and photoshop reality. This links back to a post I wrote in response to Wittkower’s article, “A Reply to Facebook Critics”.(

Designers have created these products that cause the fear of missing out, also known as FOMO in the millennial language. Although, this may mean that designers have succeeded in creating great user experience or customer experience. However, with the rise of societal issues, designers lack broader thinking. Designers need to stop basing decisions on short-term goals upon longer usage and to start understanding the impact it may carry. Johannes explained that designers need to shift the way they are thinking about design and to move beyond the engagement metrics and users. He further added that designers need to start designing products when they are not being used. Johannes tells the audience to imagine the human being and to develop a product for their needs and purpose in life. The product is a part of their life without creating negative impacts. He then continues explaining how designers can design a product that waits for their human to come back, rather than spamming them with notifications and alerts. Johannes encourages designers to stop thinking about user experience and to start designing for humans, also known as the human experience (HX). This would help human beings fulfil their purpose and respect their off-screen time, diminishing an addictive system and routine. 

It made me reflect that UX design can create a positive impact if designers direct their attention to it and not solely focus on monetisation. Thus, a switch of perspective is what designers need. To create a product that guides and aids human through HX—and not set up rabbit holes in the application. 

HX provides a more holistic, human-centric approach than UX. Its purpose is more than designing for the users to engage in or consume the product; it is to give life more meaning with the support of the product. In HX, there are three key areas to consider: happiness, empathy and emotional well-being. It provides designers to be more mindful of what they are creating for society and the next generation. It will enable designers to understand the consumer’s emotional journey within the application and how we may improve it. Henceforth, with the approach of HX in designers, the design decisions we make can lead to a better impact on the relationship between technology and human.

I would like to end with this quote:

“ There are only two industries that refer to their customers as ‘users’, one is of course IT, the other is the illegal drugs trade.”

— Edward Tufte

Cimino, A. (2018, February 21). IST 110: Introduction to Information Sciences and Technology. Retrieved November, 2020, from

Hartley, S. (2019, February 27). Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A battle for your time. Retrieved November, 2020, from

TEDTalk by Johannes Ippen:

Creative Industry Report: Sou Fujimoto

Sou Fujimoto, Sou Fujimoto Architects, Architecture Is Everywhere, 2015, MOMA, New York.

During my visit to The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, I chanced upon Sou Fujimoto’s work. Instantly, it left a deep impression on me and is one of the notable works I saw.

Architecture is Everywhere, by Sou Fujimoto uses various unexpected materials to construct unconventional miniature architectural models on pedestals. He seeks a different understanding of nature and exercises what we have around. For example, he would use everyday used objects such as potato chips, binder clips, or the sponge by the sink, and equates that to something as significant as the buildings we encounter daily by playing with scale, hence creating surreal situations with new meanings. The tiny structures are labelled with short aphorisms and are accompanied by small white human figures that interact with the spaces. Fujimoto creates whimsical and intricate architectural designs that ask the viewer to question their own space and how they relate to the ordinary objects around them—reflecting the notion of “found architecture”.

Fujimoto’s notion of “found architecture” proposes a new way forward for architecture and design. He suggested how we could harmonise the old and new, nature and human-made; creating a path to find the in-between. I admire his ability to incorporate humour and practicality into effortlessly stunning architectural pieces.

Architecture Is Everywhere also questions the curatorial process; like how Duchamp’s Fountain questioned the definitions of art and the context of the display. It led me to wonder if Fujimoto’s installation was not part of an exhibition with reputable artistic directions, and is presented differently, what would the outcome be? 

Design inspiration could come from anywhere, even the mundane objects. The smallest insignificant thing could be an inspiration for a deeper meaning, and it lies within how we can manipulate or curate it. From Fujimoto, I can take away his notion of “found architecture” and challenge myself how I can restructure and improve what has been done into something innovative. To respect and work with what already exists to create a higher quality of design.



