C-19 visual diary

For those of us who work from home.

Work-life has blurred with the personal, no more 8-to-5, no meetings at Starbucks, no leaving the office behind‑Work follows US around, in the kitchen, the living room, the studio… I suppose that over time I’ll learn how to close the computer after a certain time, how to stop checking emails at each ring, and how to ignore that last request…

As I learn to divide my attention between work and family, I have to make space for another big presence from these past few weeks: The News. Reading articles, watching updates, scanning social media for the latest update, in the hope not to find any, has become an addiction. One day I will wake up reading “All CLEAR” in big letters; until then I will make sketches to capture what is happening in the world. I don’t know how many drawings will follow, but here is the first one, for Saturday the 21st of March.

March 21.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he is signing the “New York State on PAUSE” executive order, a 10-point policy to assure uniform safety for everyone.



March 22.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has put herself under self-quarantine after learning that her doctor who had vaccinated her against pneumonia on Friday has tested positive for COVID-19.


March 23.
Pope Calls for World Prayer to Stop Coronavirus.


March 24.
The president is advocating for loosening social distancing guidelines in order to accelerate economic stability amid the coronavirus pandemic.


March 25.
Senate passes massive $2 trillion coronavirus spending bill.


March 26.
Covid-19 could devastate poor countries.


March 27.
The coronavirus is expanding the surveillance state. How will this play out?

My Work Experience

Over the past 15 years I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of products, teams, and companies, from start-ups to F500. I have joined software development teams with their own version of Agile, some embracing “lean” more than others, and some striving to find balance between vision and execution.

Regardless of who these team were, and in what market they operated, they all needed to integrate design into their process. This has been my personal challenge throughout the years, one which I have learned to tackle in parallel to my work, and one which has thought me a lot about people and my role as UX Designer.

Ultimately what I have experienced is that by working closely with teams and leadership, highlighting each one’s area of expertise, and stimulating a sense of partnership, we can generate meaningful output and create a healthy environment.

CX | Airports

The trip feels long, I wonder how the experience could be designed to make it seamless.

Purchasing a direct flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam did help with simplifying the experience: no need to roam between airports looking for your connecting flight.

Packing everything in just one checked-in luggage, one carry-on, and one purse, takes care of the mobility: no dragging of heavy and bulky luggage.

Buying tickets in time helps with the choice of flights: no uncomfortable hours to wake up to.

Cozy clothing to endure the many hours sitting in a small place, and to comply to the airport screening procedures, softens the impact; as are the wheels to any luggage; valid passports; and a private ride to the airport.

Is there anything else a passenger can do?

I’m sure the seating position could be one, with the choice for first and second class being a differentiator for the experience during the flight.

But is this really an option? Who wouldn’t choose a first class ticket?

While each of the previous stratagems requires some planning, this latter one is of a different nature: the price difference between the two classes is so wide, that it almost takes away the option to choose.

Perhaps, this should be a shared responsibility, between the airline and its passengers, where the seating-design is comfortable across the spectrum, and the price difference is based on luxury services rather than experiences. *

Would this additional piece make the experience of flying across continents, seamless?

Interestingly enough, I don’t think so.

The time spent in long zig zag lines waiting to remove your shoes, the multiple stops to go through check-ins, custom, gates, and on-boarding penalizing lines, it all seems to be reinforcing a condition of punishment instead of delight. What modern retail store would ever ask its clientele to continue standing in long line to make their payments?

The flying journey is still an experience based on an old model, one that puts customers second, and justifies unfriendly experiences in the name of top-down decisions.

There is a great opportunity here for designers interested in changing the way we serve needs, one that can be accomplished by working holistically across the spectrum of interactions, technologies and innovative visions.

I would love to join the thinking for the next generation of “teleportation” 🙂

* This could be a blog for another time!

Cartoon | Metaphor

One day a lady came to speak with my team about the feedback that had been given to our manager. She wanted to understand our thoughts and asked us to describe how we felt. The first one to speak, was Sandy.

I still remember her words, she considered herself in an eternal honeymoon.

Here are few vignettes I made in Procreate and imported in Adobe XD.

CX | Design Thinking

I recently found an article on Harvard Business Review* about Design Thinking and the role of leadership to enable it within project teams to overcome inefficiencies, uncertainties, and emotional flare-ups.

The challenge being that in work settings where employees are long accustomed to being told to be rational and objective, these methods may sound subjective and overly personal.

For a long time, DT has been part of the tools of designers, to create human-centered products, services, solutions, and experiences, by establishing a personal connection with the people for whom a solution is being developed. Designers seek a deep understanding of users’ conditions, situations, and needs by endeavoring to see the world through their eyes and capture the essence of their experiences. The focus is on achieving connection, even intimacy, with users.

With DT methods relying and encouraging divergent thinking to explore options that bring innovation, it may be potentially unsettling for people who are accustomed to valuing a clear direction.

Particularly when it comes to accepting the discomfort that comes from failure. Failure is an intrinsic part of the design process; it is the reason why we learn what works and what doesn’t. The iterative prototyping and testing involved in these methods work best when they produce lots of negative results—outcomes that show what doesn’t work. But piling up seemingly unsuccessful outcomes is uncomfortable for most people.

Failure is probably the most critical skill that any designer and now project-teams will need to learn if we want to discover greater new possibilities for change, improvement, and innovation.

Having the support of our leaders, to leverage empathy, encouraging divergence and navigating ambiguity, while rehearsing new futures, it will allow project teams to move faster and …

*March-April 2019. Harvard Business Review.

