Graciously hosted at the R/GA Portland office, Seattle designers Flo Truong & Lauren Celenza led us in a ‘storytime’-style presentation and discussed the changing landscape of digital design which included lots of personal anecdotes as how design and technology have weaved through their lives and experiences thus far.
More about the designers:
Flo Truong – Principle Designer
Flo has always been curious about how people alter their day-to-day to make it fit just a little better for themselves. Objects, spaces, routines, relationships.
“I wonder what’s missing, what’s working, and what could be better (and what does better mean?). So often these questions have led me to intimate conversations with strangers, glimpses into how our brains are wired, and many trials and errors by building and testing.”
Lauren Celenza is a senior designer and anthropologist for Google Maps, where she focuses on shaping the map to better fit the needs of emerging cities around the world. She is also a listener, photographer, and advocate. Her work has taken her to India, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Africa. Through her travels, she works with local communities to understand the leading indicators of their changing city, and to also help shape design & technology in ways that are more inclusive and participatory. She also facilitates workshops to help product teams forecast what’s ahead and deeply understand and relate to their audience, building stronger connection and retention.
*Lauren mapping her major moves across the country
She left us with some great food for thought about how intertwined our daily lives are with technology. In her experience these tech companies have been primarily focused on business metrics and disregard patterns of human nature, how can we bring back a more human-focused approach in such a quickly moving industry?
Flo’s career has taken her from graphic design to art direction to advertising and UI – from the west coast to the east coast and back again. From leaving the artistic freedom of Emily Carr University and transitioning to working for agencies, she has faced creative challenges. Through the early part of her career when faced with a design challenge, she found herself asking ‘how does it look’. As she gained more experience, the question changed to ‘how is it used’, then ‘how is it made’. Now she’s exploring the deeper idea of ‘why it’s made’. She thinks there is more to design than KPI’s and making millennials spend more.
*Flo mapping “why it’s made”
Flo and Lauren are now currently exploring their shared passions in designing for human patterns and design for marginalized populations. Their first project has been talking to a legally blind woman and exploring how technology impacts her life and they created a video to communicate this project, see link below. They are interested in exploring the stark contrast between digital design teenagers, who inherently understand technology and aging adults, who can struggle with it. They are interested in looking at human centered design first and technology second as they progress with new collaborative projects.