Hello, it's me...

Kathy Nguyen.

I am a Product Designer based in Palo Alto, CA.

My focus is to optimize user experience and how we interact with technology.

I am going to make everything around me beautiful

-that will be my life.

-Elsie De Wolfe



Cross-Platform Community
Disaster Relief

'Haven' was inspired by the local wildfires in Napa Valley for TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in SF. We wanted to create a cross-device platform where a victim in an emergency disaster can bring awareness to their community to ultimately receive help. Once an incident is reported, the community is notified of a direct method to offer aid. First responders can locate those who need medical attention; a local neighbor can offer up their spare room for shelter.


We first brainstormed on a whiteboard and knew we wanted to create an app that can help people in need, especially in a disaster. I led the discussion and sketched use cases to incorporate both a mobile platform for victims to call for immediate help and a web platform to notify the community to provide aid from medical assistance to water or food.


Our idea was complex with many different possible angles and use cases. It became difficult to scale down, and we ended up pivoting many times. Regardless, I focused more time wireframing for the mobile platform because we wanted to provide optimal user experience for victims in the high stress situation.



We put a lot our plate by doubling our work; designing and developing for two separate platforms and two separate types of users. In the end, we made it work and our app could communicate from mobile to web in real-time. Fortunately, our efforts were recognized; we were first runner up for the sponsor prize, received an Honorable Mention and tickets to attend Disrupt SF.


Fitness Encouragment and
Emotional Support

This was a fun project developed at the AT&T Hackathon that we planned to use after the hackathon. We developed an Android app using the Spotify API to listen to songs in real time while working out with your friends. ‘Troop’ connected us together to train for a half marathon even when we were physically far from each other, from SF to LA.

Personas + Scenarios

Jay and I signed up to run the Nike Women Half Marathon in SF, but because we lived long distance from each other, we could not work out together. Regardless, I wanted to support my friend and motivate her in training for her first race. And that was how we became our own target users.

Field Research Design

We went out in the field and ran to observe our real life interactions with each other. High fives and verbal affirmations were assumed, but unexpectedly I would often sing out loud so that Jay would know what I was listening to. From there, we knew adding music in real-time would tie the entire experience together.


We demoed in fitness gear and won an award for “Best Mobile App from an All Female Team”, splitting $500 in Amazon gift cards. Although we created the perfect marathon training tool for ourselves, we did not ever use it because we only developed on Android and I have an iPhone.


Video Modeling Autism Research

This autism education project was developed as an undergraduate research project under UC Irvine’s informatics group, STAR Website, with the advisement of Dr. Gillian Hayes. We sought to prove the power of video modeling can improve social skills among individuals with Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by developing and distributing a mobile app.


Our undergraduate team explored the autism space and worked closely with the local school programs assisting students with ASD transitioning into the workforce. We interviewed the teachers about the curriculum and observed their workshops and classes. Individually, we designed different scenarios for a mobile app that could be a useful.


From our research, we designed a minimal viable product (MVP) to showcase the core use of peer and self modeling through video recording. We taught ourselves iOS development to create a functional app. I led the user study in the Hana Behavioral Lab to test the students' interview skills after using the app and conducted the one-on-one user interviews with the students post study.

Launch + Publications

Quickly after our study, we launched our app, VidCoach, to the App Store. We submitted and presented our findings to various publications and conferences including: an ACM Publication for Interactive Design for Children Conference in 2013, INSAR Publication for the 2014 International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), and most recently Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation in 2015.


iOS App to Socialize App Sharing

The capstone of UC Irvine’s Informatics curriculum is a year long senior design project involving good software engineer processes interlaced with human centered methods to produce a product. My team developed Cappegories, the brainchild project for our sponsored company MEDL Mobile. We redesigned the product as a social tool for users to find, discover, and share apps.


We received an initial storyboard alongside the drafted backend code of an app focused on a recommendation system. My full-stacked team stripped the starting material and restructured the design and code base. I designed continuously in an agile design cycle between wireframe storyboards and low fidelity prototypes after user testings.


After many feature and design changes, we pivoted the product vision toward social app discovery. I learned to develop all the necessary project graphics including app assets on Photoshop and Illustrator on my own. I shifted the UI to a flat design in accordance to the new iOS design guidelines.



We presented at UCI showcases and exhibitions and received the Dean’s Project award. Even though our sponsor did not release the app to the App Store, we still delivered a solid packaged product; a complete and robust app with clean design along with software documentation.



UX Research Observation, User Testing, Interviewing, Survey, Personas

Interaction Design Sketching, Wireframe, Storyboarding, Prototype

Technical HTML, CSS, Python, Android, iOS, Mercurial, gedit/Sublime


UI/UX Designer Metronome Software LLC, 2013-2015

Undergraduate Research Assistant University of California Irvine, 2012-2014

Software Engineering Intern Metronome Software LLC, 2012-2013


B.S. Informatics (Human-Computer Interaction) University of California Irvine, 2014


"Haven" TechCrunch Disrupt SF Hackathon, 2015

"Troop" AT&T Mobile App Hackathon - Bay Area, 2015

"Cappegories" UCI Senior Design Project, 2013-2014

"VidCoach" HCI Autism Research, 2012-2014


I am a First Generation Millenial. As a true Millenial, every advancement in technology has become deeply rooted into my daily life. Having grown up with the rise of tech, I have been well-versed in bridging the technological learning gap between modern machinery and my immigrant parents. From the cell phone to emailing to then Youtube, I have become a technical support and instructor for a non-English speaking senior generation. I hated seeing my parents struggle with new gadgets and software updates; it made me want to prevent their frustrations on a higher level and create usable products.

My passion is to continue to bridge these gaps in larger scale and truly improve global product user experience.

In my spare time, I am a hacker and a member of the Linked Ladies - an all female full stacked trio of future entrepreneurs (basically we are going to take over the world). The Linked Ladies hack at internal hackathons and large scale competitive hackathons in the Bay Area, most recently TechCrunch Disrupt SF Hackathon 2015.

I enjoy meeting new people, but also reconnecting with old friends.

I like running half marathons.

I am a foodie with a sweet tooth.

I am an eternal optimist.