mary.duhon@ac4d.com

Student

Mary Hannah Duhon

Raised in Austin, Mary Hannah traveled to the frozen north to study political philosophy at Hampshire College. Since moving back to Texas, she has worked as an elementary student mentor for AmeriCorps, a romance novel editor, and an English, art, and history teacher to twice-exceptional students in both public and private schools. Teaching instilled in her a deep fascination with designing systems so that people could not avoid succeeding, as well as figuring out what people need and want. It also impressed upon her that good intentions are not enough; you have to offer help in a way that makes people delighted to accept.

After five years in the classroom, she became interested in interaction design when a friend suggested she go to a hackathon. Working to design an app to help with the opioid epidemic convinced her that she could be creative, fascinated, and above all, useful, as a designer.

She is excited to find new ways to make the way humans function work in their favor. When not on the clock, you will find her at a hip hop dance practice, tucked in with too many books, or bent over a colored pencil drawing.

Recent blog posts

VCU App Iteration 2: Usability Testing and Revisions

No flow plan survives contact with the user. This week, I conducted put the first iterations of my VCU flows in front of three Bennu coffee patrons in order to test their usability. The method I used was think aloud testing, which basically involved asking my participants to say everything they were thinking as they…

Iteration 1: My Redesign of the Velocity Credit Union Mobile App

Identifying issues with the existing Velocity Credit Union (VCU) app last week was just the beginning of our work this quarter in Rapid Ideation and Creative Problem Solving. The hypothetical information architecture concept map I created last week as a redesign of the VCU app underwent quite a few changes when I actually had to…

Adrift and Annoyed: Navigating Velocity Credit Union’s Mobile App

I always feel a certain self-righteous pleasure when I walk into my credit union. I chose local! I defied the big banks! I know the names and average check depositing speeds of my bank tellers! I have always been happy with my credit union and its scrappy intent to serve its customers well. And when,…

Design Theory Final Project: After the Flood

  For our final two weeks in Design Theory, we read about design’s role in the modern era: who should be learning about it (everyone), what it should be used for (wicked problems), and how it should be done (with a respect for creativity and intuition).   My Final Project Video

Taking a Shower: Designing for the Impoverished

  The readings this week, which all proposed different ways of thinking about poverty, led me to one conclusion about the attitudes and strategies I should bring to that issue as a designer: the poor are agents, not victims. For the story I wrote, I chose to explore my role as a designer in relation…

Participatory Design

This week in our design research methods class, we have been trying out participatory design, a research method in which the researcher actively attempts to involve stakeholders in the design process. Our class is just beginning this project, so our job currently is to help our participants define the problem space as well as get…

Design Research

These past two weeks, we have been learning about different methods of design research and the theoretical underpinnings of those methods. After considering readings from five different authors, I’ve walked away with limited respect for Don Norman’s belief in the limitations of design research and distaste for William Gaver’s conception of cultural probes. On the…

“Weird” Meat and Tomato Metaphors

Josh leaned in closer to the food truck window, trying to get his mike up by the owner. “You didn’t try the duck?” The man was already shaking his head. “No. No.” He went on, spinning a hypothetical: “You’re 26, so your age, you never eat tomatoes. Are you ready to eat tomatoes?” He didn’t…

Design Theory: A Love Story

To illustrate the ideas of the six design (or design-adjacent) thought leaders we read about this week, I created a “Ethics and Design: A Love Story.” In this story, our poor protagonist, “Michaela” Hobbes (a proxy for Michael Hobbes) searches for love on a series of blind dates. As all dating-age humans know, there be…

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