“I realized I accomplished more than I expected. I surprised myself by what I could do.”
Every day, we have hundreds of interactions with our surroundings. Yael Hubert is out to make each of those interactions as pleasant as possible.
“I am trained to solve problems to improve the human experience.”
Recently graduated from Sheridan’s Interaction Design program, Yael is considered a unicorn in her field. “As Interaction Designers, we design anything that people interact with, from any and all perspectives, which makes us design generalists, also known as unicorns.” A unicorn is a designer with skills that span multiple disciplines both within and beyond their job title.
This work is not just about making things look pretty, Yael insists.”There is a deeper purpose in interaction design, with a major focus on problem solving and on the human experience. That is what drew me to it.” The work of an Interaction Designer spans the entire lifecycle of a project, including conducting and synthesizing user research, designing user flows, layouts, and wireframes, coding prototypes, testing these prototypes for usability, and more.
At the meeting point of STEM and design, Yael considered and sought to design a solution to a challenge she dealt with in the real world. “As a trained lifeguard and first aid instructor, I knew that, often, people who are trained in first aid are not able to put their training into practice in real emergencies.”
Putting her magical skills to work, she created RALF – Rescue Assistant with Life Feedback – an interactive CPR manikin that works with an iPad app to provide first aiders with live feedback on their CPR performance.
RALF, the culminating thesis project of her degree, took eight months to put together. “It started off as just a project for school, but since completing it, I realized I accomplished more than I expected. I surprised myself by what I could do.” RALF gives first aiders feedback on the depth and rate of their chest compressions, volume of their provided breaths, degree of airway openness, and AED pad placement.
Even Yael’s grandfather can attest to the potential of interactive design. A Holocaust survivor, Howard Chandler was filmed telling his story and answering questions using interaction design technologies. In the future, his presence will appear for generations of students to come, thanks to these virtual reality systems.
Yael encourages anyone with a knack for design and a curiosity for the way things work to consider a career in interaction design. “It is a new and exciting field and there is a lot that people don’t know about it. There is major potential in fields like this.”
With boundless opportunity, Yael looks forward to sprinkling her unicorn dust over new projects in the future.
CHECK OUT RALF:
RANDOM RAPID FIRE WITH YAEL
1. Early or fashionably late?
2. Tattoo or Piercing? Neither
3. Save or Spend?
4. Bad habit? Biting my nails
5. Useless talent? Wiggling my ears
Yael Hubert grew up in Toronto and recently graduated top of her class from Sheridan’s Interactive Design program. She is also a competitive swimmer and has a black belt in karate.
Interview by Adina Samuels