ITT | Teen Tech Week

This year we are back at the Walnut Creek library with a three-day coding workshop.

Part how-to, part fun-learning, this hands-on workshop designed by three girls who Design, Code and Deploy in the real world, is an invitation to the wonderful world of software development.

Targeted to kids, from 9 to 15 years old, who may have never looked at the code behind their favorite website, have or wish they had a blog, have coded, or are just interested in understanding the buzz, this workshop, has them itching to create their own website and learn how to make the world a better place.



Day 1: Overview of software development cycle, with interactive activities to define goals, design flow-diagrams, and site architecture.

Day 2: Hands-on activities to build website, using free online software with templates and ad hoc HTML/CSS training.

Day 3: Pairing activity to test each others’ product, ending with individual presentations.



The kids finished and presented their websites, surprising everyone with their talents. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed the wonderful kids!

Take a look at their work…

AI | Framework

I have been a Senior UX Designer at John Muir Health for five years. Two years ago, I became an HRO Ambassador. This function enabled me to expand my network of colleagues, to work with more people and on different projects and as I did so I came to a realization: How much we could use Artificial Intelligence to help us make superior data-driven decisions, understand patient and employee needs better, and streamline processes.

Some of the challenges I learnt about are:

How to empower Hub’s users on our new intranet platform.
How to galvanize and automate the SEARCH initiative.
How to enable document collaboration and conversation among EST teams.
For HR, how to preserve and disseminate critical knowledge, automate generation of forms, run surveys, and monitor employee engagement.

I always assumed that Artificial Intelligence was too complex to understand and implement. This is true of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), which refers to AI that can perform any intellectual task that a human being can, but there is also another form of AI called Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) that specializes in performing a single task extremely well. These are AIs used in a smart speaker, a self-driving car, AI web searches, bots, or AI applications in farming and a factory.

As I started a certification program in AI and began focusing on the solutions that are being developed in the healthcare space, I learnt that ANI is accessible, and relatively easy to implement. ANI, when executed correctly, can not only streamline mundane tasks and accelerate evidence-based decision making but it can reveal valuable insights about users, which is music to my ears! Or as someone famously said: Designers and data scientists live in an unexpected Venn diagram of intent.

So, where do we go next? Here is a brainstorming framework that allows teams to evaluate good ANI candidates; think of these in terms of automating tasks rather than automating jobs:

Can you think of a task in your job that can be automated?
What is the main business value of automating this task?
What are the crucial pain points in performing this task?

Chances are, if you can think of it, it will be a good candidate for ANI.

Feel free to use this framework and share your findings.

JMH | Research Award

I have been researching and collaborating with Rian, from the ITS department, to improve patient-access to scheduling Imaging services and reduce staff time and resources when tracking down work-orders.

After putting together an analysis of the benefits, complete with diagrams, screenshots, and testimonials from in-person interviews, we submitted the idea to the Transformation Department for evaluation.

I am thrilled to say that we WON! This was a great example of collaboration across departments. Between Rian’s specialized knowledge of Epic Systems, and my user-centered approach, we have been recognized for combining both the technical and the human perspective.






Below is a summary of the suggestion with the journey map we put together to visualize the process [ view ]


When an imaging-exam is ordered by a provider–x-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc.–the request is added to a scheduling work-queue for the PAS team to use when scheduling the exam. With more than 3,000 orders in the queue on any given day, the PAS team schedules only 700 of them on a daily basis, after a patient calls the Central Scheduling number.

With scheduling dependent on patients calling and talking to the scheduling personnel, it can lead to phone-tag and language misunderstandings, which in turns causes delays in patient care and patient overall experience.



With the new Ticket Scheduling, our system generates a one-time, single use option to schedule the associated test online directly from the patient portal. Once the test is scheduled, the option is removed, thus preventing inappropriate appointments or duplicates.



Decreased turn-around time from order to appointment, to result, improving patient safety and adherence.

Diminished wait/hold times on the phone for patients.

Reduced miscommunication between patient and staff scheduling the appointment, and trying to answer screening questionnaires over the phone.

Guarantees the order is associated to the scheduled appointment.

Increased MyJMH Patient Portal activation rates as online scheduling functionality becomes a draw.

Improved imaging appointment utilization.

Improved patient access to JMH services electronically, at the patient’s convenience rather than during business hours.

Enable the PAS team to proactively focus on calling patients who haven’t scheduled, or that still do not have a myJMH Patient Portal account.



ITT | Designers and developers, a myth?

I am a creative person, always looking for innovative approaches to make life interesting. Luminita is a mathematical mind, always focused in getting things done efficiently. Working together, has once again validated my belief, that where there is a will there is a way to build great experiences.

Here is an example. When we started working together on the lesson plan for our classes, we had different approaches.
– She thought of having two activities per class, one scientific and one artistic. She would think of the former and I would think of the latter.

– I, on the other hand, thought of having five activities. An icebreaker, an imaginative play to introduce the theme of the day, a STEAM activity where Art is integrated in the experiment, a game to reinforce the theme, and a reflective ending to close the session.

Working together, listening to each other, and most of all, understanding our point of view, we found the perfect format: three activities per class!


Here is the winning format:

1. ICE BREAKER | To know each other (10′)

2. STEAM Activity | To experience a new learning (40′)

3. WARM BLANKET | To close the session with a mindful exercise (10′)


For the first class we will play the “Detective” theme:

Ice Breaker | Pick an Image / #A / #B / #C / #D

Main Activity | Classify Fingerprints / Dossier 1Dossier 2

Warm Blanket | Eyewitness