cristina.suazo@ac4d.com

Student

Cristina S

Hailing from Long Island, Cristina has spent the past two year in NYC exploring the intersection of food & society -from plant to plate. She has led tours on the largest rooftop urban farm, taught after school culinary classes, and managed operations at a meal subscription business. Dabbling in multiple facets of the food system, Cristina has the capacity to understand the breadth and depth of a disciple. She applies this same intersectional approach to any decision making process.

Academically, Cristina received a BA in communications & rhetoric in 2014 and also graduated from the General Assembly User Experience and Design Course in 2018. Her final project was a user experience analysis of a non-profit vet clinic. To see Cristina’s research and design process, view the slide deck here.

Cristina comes to AC4D to wrestle altruistic ideas with user-centered solutions and a healthy dose of skepticism. She seeks to develop the tools and experience in interactive design, asking hard questions and creating tangible change. For Cristina, school will be a incubator to become a stronger designer, researcher, community advocate, project manager and life long learner.

When Cristina is not working at school, you can find her working at REI, eating tacos or petting a dog.

Recent blog posts

Progress Update on SELect: Optimizing Effective Advising

Product: a tool to assist advisors of post-traditional college students broach the topics of self-advocacy and social and emotional learning. Our tool is a questionnaire that optimizes the short time advisors have with their students, making sure that the sensitive root causes of problems are the center of the conversation. Team: Cristina Suazo, Zev Powell…

“Roadmaps are extraordinarily inaccurate”

“Roadmaps are extraordinarily inaccurate” I learned from Scott, an experienced Product Manager. It came as a surprise because I put all this work into trying to accurately triangulate the cost-benefit of each feature, but it will never be accurate?! If that’s the case, then I ask myself, why even bother? If it is not for estimating time…

How do I think like a developer? Lessons learned from my first sizing evaluation with a frontend developer

So now what? I have wireframes that have passed the user testing rounds. But wireframes can only go so far. The next part is to pass the feasibility test. This is the part when the rubber meets the road. As designers have to take our head out of the clouds, come down to reality and start answering the hard question…

How to Finish Strong.

As we approach the final stretch of the AC4D intensive design program, here are our team’s reflections on how to finish strong. 5 Things to Keep Doing Constant creation and iteration of low fidelity visuals: concept maps, product roadmap, etc. to make high fidelity versions. Always be willing to get feedback and show your work even…

4 Types of Fallacies in Social Impact Design

“Design is a conversation. Interaction design is the design of behavior, positioned as dialogue between a person and an artifact….Ultimately, it serves to affect behavioral change in participants.” “Conversation is only a metaphor for interaction, but it’s a useful one.” -Jon Kolko, “Our Misguided Focus on Brand and User Experience” With conversations, we can change…

User Testing for a “2 in 1” Bank & Budget app

Create, Test, Revise, Repeat. Our assignment this week was to create budgeting features to our banking app. 1. CREATE: Make Prototype of banking app as a clickable wireframe What I made: First I drafted out wireframes on paper. Then I made screens using sketch. The final step to make the prototype ready for user testing was to…

Wireframe winnowing

Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprang up.  – Oliver Wendell Holmes This week I took ideas out of my head, transformed it into a scrappy prototype and then put it into the hands of a user. I made simple wireframes for a banking app, which allowed me to…

Site Map of Simple Bank app

How do you take the primary functions and responsibilities of a bank, then distill it into a streamlined mobile app? To find out, we dissected a banking app and created a concept map. In essence, we exploded all the elements of the app into a visual representation. First, I needed to take stock of all the functions of…

“So you want to think like a designer?…”

Here is a hypothetical conversation between three different designers (a engineer, graphic designer and AC4D student) and their thought process. This conversation strongly reflects the  views of Pacione’s “Evolution of the Mind: A Case for Design Literacy”, Brown & Wyatt’s Design Thinking for Social Innovation. Engineer: What do you even learn in design school? AC4D Student: I…

Phase 2: From Data to Themes

Over the past two weeks our team (Vicky, Gerald and Cristina) have been making sense of the data gathered when we interviewed individuals about their experience and interactions with Lettuce. Lettuce is an Austin-based meal delivery service that strives to create a sustainable, hyper-local ecosystem that grows and distributes food that is fresher, healthier, tastier, and…

The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Impact- as told by memes

This week in theory class, our discussion revolved around the alleviation of poverty. Different thought leaders gave us frameworks to define, critique and address the how’s and why’s of social issues. Here are major takeaways that I have cherry-picked from our authors: Pilliton, Hobbes, Martin & Osberg, Yunnus, Prahalad and Speares. I present the do’s and don’ts of social impact…

The past two weeks in our methods class, we have dissected the views of five thought leaders in design: Bernays, Papanek, Vitta, Postman and Bernays. What would authors think about the impact of smartphone on society? Are they hopeful that it will give value to society or are the skeptical that it will do more…

Podcast: “How to make a Teamwork Sandwich”

AC4D students, Kay, Cat, Christina & Cristina, just finished their first design sprint. Over a round of well-deserved beers, these rookies take a moment to share with each other about their respective teams and the lessons they’ve gleaned about teamwork

“How many designers does it take to fix a lightblub?”

Answer: “Why a lightbulb at all?” In Day 3 of our design sprint, we focused on the question “why?”. Starting with quotes from our transcribed interviews, we then synthesised this data and identified themes. The next step was to rephrase the theme into a why statement. This simple change of syntax from statement to question enabled us to dig…

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