skip to Main Content
sd design trek ucsd

Design Trek Brings San Diego Design Community Together

Design Trek Brings San Diego Design Community Together

Design Trek Brings San Diego Design Community Together

This past March, SD Design Trek took students and early-UX career professionals on a three-day showcase of design companies in San Diego to gain a firsthand look at what the local design community has to offer. The March 4 kickoff and showcase took place just down the hall from the Design Lab, in Atkinson Hall’s Auditorium. 

The event commenced with the words of keynote speaker, Amish Desai, who graduated from UCSD in 2003 with a Cognitive Science HCI degree and currently serves as the VP of Experiences at Moonshot. “[The talk] was about being design minded, in terms of design being much more than a craft and is actually a driver for business growth,” he says. “The idea is to instill some lessons I learned in the last 17 years as to why the importance of design is not just beautiful things but is also about doing experiments and making, driving cultural changes, creating experiences, analytics, and having business rigor.”

At the conclusion of Desai’s talk, the design showcase began. Participants were invited to mingle and network with design representatives from 16 different companies from a variety of fields, such as social enterprise, brand building, and education. 

ResMed, a medical equipment company, represented the rise of design thinking tools in healthcare. “In healthcare, traditionally, design hasn’t been used and it’s been more functional,” says ResMed UX Design Manager Dawn Ta. “But with the increase in popularity of user experience and user-centered design, there’s a lot more empathy being introduced into the healthcare system, which is really important for creating solutions that will actually solve for patient needs.”

While UX(user experience) is traditionally thought of as being applied to products, it is also equally important when designing services. “Service design is all about finding the root cause of what is the pain point for a user, and solving it,” expresses Grace Rieger, SD Service Jam Co-Chair and Design Lab member. “It’s not about a physical product.” The company visited the design showcase to teach participants about the process of the service design industry and how they could be involved in it. 

The design industry has evolved rapidly in recent years. One sector of the design community, user experience, or UX, has been at the forefront of this growth.  A few UX designers at the event easily noted the different ways they have seen this field change. 

 “I think the San Diego design community is a sleeping giant,” says Lisa Klein-Simon, Product Design Manager at Seismic. “It’s sort of been quiet, I think, in the past, but it’s on the verge of waking up and there seems to be a lot of interesting people coming to this area to do design.” 

Chris Gielow, leader of the local organization UX Speakeasy, also commented on the emerging nature of local design opportunities. “I’ve been in San Diego [for] about 12,15 years. When I first joined UX Speakeasy, I think there were about 12 people at a local event; now we have over 2800 members,” says Gielow. “I think the Bay Area, for a long time, has been where everybody’s migrated north, and I think now, San Diego has a strong case to make for bringing these tech companies locally to San Diego to take advantage of the incredible talent pool, the incredible schools that exist here in San Diego, and we’re starting to see that.” 

Ta was quick to also point out the tight-knit aspect of the community. “I would describe the San Diego design community as family. Everybody’s welcoming, they’re all warm, it’s like seeing a distant cousin I haven’t seen in a while whenever I come to one of these events,” she says. “I think everyone’s really passionate about user experience, design, and that’s really great and comforting because some people are Designer 1 at their company or they work with a lot of engineers or marketing so when they come together with other designers, it just feels like home.” 

Events like SD Design Trek help to bridge the gap between design professionals and design novices. Students can start making connections, find potential internships and jobs, and begin to see that there is a future for them in San Diego design. There is no doubt that the design community will continue to expand, and these students will be the next drivers of this growth. 

 “For me, I’ve got a great career in Design. I always have people asking me how I got into it,” says Teena Singh, Co-Driver of Design Trek and Customer Liaison at ServiceNow. “[Design Trek] is a great way to introduce design to students, and show them that there are opportunities. It’s a great way to give back to the community.”

