I invent new ways of interacting with computers by learning about people, sculpting pixels, and playing with code.
I recently left a long stint at Apple, where I designed and prototyped new things to poke at with the Human Interface Device Prototyping team. My work included the invention of new interactions across iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and more, as well as fundamental UI concepts for Apple's Force Touch and Taptic Engine, which are now in the MacBook, Magic Trackpad, iPhone 6S, and Apple Watch. My explorations helped justify and refine the development of the iPad mini, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and the acquisition of other major strategic new technologies. As a side project with a friend, I designed and shipped a transportation app that now makes Apple commuters' lives easier.
I'm now applying my practice toward helping human learning at a nonprofit called the Khan Academy. I started by leading mobile and investigative design, introducing a design process that incorporates research, brainstorming, rapid iteration of visuals and animation, and prototyping. I'm also providing creative direction for the redesign of their website, aiming to make space for experiments that better leverage the dynamic medium, because I believe that playing with interactive, explorable explanations has great unlocked potential to foster understanding.
I plan to continue experimenting with ideas that encourage learning and thoughtfulness through curiosity, exploration, creativity, social interaction, and play. This will include investigating new tools that empower others to create dynamic content.
My meta goal is to continue finding and refining a style of design leadership that stays true to myself and empowers the team, setting the quality bar high for both our design output and the humanity of how we work together. I'm proud of how far the team has come and excited by how far I know they'll go.
Sometimes, I'm up to some other stuff.
I spin music under the name DJ China Tu Madre with La Pelanga Collective out of Oakland. Last year, we were invited to throw monthly parties and curate live music once a month at the Brick and Mortar. I have learned to dance in a wide variety of styles that looked impossible to me from the outset. (Luckily, there are always more impossible things to do.) Record digging and dance serve as powerful ways to connect to people from all over the globe. I am a relentless studier of human cultures, which never cease to fascinate me with their power to influence thinking, travel far beyond their origins, survive hundreds of years despite persecution, and evolve continuously.
I am a friend of the Communications Design Group, and occasionally go hang out with Bret Victor at the lab and draw a unicorn or make something sparkle. I've recently started an experimental project called 50 Years with Paula Te. After leaving Apple, I spent a month playing at the intersection between fashion and computation by learning how to generate things to wear at Eyebeam in New York, and the resulting work has been on exhibition several times since then. I've been part of the Cultural Incubator at Gray Area Gallery, and was an artist in a field of inquiry called the Future Soul Collective at YBCA in San Francisco.
In ancient history, I studied Computer Science and Engineering at MIT. I did undergraduate research with Pattie Maes at the MIT Media Lab, and graduate research with Julie Dorsey at the Laboratory for Computer Science (now CSAIL).
I'm dedicated to helping build a truly diverse and vibrant community of inventors who know how to listen, understand, question, and be prepared to redesign the world. I believe in cultivating deep cultural change that helps empower all people, particularly the traditionally marginalized, to envision and implement new systems of thought and ways of being that move beyond the dominant systems that led to their marginalization in the first place. I daydream about joyful ways to subvert the status quo.
I'm very aware that nobody can make great change by themselves, regardless of how much our society likes to portray individual heroes.
Are you an designer, prototyper, person-who-doesn't-fit-into-a-category, who aims not only to hone your craft and build great things, but also design the experience people have working with you? Want to build together? Or, are you an organizer of things and want me to give a talk? Feel free to reach out (response time variable)!
mayli at maylikhoe.com