Posted October 29, 2019
Referring to the Digital Media Graduate Program as a “good starting point to my career,” Fangxiao “Ricky” Yu (Digital Media MS. 2019) does not see any endpoint in sight. And nor would he want to.
“I really love my job because I’ve always wanted to work in a creative environment,” Yu says. “This is also my first design job, so it’s really like a dream come true.”
Following graduation, Yu was hired as a User Experience Designer at Walmart’s Home Office in Bentonville, Arkansas, where he designs user interfaces for internal-faced applications that can improve associates’ work experience.
“Basically, our team focuses on research-led design,” he explains. “I, as a designer, need to closely work with UX researchers to find the best solutions to the user problems and validate my design to match with users’ mental models.”
While he spends most of his time sketching wireframes and prototyping in Invision, Yu finds that communication skills are also deeply important to his day-to-day work routine. The humanities-centric curricula of the Digital Media (DM) Graduate Program prepared him to understand user needs from a collaborative standpoint.
“Something I really like about the DM program is that it heavily focuses on critiquing technology from a liberal arts perspective,” Yu says. “I think this is something strongly needed at this point in time. It teaches a designer to think beyond technology and use their skills to bring a larger social impact on the world.”
Entering the program from a media-intense background, Yu was excited at the potential to expand both his mind and his skill sets. Getting the chance to work with a variety of media types, like virtual reality and augmented reality, introduced him to design spaces that he had never encountered previously.
“Dr. Janet Murray was very inspiring and motivating throughout my time at Tech,” Yu explains. “She constantly gave me feedback and helped me grow. Her class about simulation design and VR storytelling was very informative and eye-opening.”
“Dr. Nassim Parvin was another professor who strongly influenced the way I perceived the world. Her class about feminism approach opened a new world for me and made me reflect on lots of things that I had never thought about in the past.”
Along with the inspiring faculty and courses, Yu also commends Georgia Tech for the availability of resources for research opportunities. While he mainly focused on polishing his design skills in class projects, he affirms that the research courses helped him “understand how to use research data to back up my design decisions.”
And as for #MakingWithMeaning? He continues to do so outside of Tech.
“I would say my design work actually helps a lot of people both improve their working efficiency and solve their problems,” he says. “That’s how I make with meaning everyday.”
View some of Yu’s recent project on his portfolio or connect with him on LinkedIn. Applications for the Digital Media Graduate Program are accessible here, and information for prospective Master’s students can be found on our applicant page.
Dr. Janet Murray is the lab director of the Prototyping eNarrative Lab and Dr. Nassim Parvin is lab director of the Design and Social Interaction Studio. Both directors often lead project studio courses for graduate students during the Fall and/or Spring semesters. To learn more about the labs available to students in the program, visit our research page.
Contact For More Information
Maria Elena Margarella
Graduate Research Assistant, Digital Media