Can Zhao

About

 
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Nice to meet you! I'm Can.

I just graduated with the Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction and Design at UW. 

I grew up in Shenzhen, China, the base of Tencent, Huawei, DJI and other technology companies. In this metropolitan environment, I observed people from all walks of life and reflected on the perceptions of everyday objects.

From a humanities background, I researched and taught contemporary new media theories in the US. I empathize with users from diverse cultures and I'm eager to impact on people's everyday experience. I appreciate elegant, logical design solutions based on solid decision-making process. 

 

From literature TO design

When I was a graduate student in Comparative Literature at the University of Washington, I was always intrigued by how print design might have changed the perceptions of text. 

In the field of humanities, narratives in books, newspapers, films are the essential primary sources for scholars. Yet how can we make sense of such large quantity of data and find a pattern in a certain historical period?  During my graduate studies, I explored multiple methods in the realm of digital humanities, and especially focused on the design and use of metadata for historical archives.

 Word Cloud of Fukuzawa Yukichi‘s essay " The Independence of Learning " (1883)

Word Cloud of Fukuzawa Yukichi‘s essay "The Independence of Learning" (1883)

 Pattern of cigarette advertisements I found in a 1930s Chinese Newspaper,  Hankou Times

Pattern of cigarette advertisements I found in a 1930s Chinese Newspaper, Hankou Times

When organizing and interpreting narratives from a historical perspective, I became interested in the mediations of narratives and how visual system could influence scholars' perceptions. I conducted context inquiry on films and magazines back in the 1930s by analyzing layers of narratives in archives and academic sources. Meanwhile, I tried to design a better way of representing these historical archives. Therefore, I had been trying to answer this question throughout my graduate studies: How can I design a better experience of engaging knowledge not only for scholars but also for the general public? 

Transferable Skills

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With this question in mind, I spoke to scholars of design and information technology, and finally stepped into HCI and design. With the skills I had as a humanities major, I was able to get trained systematically in the MHCID program. I enjoy every moment ideating, prototyping, and iterating design solutions! 

fun FACTS

  1. I can speak some basic French and some basic Japanese. My Cantonese is way better.

  2. I learned skiing by watching Youtube videos.

  3. I replaced a garbage disposal independently by watching Youtube videos (I can't live without Youtube!).

  4. I love singing cheesy songs really badly at karaoke (eg. "She Hates Me").