Crafting Empathy: The Design Journey of Shuyi Liu

Q: Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

My name is Shuyi Liu. I’m an experienced designer specializing in service experience design, with a profound interest in human well-being and social interaction. My educational background includes degrees in communication engineering and design, graduated from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications and the Illinois Institute of Technology, striving to seamlessly integrate human well-being with innovative design.

My work is deeply rooted in empathy, aiming to address and solve the emotional and practical challenges faced by diverse social groups. I have been actively involved in projects like creating therapeutic board games for urban dwellers and developing journaling apps for pet owners coping with loss. My designs, recognized internationally, have been awarded multiple design awards. These accolades reflect my commitment to enhancing human well-being through design and my continuous endeavor to push the boundaries of what’s possible in service experience design.


Q: To you, what makes a good design?

A ‘good’ design, from my perspective, especially in the context of UX and social well-being, is one that achieves a harmonious balance between functionality, emotional resonance, and societal impact. It should not only be intuitive and user-friendly, facilitating ease of use and accessibility, but also emotionally engaging, creating a positive and meaningful experience for the user. 

Furthermore, good design should embody empathetic principles, taking into account the diverse needs and challenges of its users, and striving to improve their quality of life. It’s about designing with a purpose beyond aesthetics or technical prowess, focusing on creating solutions that contribute to happiness and well-being, and ultimately, making a positive difference in society.

Q: What are some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on, and why?

One of my favorite projects is ‘AirSphere,’ an emotional transformative board game I co-created. This project stands out due to its innovative blend of mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and outdoor gaming, aiming to offer a unique approach to personal growth and well-being. The design aesthetics, particularly the ‘bubble style,‘ were intended to evoke a sense of lightness and mindfulness, aligning with the core themes of serenity and relaxation. ‘AirSphere‘ is distinctive for its multifaceted approach to emotional wellness, integrating psychological principles into gameplay for a comprehensive experience in personal growth, stress relief, and mental health improvement. It’s rewarding to contribute to a project that provides value not only in personal growth but also in social aspects, such as inclusiveness, community building, and sustainability​.


Q: How do you stay inspired and keep your designs fresh?

To stay inspired and keep my designs fresh, I immerse myself in the process of creating joyful experiences and weaving social change. My passion is the power of design to transform lives and communities. By combining user experience with service design, I aim to create products and services that resonate deeply with users. This approach keeps my work innovative and relevant, allowing me to continually explore new avenues of creative expression and impact.

Q: Do you think your country and its cultural heritage have an impact on your design process?

Coming from China, my country’s rich cultural heritage profoundly influences my design process, particularly in how Eastern culture values harmony, balance, and mindfulness. These principles are deeply embedded in my approach to design, especially in projects like AirSphere.

In Chinese culture, there is a strong emphasis on achieving balance and harmony, not just within oneself but also in one’s environment. This philosophy has guided me to prioritize designs that create a sense of equilibrium and peace, especially important in the high-stress context of urban living.

Additionally, the Eastern practice of mindfulness, which is about being present and aware, has inspired me to incorporate elements in my design that encourage users to engage fully and mindfully with the experience. 

This cultural influence is reflected in the way I approach user experience — focusing on creating designs that are not just functional but also emotionally resonant and conducive to mental well-being. The subtlety, depth, and mindfulness inherent in Eastern culture have thus been instrumental in shaping my design ethos.

Q: Can you describe your creative process? How long does it usually take from conception to completion of a piece?

My creative process, especially the AirSphere project, revolves around integrating emotional intelligence and mindfulness into engaging gameplay. The development process from idea to completion can vary but typically involves a comprehensive cycle of ideation, design, testing, and refinement. This process ensures the final product not only meets but exceeds our vision for a transformative experience. For AirSphere, the process from initial idea to launch is a careful journey of innovation and collaboration that reflects our commitment to creating something truly unique and impactful.

Q: How do you stay updated with current trends and advancements in UX and product design, and how do these influence your work?

In order to keep up with current trends and advancements in user experience and product design, I actively participate in the latest research, participate in the design community, and constantly try new technologies and processes. This constant learning and adaptation enables me to integrate innovative design solutions to enhance user experience and engagement, thereby impacting my work. By staying at the forefront of design trends, I ensure my projects remain relevant and impactful in a rapidly evolving digital environment.