Sypraseuth Vandy, Creator and Co-driver of the SD Design Trek, commented on the overall experience of the event. “Design Trek 2020 was a massive growth year for us, being in its third iteration. The number of attendees grew by 79% and sponsors by 21% over last year. It is humbling to see the community come together year after year to support early-career and transitioning designers. Trekkies have viewed the event as a unique opportunity to network and see the actual practices of UX design from the perspective of industry professionals. This was never something I had exposure to when I entered the industry and has been truly rewarding to see attendees crave this kind of experience. Throughout the trek, several attendees expressed strong interest in volunteering next year to contribute their design craft early and help shape the event. Although SD Design Trek is primarily driven by our industry design leaders and organizations, we are especially grateful to involve past Trekkies who have volunteered their time to elevate this year’s event.”

Through the active participation of local design platforms and organizations like the Design Lab, SD Design Trek is helping shape the city’s growing design industry.  It exposes emerging designers to the scope of their field and its opportunities in the region.  It also helps document the sector’s evolution into a critical part of the San Diego region’s DNA.

Videos

This past March, SD Design Trek took students and early-UX career professionals on a three-day showcase of design companies in San Diego to gain a firsthand look at what the local design community has to offer. The March 4 kickoff and showcase took place just down the hall from the Design Lab, in Atkinson Hall’s Auditorium. 

The event commenced with the words of keynote speaker, Amish Desai, who graduated from UCSD in 2003 with a Cognitive Science HCI degree and currently serves as the VP of Experiences at Moonshot. “[The talk] was about being design minded, in terms of design being much more than a craft and is actually a driver for business growth,” he says. “The idea is to instill some lessons I learned in the last 17 years as to why the importance of design is not just beautiful things but is also about doing experiments and making, driving cultural changes, creating experiences, analytics, and having business rigor.”

At the conclusion of Desai’s talk, the design showcase began. Participants were invited to mingle and network with design representatives from 16 different companies from a variety of fields, such as social enterprise, brand building, and education. 

ResMed, a medical equipment company, represented the rise of design thinking tools in healthcare. “In healthcare, traditionally, design hasn’t been used and it’s been more functional,” says ResMed UX Design Manager Dawn Ta. “But with the increase in popularity of user experience and user-centered design, there’s a lot more empathy being introduced into the healthcare system, which is really important for creating solutions that will actually solve for patient needs.”

While UX(user experience) is traditionally thought of as being applied to products, it is also equally important when designing services. “Service design is all about finding the root cause of what is the pain point for a user, and solving it,” expresses Grace Rieger, SD Service Jam Co-Chair and Design Lab member. “It’s not about a physical product.” The company visited the design showcase to teach participants about the process of the service design industry and how they could be involved in it. 

The design industry has evolved rapidly in recent years. One sector of the design community, user experience, or UX, has been at the forefront of this growth.  A few UX designers at the event easily noted the different ways they have seen this field change. 

 “I think the San Diego design community is a sleeping giant,” says Lisa Klein-Simon, Product Design Manager at Seismic. “It’s sort of been quiet, I think, in the past, but it’s on the verge of waking up and there seems to be a lot of interesting people coming to this area to do design.” 

Chris Gielow, leader of the local organization UX Speakeasy, also commented on the emerging nature of local design opportunities. “I’ve been in San Diego [for] about 12,15 years. When I first joined UX Speakeasy, I think there were about 12 people at a local event; now we have over 2800 members,” says Gielow. “I think the Bay Area, for a long time, has been where everybody’s migrated north, and I think now, San Diego has a strong case to make for bringing these tech companies locally to San Diego to take advantage of the incredible talent pool, the incredible schools that exist here in San Diego, and we’re starting to see that.” 

Ta was quick to also point out the tight-knit aspect of the community. “I would describe the San Diego design community as family. Everybody’s welcoming, they’re all warm, it’s like seeing a distant cousin I haven’t seen in a while whenever I come to one of these events,” she says. “I think everyone’s really passionate about user experience, design, and that’s really great and comforting because some people are Designer 1 at their company or they work with a lot of engineers or marketing so when they come together with other designers, it just feels like home.” 

