michelle huang Profile picture
May 24 27 tweets 7 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
some brilliant UX / design examples i've stumbled upon in japan:
at ATMs, there are umbrella / cane & cup holders to put your items down when you get your cash Image
pathways that you can follow while taking trains so you don’t get lost during your transfer
stickers for veggies that are still available at a local farmers market to help navigation

also it’s super cute Image
suggested recipes on the back of a soup packet (that are sorted by season)

related note: study of macrobiotics is about embodied + intentional eating that respects cycles of the seasons and local geography

detachable pan handles for storage convenience

makes a ton of sense when you think about it..
sauce packets that don’t require you to rip the corner

they break upon squeeze- leading to a cleaner experience (+ less waste to keep track of)
collapsible car cup holders in the front seats
rotating platforms to allow for large vehicles to turn without making 3-point turns (added safety for pedestrians and passengers)
coin lockers in every transportation hub, allowing you to put your baggage down, and explore areas hands and hassle-free

additionally the dimensions of these lockers are exact to airport luggage dimensions Image
ok i can’t make a design thread about japan without including their premium toilets

public restrooms are spotless, usually equipped w bidets (w singing option for the shy), and top tier Image
related note: toilet paper refill just got more frictionless
decibel monitor for construction sites to help monitor noise throughout their process - so thoughtful! Image
pre-stocking ice cups for purchasing cold drinks

i imagine this also helps cuts down time for the staff, who do everything from restocking, helping people find items at the store, and check out process Image
oftentimes in grocery stores, you bring your haul to the counter and bag your items yourself

need to know how many bags to purchase? fear not, you’re given a cheat sheet for how many medium / large bags you need based off how full your cart is Image
tatami rooms are very modular and multipurpose - you create the setting in the moment based off your temporal needs

futons + tables are foldable and stored in closets so a living room can transform to a bedroom, workroom, meditation room, etc

more open space to play! Image
i have been really impressed by japan’s accessibility features as well

almost everywhere, there are yellow raised grooves (tenji blocks) have ridges to help guide the visually impaired
also look, this elevator has 3 sets of buttons- functionality is always within reach

in case you enter first and are at the back, you don’t have to ask someone else to push the buttons for you
rotating drawer for storing shoes

i imagine this saves some space + allows for more visibility for shoes / slippers
flowing noodle interaction

noodles are funneled through this half pipe and you catch them from the stream
conveyor belt sushi: multiple rows for parallel delivery to different customers
onigiris are wrapped in a way so that the seaweed and the rice are separated, so the former stays crispy

when you eat them, the plastic in between them is removed along with the outside wrapper Image
ok i could list infinite examples about the beauty and nuance of UX in japan but all this is just to say:

this is design that naturally happens when there is a high degree of empathy / regard for user experience
human-centered design is sometimes a forced concept, but when there is enough care and respect, it becomes an inevitable byproduct
(and i don’t think it’s a coincidence that these designs exist in a country that is also known for having excellent customer service)
great design is invisible, which is why it’s sometimes under-appreciated

but continues to add value and eliminate friction in ways that compound — and generally make existing and cohering with the world easier
when we have a more effortless existence, we have more mental resources to take care of public goods + care for each other

great ux -> more empathetic spaces -> more mindful people -> better ux

in short, it’s a virtuous feedback cycle that continues to inspire

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More from @michellehuang42

Nov 29, 2022
i've received a lot of requests on how to replicate my AI experiment so here goes --

[tutorial] how to create your own "inner child" chatbot using GPT-3

step 1: acquire some source material

this can range from diaries, personal narrative, any kind of written content that shows your personality / voice / values

if you have no diaries to reference ... do not fear! archived chats should work just as well
side note for those who are looking to do this with diaries

i took pictures + scanned some some entries via an OCR app, but primarily just spent hours typing due to my messy handwriting

(unfortunately this was of the things that has stayed constant since my childhood)
Read 16 tweets
Nov 28, 2022
✨ creative projects index ✨
i’m a mixed-media digital artist, focused on human flourishing and immersive story-telling

i create everything from this ethos:
inner child ai bot: training gpt-3 to converse with a younger version of myself

> a project that tested the ability for ai to transform, introspect, and heal. more human connection, not less
Read 13 tweets
Nov 27, 2022
i trained an ai chatbot on my childhood journal entries - so that i could engage in real-time dialogue with my "inner child"

some reflections below:
i kept diaries for about 10+ years of my life, writing almost everyday — about my dreams, fears, secrets

the content ranged from complaining about homework, to giddiness i felt from talking to my crush

some days were very mundane, some rather insightful
in any case, there was a lot of it. fantastic, ripe data source for my experiment

i used gpt-3 as my playground, and ended up taking samples of text from a bunch of different entries that i felt were representative of my personality and values during that time
Read 15 tweets
Jul 27, 2022
personal update: i just got laid off my job, so i'm now taking another art / research sabbatical

a thread of notes from what worked and what didn't work from last time, and what i'll keep in mind for this time around
to give context, about two years ago, i jumped into my last sabbatical after quitting my job during the pandemic

i was hungry, excited, and definitely a little bit fearful.
given that i had spent chunks of my career "optimizing for choice", moving from one reputable job to the other (investment banking → product, both requiring skillsets so broad, that you can basically "do anything" after), i realized i had little idea of what my ikigai was Image
Read 29 tweets
Aug 25, 2021
finally condensed some thoughts into a chart depicting one of my main learnings from my vipassana meditation practice: the ability to re-program subconscious reflexes through awareness training + repeated exposure

explanation thread below 🧵
at a high level, the graph plots the perception of pain across time, how interestingly - despite initial increase, pain actually changes over time: law of impermanence

now illustrating the key stages of experience through an example of a 1 hour sit:
STAGE 1 (first 5-10 min)
⚠️ pain level: feeling of discomfort in legs and back, not yet "pain"

the purple area represents discomfort around and just before the point of conscious awareness - this mostly governs the levels of the subconscious, and reflexive reactions to pain
Read 20 tweets
Dec 15, 2020
joining in this year's @threadapalooza!

behold 100 tweets of my favorite travel stories from the last few years

here's a photo of the 5 filled journals i'm referencing for inspiration as i write these Image
1/ I must admit, the experience that has changed me the most through all my travels is undergoing a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat in Bodhgaya, India

It was the somatic and continual experience of "Law of Impermanence": that everything changes, both pain and pleasure Image
2/ Every day, we rose at 4:00am, held silence in pained isolation, worked on unravelling the ego, and resisted running away

It's one of those things where if I knew how hard it'd be, I wouldn't have done it, but if I knew how much it'd change my life, I would've done it sooner
Read 102 tweets

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