Floor Nature. (n.d.). Biography of the Architect: Sou Fujimoto. Retrieved September, 2020, from fujimoto-120/

Fujimoto, S., & Architects, S. (2019). Sou Fujimoto, Sou Fujimoto Architects. Architecture Is Everywhere. 2015: MoMA. Retrieved September, 2020, from

Japan House. (n.d.). Who is Sou Fujimoto? Retrieved September, 2020, from

Quintal, B. (2015, October 23). AD Interviews: Sou Fujimoto / Chicago Architecture Biennial. Retrieved September, 2020, from

Waldek, S. (2016, June 22). Architect Sou Fujimoto Discusses 7 of His Favorite Projects [Digital image]. Retrieved September, 2020, from

Project 3 Final: Archetypes

During the first brief of this assignment, I had no idea how I would execute and show my type in referencing to the archetypes learnt. Hence, I started brainstorming and researching on brands to learn how they played on the chosen archetypes. It took me quite some while till I came up with a theme to form a unity. I have chosen to take on a theme of Disney Original Princesses to show the following chosen archetypes: Lover, Hero, Innocent, Ruler, Creator and Explorer. To make it more interesting, I went to experiment on a 3D shape to present my designed faces through a cube (in presenting the idea of a game dice). It holds the idea of a game for kids where you have to match up the two cubes together, in resulting the same connecting face/ archetype.

Initial ideas + process:

For each archetypes, I tried to find a scene from the movie to help inspire me with the layout and following design .

1. Lover – Anna, Frozen

(Reference Image/ Inspiration)
Scene: Love is An Open Door

I chose this scene as I personally think it really sets out the archetype, the lover, well where she puts her heart on her sleeve and giving it to someone she just met.

2. Hero – Mulan

(Reference Image/ Inspiration)
Scene: Reflection

Instead of choosing a scene that really captures Mulan’s heroic actions like the battle field scene or the end scene. I wanted to capture the beginning of a hero where you are still in self-doubt and an unquestioned identity.

3. Innocent – Snow White

I did not choose a specific scene for Snow White as I believe her actions and gullibility towards the bite of an apple shows it all. Thus, I went to form a bitten apple with type. Instead of choosing a cute rounded font, I went with a handmade ribbon font as I feel like it would suit Snow White better in the sense of innocence and sweetness.

4. Ruler – Elsa, Frozen

I referenced this picture for my layout to portray the swirl of Elsa’s powers. To add more elements, I placed snowflake letters, transform and distort, like how we learnt in class. It was truly an amazing skill to learn!

(Reference Image/ Inspiration)

5. Creator – Tinkerbell

Instead of choose a typeface, I went out to spice things a bit by using graphic forms of Tinkerbell’s tools in creating my type. Just like in the movie, where she creates a blueprint on an old textured paper. Thus, I used this idea to design my font.

(Reference Image/ Inspiration)

6. Explorer – Ariel, The Little Mermaid

(Reference Image/ Inspiration)
Scene: Part of your World

Last but definitely not least, I build upon Ariel’s curiosity to explore the other world as my inspiration layout. Designing a ongoing tunnel- like layout like the image below. I chose to form a rounded tunnel to reflect the infinite curiosity and exploration the archetype holds.



FACES+ Archetype Pairs:



With the aftereffects of the Great Depression and war in the 1950-60s, American consumerism burst into the persona of art. Designers produce objects with psychological needs of the users where it is responsive and organic; as it was believed that happiness could be achieved through the purchase of goods and services. Artists made popular culture their subject matter by appropriating images and objects such as common household items, advertisements from consumer products, celebrity icons and mass-media imagery. Pop Art reflected the simplicity of graphics and the directness of consumer packaging and advertising. This indicated the rise of drive in art for consumerism. Artists had no choice to embrace the market and social culture in order to survive.

Till today, you may think that design may still be in the palms of consumerism. In the contrary, I think that consumerism is in the palms of design. Design plays a key role in society and is seen everywhere. It is an immaculate visual communication. It should be expressed freely and displayed for the better. Thus, design should hold the concept of beauty for the eye, for the mind, for the heart and soul. An embodiment and resonation with emotion, without a form. 

Hyperessay: Tracking Transience 2.0 by Hasan Elahi

Art and technology has advanced to an age where it is a new intertwined notion. The use of technology has been embedded into our lives that it has become apart of our identity. Hasan Elahi views art and technology as a creative problem solving between the digital world and society. Tracking Transience, was more than an art project, it was a conceptual work that started from a mistaken identity of terrorist activities into a question of identity.