Events like SD Design Trek help to bridge the gap between design professionals and design novices. Students can start making connections, find potential internships and jobs, and begin to see that there is a future for them in San Diego design. There is no doubt that the design community will continue to expand, and these students will be the next drivers of this growth. 

 “For me, I’ve got a great career in Design. I always have people asking me how I got into it,” says Teena Singh, Co-Driver of Design Trek and Customer Liaison at ServiceNow. “[Design Trek] is a great way to introduce design to students, and show them that there are opportunities. It’s a great way to give back to the community.”

Sypraseuth Vandy, Creator and Co-driver of the SD Design Trek, commented on the overall experience of the event. “Design Trek 2020 was a massive growth year for us, being in its third iteration. The number of attendees grew by 79% and sponsors by 21% over last year. It is humbling to see the community come together year after year to support early-career and transitioning designers. Trekkies have viewed the event as a unique opportunity to network and see the actual practices of UX design from the perspective of industry professionals. This was never something I had exposure to when I entered the industry and has been truly rewarding to see attendees crave this kind of experience. Throughout the trek, several attendees expressed strong interest in volunteering next year to contribute their design craft early and help shape the event. Although SD Design Trek is primarily driven by our industry design leaders and organizations, we are especially grateful to involve past Trekkies who have volunteered their time to elevate this year’s event.”

Through the active participation of local design platforms and organizations like the Design Lab, SD Design Trek is helping shape the city’s growing design industry.  It exposes emerging designers to the scope of their field and its opportunities in the region.  It also helps document the sector’s evolution into a critical part of the San Diego region’s DNA.

Videos

This past March, SD Design Trek took students and early-UX career professionals on a three-day showcase of design companies in San Diego to gain a firsthand look at what the local design community has to offer. The March 4 kickoff and showcase took place just down the hall from the Design Lab, in Atkinson Hall’s Auditorium. 

The event commenced with the words of keynote speaker, Amish Desai, who graduated from UCSD in 2003 with a Cognitive Science HCI degree and currently serves as the VP of Experiences at Moonshot. “[The talk] was about being design minded, in terms of design being much more than a craft and is actually a driver for business growth,” he says. “The idea is to instill some lessons I learned in the last 17 years as to why the importance of design is not just beautiful things but is also about doing experiments and making, driving cultural changes, creating experiences, analytics, and having business rigor.”

At the conclusion of Desai’s talk, the design showcase began. Participants were invited to mingle and network with design representatives from 16 different companies from a variety of fields, such as social enterprise, brand building, and education. 

ResMed, a medical equipment company, represented the rise of design thinking tools in healthcare. “In healthcare, traditionally, design hasn’t been used and it’s been more functional,” says ResMed UX Design Manager Dawn Ta. “But with the increase in popularity of user experience and user-centered design, there’s a lot more empathy being introduced into the healthcare system, which is really important for creating solutions that will actually solve for patient needs.”

While UX(user experience) is traditionally thought of as being applied to products, it is also equally important when designing services. “Service design is all about finding the root cause of what is the pain point for a user, and solving it,” expresses Grace Rieger, SD Service Jam Co-Chair and Design Lab member. “It’s not about a physical product.” The company visited the design showcase to teach participants about the process of the service design industry and how they could be involved in it. 

The design industry has evolved rapidly in recent years. One sector of the design community, user experience, or UX, has been at the forefront of this growth.  A few UX designers at the event easily noted the different ways they have seen this field change. 

 “I think the San Diego design community is a sleeping giant,” says Lisa Klein-Simon, Product Design Manager at Seismic. “It’s sort of been quiet, I think, in the past, but it’s on the verge of waking up and there seems to be a lot of interesting people coming to this area to do design.” 

