Design Leadership: Navigating the Uncharted Course

Design Leadership: Navigating the Uncharted Course 1400 865 Design Business Chamber Singapore

Tell us more about yourself and how you came to be both the User Experience Leader in Dell Singapore and President of HFESS (Human Factors & Ergonomics Society of Singapore).

My first design experience began during my engineering degree at University of Birmingham, where I delved into Ergonomics. Intrigued by how products are designed based on the human needs and capabilities, this encounter became the driving force behind my passion for product design. Fueled by this interest, I continued my exploration in this domain during my Master’s program at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), focusing on Human Computer Interaction.

Upon graduation, I transitioned to the military sector, joining DSO National Laboratories as a Human Factors Specialist. In this role, I had the opportunity to design sophisticated Command and Control Rooms and Consoles. Seeking a broader design experience, I later joined Creative Technology to gain experience in Software User Interface.  

Subsequently, I made a strategic move to Dell, enticed by the prospect of working on both Hardware and Software. As I celebrate my 16th year with Dell, I’ve had the privilege of leading User Experience design across various product categories.  For HFESS, I dedicated 20 years to the society, progressing from a member to assuming executive roles such as Treasurer, Director, and Vice-President. The pivotal moment in this journey occurred in 2022 when I took on the role of President. My aspiration is to build a strong team in expanding the reach and relevance of Human Factors & Ergonomics, to achieve the goal in driving human progress. I am particularly passionate about nurturing the next generation of designers and practitioners. My goal is to share my industry knowledge, inspiring and guiding them to become the future leaders in Human Factors or User Experience.

How do you juggle the responsibilities of the two major roles you’re undertaking?

I strategically manage my time by compartmentalising my responsibilities. In my commitment to social work, a considerable amount of effort is invested in identifying with the right individuals and partners. Fortunately, many talented and passionate individuals have willingly joined me. 

Collectively, we have laid a robust foundation and built pillars that fortify our impact on society. We meet bi-weekly evening via Zoom calls, where we convene to discuss and propel our new initiatives forward.

What is your favourite part of each job?

At Dell, my favourite part of each job is tackling intricate challenges and transforming them into simplified solutions, ensuring a seamless and delightful experience for our users.

At HFESS, my favourite is collaborating with individuals and organisations from different disciplines, making meaningful contributions to the community, and raising awareness about the Human Factors and Ergonomics field.

Do you believe in UX trends? Why or why not? / What is your UX trend prediction for 2024?

Yes, I believe in UX trends. It allows one to create experiences that resonate more with users.

In 2024, the demand for User Experience (UX) expertise will soar, fueled by the pervasive influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The transformative impact of AI on product and service design will intensify, amplifying the roles of UX designers. With ongoing advancements in technology, UX designers will harness more powerful tools, enabling them to create even more delightful user experiences.

2024 will be an exciting year where organisations make use of UX strategies where technology and empathy work hand in hand to create a better world for all users.

What is the most memorable design project you’ve done? Why?

My most memorable design project is the 48 hours Inclusive Design Challenge project many years ago. My Team and I worked around the clock to address a problem faced by a partially blind person. We developed a solution that was well-received. 

The solution introduced a novel locking method based on the pattern of the number pad, which was quite ahead of its time. Today, this solution is widely used for mobile phone locking.

How would you describe yourself in one word? Why?

Explorer. I get excited with new things and always ready to embrace risk with a high tolerance for facing challenges. I am also always curious and want to discover unknown places and learn more about myself. Finding a balance between work and family life is essential, but it’s not always easy. It’s a priority I’m still learning to navigate.

If you could turn back time, what advice would you give to your younger self?

Seek out a diverse group of mentors or experts across various skills who can impart knowledge not typically found in textbooks. Great mentors play an important role in fostering your personal and professional growth.

Recently, my Team at HFESS has launched a Mentorship Program, aiming to assist students and young professionals in navigating their career aspirations, strategising plans, and exploring avenues for transformative change.

How do you like to unwind and relax after a long day of work?

After a long day of work, I find that the perfect way to unwind and relax is by going out with my family to enjoy a good dinner. On occasion, I would enjoy late-night cycling along the beautiful Marina Bay, accompanied by good friends with whom I catch up on the events of our lives. When I am alone, I like to read or listen to my favourite playlists of different music genres.

KC Yong, UX Leader, Dell & President of HFESS


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