In the professional field, based on her specialties (Data Visualization and UX/UI Design) she has extensively worked as a designer and researcher with top international companies and institutions, including Microsoft, Naver, Samsung, Korea Telecom, Rhode Island School of Design, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and more, to create products that are enriching, educational and stimulating.
Her wide array of works have been featured in international awards, books, news, blogs, magazines, and exhibitions such as Information is Beautiful Awards, IEEE Art Program, Fast Company, Monthly Design, A’ Design Award & Competition, Information Aesthetics, iF Design Awards, The Guardian, IdN, GDUSA, Data Vis Today, Raw Data: Infographic Designers' Sketchbooks, Visualising Data, Visual Loop, Good Design Award, Seoul Design Olympiad, International Design Award, RISD Museum, De Young Museum, Sol Koffler Gallery, Waterman Gallery, Internet Festival at Pisa, Adobe Design Achievement Awards, The University Research Magazine Association, Shenzhen Design Week, Hebei Design Center, Exhibitions at Shaoxing and Changsha, MOOD Museum of Design among others.
She received an MFA degree from Rhode Island School of Design and worked as a Data Visualization Specialist at MIT Senseable City Lab. Currently, she is working on various design and data-driven projects at Bohyemian Lab (Founder/Data Designer) and Microsoft (Senior User Experience Designer specializing in Data Visualization for AI platforms) in Seattle.
Recently, she was selected as one of the Jury Members for the 2018-2019/2017-2018 A'Design Award & Competition, the 2018 Apexart exhibition, and the IEEE VIS 2018 Arts Program.
This unique design study was a leap into the world of data visualization, and she became aware of the importance of this field, envisioning a way to utilize data as a language so that she could learn about herself and convey her stories, including her previously-opaque thoughts and emotions, through visualization methodologies.
Later, her first data visualization was shown in Raw Data: Infographic Designers' Sketchbooks by Steven Heller , Information Aesthetics / Visualising Data by Andy Kirk, De Young Museum, Guangzhou’s Design Korea Exhibition, and Adobe Design Achievement Awards (as one of the first Korean winners in the ADAA’s history)
After this work, she has been creating and exploring diverse forms of data-driven projects, beyond data visualization.
While working on a project – which later won the IF design award--called KT Olleh Square for Korea Telecom (a leading Korean telecommunications organization) as a lead UX designer at Vinyl Interactive in Korea, Hyemi became aware of different information consumption patterns and interaction behaviors among users in the spatial environment that we do not see in screen-based media.
At Naver Corporation, South Korea’s premier Internet company and top search engine, she was on a team for the Naver portal service and harnessed big data from the company's data center to make various decisions about human-centered designs using data analytics and statistics. In addition, working for a Social Network Service, called me2day was a fascinating opportunity not only to discover the social and cultural impact of user-generated data and content in a social network ecosystem, but also to examine novel ideas regarding potential data utilization in the next generation of social networks.
In the meantime, working on personal research, she constantly challenged herself with new forms of data visualization by applying more sophisticated engineering skills. Visualizing Works is a 3D interactive data visualization (web application) that illustrates her 63 projects from 2002 to 2010. In this project, she explored a panoply of methods to design and develop an interactive data visualization in the 3D environment for web, considering the effectivity, memorability, and accessibility based on color theories. This project was published in the book, “Raw Data: Infographic Designers' Sketchbooks” together with “Temperature of My Mind.”
Hyemi's other notable project is a web application called DataLovers that visualizes 100 recent tweets and 100 useful websites for early learners who want to initially explore the field of data visualization. From this project, she realized the great value of creating a data visualization application for education, which inspired her to foresee the importance of people’s data literacy in the future.
From 2008 to 2014 in Korea, Hyemi was fortunate to have incomparable professional opportunities to build foundations for two specialties: Data Visualization and UX/UI design. She believed that the integrated experience in two fields would increase her creativity and productivity and thus bring her to a new field of design someday.
Nonetheless, as delved deeper into data visualization and design, more and more questions arose surrounding data veracity, visualization methodologies for both information and aesthetic value, data as a language, and personal data for self-expression. In addition, Hyemi wanted to carve out her own definition of data through conducting more research projects.
These big questions and passion for data fueled her desire to leave Korea and start a long journey in the US, where she could explore a wide range of opportunities and large markets in design, art, and data. The first adventure began at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the autumn of 2014.
Hyemi's data practice, Solar System (it was granted the Iron A’ Design Award) widened her horizons about data-driven works because it led to her excursion into data sonification/data-driven self-expression, and data experience in the spatial environment. The insights gleaned from this work motivated her MFA thesis research book, named "Walking in a Place, Walkestra", which included the discussion of designing and developing a methodology to generate a ‘decodable personalized soundtrack’ using an individual’s ‘walking data’ collected in a place. Using cartographic and human movement data for data-driven creativity was challenging and ultimately led to the creation of a novel type of data-driven content.
Her data visualization studies continued at a city scale when she became a recipient of a fellowship and worked at MIT Senseable City Lab. This opportunity paved the way to view her research at RISD and data visualizations derived from urban data from various angles. In particular, she saw how design and technology impact urban imagination and social innovation, through creating data-driven web-applications, such as PisaPOOL, Urban Exposures, Driving DNA, and an award-winning data visualization project, CityWays. CityWays was granted the Golden prize in 2018 A’ Design Award and Competition, a prize in 2018 World Changing Ideas Awards, 2018 Information Is Beautiful Award (long list), and featured in Episode 13 of the Data Vis Today Podcast, internationally well-known design magazines, IdN in HK and Monthly Design in KR.
Various lessons taken from research at two institutes enabled her to have a deeper knowledge of data-driven creations not to mention the data itself. These projects leveraged the high level of motivation and themes she is hoping to develop in the coming years. She was naturally able to begin the next journey with data, design, and more advanced questions.
While working on the Service Map, and the improvements for the Host Map / the Container Map (other maps on the datadog web app), she was able to create a more easily interpretable display, reducing users’ information processing time and short-term memory usage. The Service Map, especially, required multiple design solutions because of complex user flows and the topological structure of the network map. Considering UX priorities, she rapidly examined several layout/clustering algorithms, interactions, navigations, and visual representations and she applied verified results to the final design directly. In doing so, she discovered new potential roles for designers who have professional experience in data visualization and UX/UI design, and an available means of providing innovation and increasing productivity that those designers can bring to the table. This realization allowed her to see not only a new utilization of data visualization for data-heavy products in practice beyond data journalism, but also to understand the primary roles of a designer in that process. The new insights about her job were partially explained in her feature interview with the Monthly Design.
After the launch of the service map, it has been acclaimed by many people in the industry and displayed at a conference as well as on various media platforms. Currently, she is continuing to explore the impact of combining data visualization and UX/UI design for data-heavy products, working for AI platforms at Microsoft.