While urban planning affects the public, most people do not have the time or expertise to participate in the process. CommunityCrit in an online platform that offers “micro-activities” to help community members make meaningful contributions without significant time commitment. In order to lower the barrier for the public, CommunityCrit reduces urban planning documentation into quickly consumable excerpts, and works on a variety of devices. Many online tools solicit public input, yet typically limit interaction to collecting complaints or early-stage ideas. CommunityCrit extends status quo by offering activities that engage community members in elaborating and evaluating urban design ideas, empowers them to contribute, and supports diverse levels of skills and availability. [Paper, CHI 2018]

Design for San Diego (D4SD)

We partnered with leading local organizations to drive collaboration, innovation and impact. In collaboration with City of San Diego, SCALE SD, the Design Forward Alliance, and the National Science Foundation, we launched Design for San Diego (D4SD), an online platform to engage the public in solving San Diego’s mobility challenges. The challenge is open to anyone from students and senior citizens to entrepreneurs and designers. D4SD creates unique opportunities for the public, government, academia, and industry to collaboratively design innovative civic solutions through a mixed engagement approach. Our project goal was to provide an equal voice for everyone to collaborate with other city innovators to solve the most pressing mobility-related issues in San Diego. In addition, last fall I co-taught a course called Civic Design at UCSD, where we taught the human-centered design principles and provided our students with guidance and feedback on their D4SD projects.


The internet has enabled decision makers in government to collect ideas, suggestions and opinions on civic-related issues. While such strategies typically succeed at collecting opinions from citizens, they often lack follow through in which citizens identify conflicts, empathize with other viewpoints, and collectively generate and act on negotiated solutions. To address these challenges, Citizensourcing project focuses on supporting large-scale civic engagement and extending current civic systems where citizens become “sensors” for reporting and collecting civic-related issues, but also participate in problem-solving processes. [Paper]


Groups often face difficulty reaching consensus. For complex decisions with multiple latent criteria, discourse alone may impede groups from pinpointing fundamental disagreements. (How) can technology help groups reach better decisions together? To explore this, ConsensUs project explores a visulization approach for multi-criteria group decision making that highlights salient agreements and disagreements between group members. [Paper]

UD Co-Spaces (Urban Design Collaborative Spaces)

UD Co-Spaces (Urban Design Collaborative Spaces) is an integrated multi-display tabletop centered urban design application which was developed and iteratively improved over five years to engage diverse stakeholders such as planners, designers and the public in the task of generating and testing urban planning and design options. I Investigated use of novel visualization and collaborative technologies to make data more accessible, understandable and useful to enhance public engagement in community design and empower them to make well-informed data-driven and evidence-based decisions. Results of an observational study comparing UD Co-Spaces with the traditional paper-based approach indicated that groups using our system had more equity in terms of collaborative contributions and co-creation of plans, more parallel activities through use of iPad applications, and more fine-grained discussions about features of the design such as look and alignment of buildings because of the 3D view and the real-time metrics. [Paper ISS 2016][video] [Paper CELA 2017]

CLIP (Collaborative Intelligent Pad)

CLIP is a prototype tool designed and implemented to facilitate collaborative sense making. The focus of this project is to assist intelligence analysts to record, schematize and share their findings and hypotheses. Utilizing peer-to-peer communication, all working instances of CLIP broadcast the latest work of an analyst to the rest of the group. Different privacy levels provides controlled sharing. CLIP supports providing awareness of common work by visually indicating common entities. [Paper VAST 2014] [Video]

CoSpaces (Collaborative Workspaces)

CoSpaces is a prototype that is designed for collaborative data analysis on a large interactive tabletop display. It enables multiple users to simultaneously work together and create statistical charts. Some main features include the ability to recored and keep track of the work by automatically saving charts, and also an embedded note taking mechanism. Tabs are used as channels for providing awareness of collaborators’ work status. Each tab provides a portal for viewing work in progress in another workspace without any interruption. Using tabs, an analyst can view a collaborator’s current work, review work history and study findings. [Paper DEXIS 2011] [Paper HICSS 2013] [Video]

Collaborative Visual Data Analysis Around Large Interactive Surfaces

To gain a deeper understanding of collaborative visual data analysis around large interactive surfaces, we designed and carried out an observational user study. Co-located teams worked on collaborative visual analytics tasks using large interactive wall and tabletop displays. Our findings reinforced the importance of record keeping as an integral activity during collaborative data analysis. In addition, we characterized notes according to their content, scope, and usage, and described how they would fit into the process of collaborative data analysis. We also suggested design guidelines for note-taking functionality for co-located collaborative visual analytics tools. [Paper InfoViS Journal 2012] [Paper VAST 2010] [Paper CoVis 2009]


Creative-Pad is designed initially as a tool to help creative directors in an advertising agency to come up with new ideas to create an advertisement for their clients. These directors are often given a one-line brief describing a client product or service. For example, the sentence, “A car with more family space”, would describe a client’s new product which is a car targeted for family. The creative directors would have to design an advertisement suitable for promoting this product. They will need lots of ideas. Creative-Pad works by tapping into the internet as a rich source of information about all things. It takes in one or more keywords from the initial sentence and automatically searches the internet to retrieve any related information. It then processes the search results to extract interesting words and sentences. These words and sentences are then “beamed” in front of the creative directors to stimulate their thoughts for the new advertisement. An interface was specially designed to encourage creative thinking. [Paper ICCC 2010]