Hasan Elahi is a Bangladeshi-born American artist who plays with the concept of identity and privacy in the technological filled 21st century. He shows us how to use technology, which often overexposes our digital identity, in a way that ensures him more privacy. In 2002, Hasan Elahi was returning from one of his frequent trips abroad when he was detained in the airport. The FBI opened an investigation on him, which they pursued for the next six months. Instead of panicking or resisting, he decided to collaborate by starting Tracking Transience, which he calls “a project in self-surveillance.” He documents the locations and minute details of his day-to-day activities, such as the airports he’s been to, documentation of meals, hotel beds, toilets he has used, parking lots he has been to and so on. Elahi makes these compiled databases available to the public and the FBI through his website. Thus, giving the public visual and textual information about his whereabouts and doings. Moreover, there is an independent third party, his bank, which verifies his location and time where these point cross-reference through his purchases. These documentation creates a collage of himself exploring and interacting with the world. Elahi commented in an interview that a work that takes place online and the internet forms a conducive one-to-one interaction between the audience and the information given online.

Every photo taken in Tracking Transience 2.0 holds a sense of candidness, not staged nor organised into a peculiar manner. However, it is not ‘live’ enough as the artist could take the pictures anytime of any day and upload into the cloud whenever he feels like. This then invites the audience to question Elahi and if he is telling us the whole story or just what he wants us to see. In an interview, he stated that what he post may not be what it seems.

“As artists, we try to create experiences. The end result of Tracking Transience is the experience of going through the information and realising the reversal that’s taken place. By telling you everything, I’m really telling you nothing. I actually live a private and anonymous life and that you know very little about me. Telling you one part of my story.”

– Hasan Elahi

Through this project, Elahi brings a point where we have become a global society of surveillance. He has tapped into this phenomenon by giving up his data willingly and profusely on a daily basis by merging art, technology and his daily life. Giving excess information to everyone and sharing everything which devalues private information. In the contrary, he is also able to access the logs of who is viewing him on his website. So who is watching who? As Elahi commented in his TEDtalk, has watching unconsciously become apart of entertainment in our lives that may lead to a creation of a digital identity that might not be what it reflects? Elahi also questions that is the project still considered art if everyone such as the billion people out there did it. Living in the age of technology and social medias, creating your own individual archives has become the norm. Yet, to give someone information directly gives an individual a different persona in the third space. The use of social medias and online platforms, hypermedias, are also an extension tracker of our daily lives. It holds personal information that is beyond to what we want to display online. Each click, each link, each like tracks our online activity that it is ultimately stored in a cloud database. On the other hand, what we can control is how we shape our online personas and the reality to co-inhabit with new age technologies, using them to our advantage. This reflects the idea of cybernetic vision where not only it shapes modern science and technology but also bridge fields of knowledge in improving artificial control and communication. It can assist in the evolution of art through the use of computer and archive that holds the database in the cloud. This shares a growth concept from the dynabook.

An article by Wittkower, “A Reply to Facebook Critics,” brought up a point that one thing could mean thousands of different things or it could mean nothing to someone. Each of us see value in a variety of aspects. The norm in society just sets a standard where society could follow and share similarities with others in order to connect and feel ‘belongness’. Following on the psychology principle of socio-cultural, all human beings are social animals and has a need to belong. It may not necessarily apply to you as you could think otherwise. Living in a harsh and judgemental society whom may not be brave enough to voice out, this could lead to a creation of identity that may not be even true. Just as Elahi pointed out in Tracking Transience, everything that is out there is not what it may seem. Just like Facebook or Instagram, we post what we want to post to let others see and hide the things we do not want to show. We shape our profile in a certain way to be accepted in society. Or is it that the Facebook generation has shaped the way we are, what we want to share or hide, what we want our lives to look like in a profile page. Have we lost our true selves while creating a digital identity in a reflection of who we want to be but not necessarily who we are.