Chris Gielow, leader of the local organization UX Speakeasy, also commented on the emerging nature of local design opportunities. “I’ve been in San Diego [for] about 12,15 years. When I first joined UX Speakeasy, I think there were about 12 people at a local event; now we have over 2800 members,” says Gielow. “I think the Bay Area, for a long time, has been where everybody’s migrated north, and I think now, San Diego has a strong case to make for bringing these tech companies locally to San Diego to take advantage of the incredible talent pool, the incredible schools that exist here in San Diego, and we’re starting to see that.” 

Ta was quick to also point out the tight-knit aspect of the community. “I would describe the San Diego design community as family. Everybody’s welcoming, they’re all warm, it’s like seeing a distant cousin I haven’t seen in a while whenever I come to one of these events,” she says. “I think everyone’s really passionate about user experience, design, and that’s really great and comforting because some people are Designer 1 at their company or they work with a lot of engineers or marketing so when they come together with other designers, it just feels like home.” 

Events like SD Design Trek help to bridge the gap between design professionals and design novices. Students can start making connections, find potential internships and jobs, and begin to see that there is a future for them in San Diego design. There is no doubt that the design community will continue to expand, and these students will be the next drivers of this growth. 

 “For me, I’ve got a great career in Design. I always have people asking me how I got into it,” says Teena Singh, Co-Driver of Design Trek and Customer Liaison at ServiceNow. “[Design Trek] is a great way to introduce design to students, and show them that there are opportunities. It’s a great way to give back to the community.”

Sypraseuth Vandy, Creator and Co-driver of the SD Design Trek, commented on the overall experience of the event. “Design Trek 2020 was a massive growth year for us, being in its third iteration. The number of attendees grew by 79% and sponsors by 21% over last year. It is humbling to see the community come together year after year to support early-career and transitioning designers. Trekkies have viewed the event as a unique opportunity to network and see the actual practices of UX design from the perspective of industry professionals. This was never something I had exposure to when I entered the industry and has been truly rewarding to see attendees crave this kind of experience. Throughout the trek, several attendees expressed strong interest in volunteering next year to contribute their design craft early and help shape the event. Although SD Design Trek is primarily driven by our industry design leaders and organizations, we are especially grateful to involve past Trekkies who have volunteered their time to elevate this year’s event.”

Through the active participation of local design platforms and organizations like the Design Lab, SD Design Trek is helping shape the city’s growing design industry.  It exposes emerging designers to the scope of their field and its opportunities in the region.  It also helps document the sector’s evolution into a critical part of the San Diego region’s DNA.

Videos

Read Next

How They Got There: Janet Johnson

Graduate student Janet Johnson is currently working towards her doctorate degree in Computer Science, while also conducting HCI research in the UCSD Design Lab, primarily focusing on XR (extended reality).

So, what is Johnson’s research?  Johnson conducts HCI research, primarily focusing on XR. As Johnson describes it, “XR is an umbrella term for augmented reality, augmented virtuality, mixed reality, and virtual reality.” She says to think of it as a spectrum where one end is the real world alone, the other is complete virtual reality, and everything in between is varying mixes of the two. Johnson’s research primarily focuses on this mixed middle ground. “The majority of my research focuses on how we can use mixed reality or extended reality to help a novice…get help from an expert.” She then poses the example of both surgery and CPR. Johnson’s research explores ways for an expert to provide instructions to the novice as if though they were in the same room. Her goal is to help bridge the distance between novices and experts, both physically and skill wise, while also decreasing the amount of time a person receives aid. “By the time a medical personnel arrives at the scene, it’s already been 7 to 10 minutes, so each minute counts for the person’s life,” she explains. “You don’t have time in that 10 minutes to train the people around to be able to do CPR or any other sort of resuscitation, same with surgery.” 

