My name is Dylan, and I’m a designer. I design in order to connect the capabilities of technology with the needs and expectations of users. I’ve done my job right if people are focused not on how to use a tool, but on what to use it for.
I believe that everyone should have access to technology, not just those with the privilege to spend years mastering it and to have bodies and minds similar to its developers. I say that good design empowers its users because design has the power to demystify and democratize technology, transforming it from an arcane power wielded only by experts to an accessible tool that anyone can use themselves.
Right now, I’ve just finished a master's degree in Information Management and Systems at UC Berkeley's School of Information focusing on immersive design and the sociology of information technology. I’m based out of Oakland, California and always interested in talking tech and society - feel free to drop me a line!
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
Yeah, yeah, this one is a cliche, but it’s considered the bible of UX design for a reason. I read this as a young mechanical engineering student, and Norman’s emphasis on the fundamental importance of affordances and design for human psychology have really shaped my attitudes as a designer. Required reading for all UX designers.
Xbox Adaptive Controller by Microsoft
The Xbox Adaptive Controller is an awesome example of a big company embracing accessibility. It’s clear from reviews that, while no magic bullet, this represents a major improvement in the user flow for disabled gamers, and that Microsoft paid significant attention to detail, right down to accessibility-friendly packaging (which hopefully will become standard for their other products too).
Microsoft’s work with nonprofits like Able Gamers to create this makes it a great example of designing with, not at.
Fantastic Contraption by Radial Games
Fantastic Contraption was one of the first commercially released VR games and in my mind still one of the best designed. In addition to a tutorial, intuitive controls, and a great core gameplay loop for anyone who considers themselves a tinkerer, it has a remarkable amount of redundancy. You can get new parts by pulling them from behind your back or plucking them off your cat (don’t worry, they regrow.) You can delete things by poking them with a pin or just tossing them off the ledge. You can play the whole thing one handed and at whatever scale you choose.
Overall, this game oozes good design, and stands out in my mind as the right way to introduce users to the world of VR.
Dungeons & Dragons
D&D is a game about collaborative storytelling and creative problem solving. For me, there’s few better ways to spend an afternoon than cracking jokes, rolling d20s, and trying to figure out what illusion my wizard can whip up to save us from the giant crowd of orcs thirsting for our party’s blood.
Rube Goldberg Machines
Rube Goldberg machines are “machine[s] intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overcomplicated fashion.” I absolutely love this absurd blend of mechanics and showmanship, and I’m proud to have had a hand in several throughout the years, such as this specimen based on Las Vegas.