Q: Can you share a memorable story or feedback from someone who has played your game?

Ann is one of my friends and she has been dealing with high levels of stress and anxiety due to her demanding job and personal responsibilities. She decided to give AirSphere a try after hearing about it from me, knowing that I had worked on its design. Initially, she was skeptical about whether a game could truly help her manage her emotions.

However, when playing AirSphere for just a few minutes, Ann noticed a significant difference in her mood. The calming music, soothing visuals, and engaging gameplay with others provided her with a much-needed escape from her hectic life. She found herself looking forward to the next breathing challenge with AirSphere as a way to unwind and recharge. It is the specific feature that resonated deeply with Ann – the breathing exercises. As someone who often struggled with anxiety-induced shallow breathing, she appreciated the gentle reminders and guidance provided by AirSphere to focus on her breath. Over time, she noticed that her breathing became more rhythmic and relaxed, helping to alleviate her anxiety symptoms.

Ann also found solace in the supportive community aspect of AirSphere. She enjoyed connecting with other players who shared similar experiences and challenges. Sharing tips, encouragement, and virtual hugs with fellow players made her feel less alone in her struggles and more connected to a supportive community.

In her feedback, Ann expressed profound gratitude for AirSphere and its positive impact on her life. She credited the game with helping her cultivate a greater sense of calm, resilience, and inner peace amidst life’s challenges. She recommended AirSphere to friends and family members who were also struggling with stress and anxiety, highlighting its effectiveness as a tool for emotional well-being.

Q: What is your strongest genre in creative work?

The type of creative work I do best combines user experience, service design, emotional intelligence, and innovative technology to create impactful designs that resonate deeply with users. Projects like ‘AirSphere‘ and ‘Stardust Weaver‘ reflect this approach, integrating mindfulness and environmental awareness into unique user experiences. These works have received international recognition, highlighting the power of design to transform emotional worlds and promote personal growth and community connection​.


Q: How do you utilize your familiarity with various mediums in artistic creation?

Leveraging my familiarity with diverse mediums, I merge emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and technology across various platforms. This approach enriches my artistic creation, enabling me to deliver impactful, multidimensional designs that resonate on a deep level, fostering personal and communal growth. Through this, I aim to create transformative experiences that are not only aesthetically engaging but also meaningful.

Q: Do you integrate your love for art into your daily life?

Yes, I integrate my love for art into my daily life, infusing it with my work in UX, product design, and emotional intelligence projects. My artistic passion is reflected in creating experiences that resonate on both an aesthetic and emotional level, aiming to inspire personal growth with the environment around us. Through my projects, I strive to bring art into everyday experiences, blending creativity with technology and design to make a meaningful impact.

Q: Regarding the future, what are your plans in the realm of art?

I’m interested in delving deeper into specific themes and concepts that resonate with me personally and reflect the world around me. This could include exploring topics like identity, nature, social issues, and the human experience through my artwork.

I’m open to collaborating with other artists, designers, and creatives to combine our talents and perspectives to create something truly unique and impactful. Collaborations can offer new insights, inspiration, and opportunities for growth as an artist.

I’m passionate about art education and sharing my knowledge and skills with others. Whether through teaching workshops, mentoring aspiring artists, or participating in community art projects, I want to contribute to fostering creativity and artistic expression in others.

Q: How do you gather requirements and feedback from clients or stakeholders?

In my job, gathering requirements and feedback involves deep engagement with customers and stakeholders. I prioritize clear communication, empathy, and an iterative design process that includes feedback loops at every stage. This approach ensures that the final product, whether it is a UX design creative project, not only meets but even exceeds expectations by deeply resonating with users’ needs and emotions. Collaboration and openness to adaptation play a vital role in refining concepts into impactful solutions.

Q: How do you handle revisions and feedback during a project?

Handling revisions and feedback is an integral part of my creative process. I approach it with openness and flexibility, engaging in constructive dialogue with clients and stakeholders. This iterative process ensures that the project evolves in alignment with their vision and needs, while also staying true to the core objectives and emotional resonance we aim to achieve. Feedback is a valuable tool for refinement, allowing me to fine-tune designs to better meet user expectations and enhance the overall impact of the project.

Media Contact
Company Name: Underground Art and Design
Contact Person: Xiaofan Jiang
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Country: United States