As Johnson continues to conduct her research in this field, she’s excited for what the future holds for this technology and the ways she can contribute to it.  
Building New Bridges: San Diego And Tijuana’s Combined Bid Breaks Down Barriers To Bi-National Cooperation

Building New Bridges: San Diego and Tijuana’s Combined Bid Breaks Down Barriers to Bi-National Cooperation

As dusk hovered over The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park on October 3 at the ‘Welcome Home, Bienvenido a Casa’ event, reflections off the San Diego Bay illuminated an evening of excited anticipation more than five years in the making. Will the San Diego-Tijuana megaregion take home the win in their bid to be the 2024 World Design Capital? Or will it be their competitors, Moscow?

Hosting the event and spearheading the San Diego-Tijuana bid initiative is the interorganizational collaboration of Design Forward Alliance, UC San Diego Design Lab and the Burnham Center for Community Advancement, with the full support of the City of San Diego and City of Tijuana and regional elected officials. This collective was created to amplify San Diego’s capacity as a global leader in human-centered design-driven innovation. The combined communities of art, culture, business, education, civic and design worked together in a multi-year, multi-national collaboration culminating in this night of solidarity for the joint-effort to win the coveted World Design Capital designation—a year-long city promotion program that would begin in 2024 and put the region on the global stage as a world-class innovator of economic, social, cultural and environmental design solutions for a better society.

“It’s not just about gaining the World Design Capital title,” said the Director of The Design Lab, Mai Thi Nguyen. “It’s about how we actually want to contribute and collaborate on multidisciplinary design innovation throughout the region, nationally and globally.”

Indigenous knowledge and advocacy is now seen as vital to the fight against climate change

As nations develop strategies to combat climate change, they're beginning to turn to solutions from the indigenous communities that have been on the front lines of the efforts to protect the planet.

A 2021 report from the indigenous rights organization, the ICCA, details just how much the rest of the world depends on indigenous communities for preserving planetary health.

"In Latin America and the Caribbean, Indigenous and tribal peoples manage between 330 and 380 million hectares of forest," the ICCA report said. "Those forests store more than one-eighth of all the carbon in the world’s tropical forests and house a large portion of the world’s endangered animal and plant species. Almost half (45 per cent) of the large ‘wilderness’ areas in the Amazon Basin are in Indigenous territories and several studies have found that Indigenous peoples’ territories have lower rates of deforestation and lower risk of wildfires than state protected areas."
LAUNCH_Design Lab

LAUNCH: A new community innovation platform will empower rural cancer patients

A new web platform released by LAUNCH (Linking & Amplifying User-Centered Networks through Connected Health), a public-private collaboration of which the University of California San Diego Design Lab is a founding member, will enable community-led connected cancer innovation. The platform, “LAUNCHPAD,” may be found at launchhealth.org.

"This contextual research demonstrates the complexity of community-based design. It shows how faith, independence, and family are critical to understanding healthcare. Many standard methods of applying community-based workers completely ignore these issues." - Don Norman, Design Lab Director
Design Lab Global

Design Lab Gains Global Perspective with New Student Program

The Design Lab is launching the Global Scholars program this spring quarter, an exciting new initiative for graduate-student learning.

Known for creating human-centered design solutions that focus heavily on users’ needs and behaviors, the Design Lab, located within the Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego, is home to an impressive team of interdisciplinary designers, engineers, technologists, scientists and business leaders who work on large-scale complex socio-technical challenges regionally and beyond.
How To Reduce Obesity Among Latino Children

How to Reduce Obesity among Latino Children, with Precision

UC San Diego and community collaborators receive $3 million grant to develop more community-centered, precision approaches to reducing adverse childhood events that lead to obesity, a nationwide problem

“Working with the Latino community, we want to create a family-based approach to improve individual and community resilience to stress and address the obesity epidemic,” said lead principal investigator Gary S. Firestein, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and ACTRI director.

Blanca Meléndrez, director of the Center for Community Health at UC San Diego and a co-principal investigator on the study with Eric Hekler, PhD, Design Lab member, professor and interim associate dean for community partnerships in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health, said that beyond determining which methods best promote resiliency and reduce obesity among children, researchers and community collaborators will seek to create interventions that can be delivered to different families that match a family’s unique circumstances and needs.
Back To Top