Overall, the evolution of new media history has derived vastly. It has become apart of our lives that gives us the access to manipulate different platforms in peer-to-peer communication. It has shaped the new age into an advancement where we have a choice to take it as an advantage to our society and arts.  With art and technology in hand, hypermedia improves mass engagement and creates opportunities for expression and interaction which allows the members of society, such as artists, activists and other political and cultural groups to disagree and challenge the dominant narratives set by norm. Till today, Tracking Transience 2.0 has been running and tracking the artist, Hasan Elahi without fully exposing his identity. Everything may not be what it seems, it is up to us to decide what to believe in and what to judge upon.

Interview between Hasan Elahi and Randall Packer
I share everything. Or do I? (TEDTalk: Hasan Elahi vs. the FBI: The Art of Self-Surveillance)

An Interview with Artist Hasan Elahi

Response to The Grid System

The Grid System

Grids act as a tool to help give consistency and order to page elements such as images and texts. 

“It allows you to think less about basic design principles and more about finding a design solution. This allows you to design at a more advanced level, being more able to think about advanced concepts like page rhythm.”

Applying grid and format: 

  1. Define the size of the page
  2. Define where the text will be placed
  3. Choose a font (best to stick to one and play with the typeface) 
  4. Test until you are satisfied with the type
  5. Decide how many units/columns you want your grid to be
  6. Create and apply grid
  7. Redefine the type area – play with certain composition and layout 
  8. Check how easy it is to read, how heavy it looks and how the type is positioned. Check on the gutters and leading.

There is no set rule on the number of grids you can create. However, the less divisions you have the more articulate and minimal your design will seem. The more divisions you create, the more complex the grid becomes to work with in keeping consistency. On the other hand, the more flexible your grid becomes, giving you various choices to play with your composition. There are multiple grid systems in the design world, but they each have their unique personality and uses. The final choice is up to the designer to articulate and choose what fits their design purpose the most.

Column Grid
Column grids are good to use when discontinuous information needs to be presented. It can be dependent or independent from each other, and crossed over by images/graphics, creating a different visual layout. One column might be used for text, another for images, and another for captions or quotes. This gives the page layout flexibility when organising texts onto the page. You can separate blocks of texts by placing them in different columns yet show a flow between them. It should also be able to accommodate legibility, too narrow of a column can make reading difficult.

Examples of a Column Grid System:

A symmetric column grid has all columns the same width. For example, the most common symmetric column grid will be found on printed newspapers to help organise information and stories.

An asymmetric grid has columns proportionally thinner or wider than others.

Other examples:

Modular Grid
Modular grids are like column grids but has consistent horizontal divisions from top to bottom in addition to vertical divisions from left to right. Between the column, row and the gutter creates a module. It allows you to arrange text in many various ways, thus this is good for complex projects that require more control than a column grid. The beauty of modular grid is that you can replace or add any module without affecting the rest of the system. Giving the whole page a consistent and structured aesthetic.

Examples of a Modular Grid System:


4 Types of Grids And When Each Works Best

A Quick Look at Types of Grids for Creating Professional Designs


Artist Choice: Hasan Elahi Tracking Transience

Tracking Transience 2.0

Hasan Elahi is a Bangladeshi-born American artist who plays with the concept of identity and privacy in the technological filled 21st century. He uses this concept and manipulates art and technology in a distinctive way that has gotten me in awe. Hasan Elahi shows us how to use technology, which often overexposes our digital identity, in a way that ensures him more privacy.

He commented that “As artists, we try to create experiences. The end result of Tracking Transience is the experience of going through the information and realising the reversal that’s taken place. By telling you everything, I’m really telling you nothing.”

In 2002, Elahi was mistakenly associated with terrorist activities. He was returning from one of his frequent trips abroad when he was detained in the airport. The FBI opened an investigation on him, which they pursued for the next six months. Instead of panicking or resisting, he decided to collaborate by starting Tracking Transience, what he calls “a project in self-surveillance.” He documents the locations and minute details of his day-to-day activities, then makes them available to the public and the FBI on his website and in his final art piece. Not only does Elahi gives visual and textual information but there is an independent third party, his bank, which verifies his location and time where these point cross-reference through his purchases. Thus, Tracking Transience was a response to a case of mistaken identity. An innovative art that can be created from someone else’s mistake, but then again in this modern day, what is the underlining of what art is or what has the meaning of art turn to?