Physicist turned designer
By Susan Lin (@mintlodica)
Bringing Physics to Design

I often get asked if I use anything I learned from physics in my designs.

And while its helpful to be able to communicate about shared math and physics concepts with engineers,

the thing that I use the most from physics is....

to my design process.
Formulate a hypothesis
I first figure out what questions I want to ask, collect exisiting data related to these questions, and come up with predicitions.
Test the hypothesis
I test my hypothesis with a wide variety of experiments. A few of these include testing usability with user testing, measuring feasibility by checking in with developers, confirming prioritization by reviewing with stakeholders, and evaluating product fit by interviewing users.
Form Conclusions
I review my testing and analyze the data that I collected to draw a conclusion. If my conclusion doesn’t align with my hypothesis, I’ll formulate another hypothesis and repeat the process.
Communiciate Results
Conclusions are communicated and documented regardless of whether they match the hypothesis or not. It’s not enough for designs to be just implemented. Implementation should be supported with how and why the designs are being proposed so that all team members are on the same page. Also, it helps with any further problems that may arise at a later time.

Current Work

I'm a designer at Gradescope, an online platform where instructors can grade paper-based assignments. I've helped with accessibility initiatives, established a flexible workflow to grade with AI-assistance, created materials for various marketing campaigns, and recently launched a new landing page.
Side Projects
I make little apps for designers with a foucs on color and useful utilities.

Color Contrast Picker

Frustrated by guess-and-checking to fix inaccessible color pairings, I built this webapp with D3 to get an intutive sense for satistifing WCAG contrast requirements.
Tame your colors

Nudge Right to Left

Resizing shapes in Sketch is super easy with CMD + ←/→. This plugin expands that functionality by changing the anchor point to the right instead of the left.
Nudge to your heart's content

Key Color

Inspired by a community post, this plugin lets you map commonly used colors to keyboard shortcuts. No more clicking the color picker hundreds of times a day.
#4A4A4 just a tap away

Titles of Chef’s Table

Inspired by the blurry, yet smooth animated text of the show, I set out to create a javascript library that tries to replicate the animated titles in the browser.
that helped me get started in design
Specifics: The 8-Point Grid
Bryn Jackson details how to establish a layout system and how to get pixel perfect results.
Read the article
Refactoring UI
Steve Schoger breaks down his design process and shares many useful tips and tricks.
Watch all the videos
Designing Fluid Interfaces
Chan Karunamuni, Nathan de Vries, and Marcos Alonso share how to design with gestures and motion that feel intuitive and natural.
Watch the presentation
IDEO Field Guide
This PDF was my go-to when starting out. It's a great guide to help you step-by-step work through your design problem.
Reference the guide
Buzzfeed's Product Design Roles
Curious to know what seperates a beginner designer vs a senior designer? This framework can help demistify what type of skills you can improve on to further your carrer.
Map out a career path
Essential Design Principles
Learn some of the fundamentals of app design so you can learn how to make things that satisfy human needs for safety, meaning, achievement, and beauty.
Back to basics
SpecFM: A Spectrum Community
Spectrum is kinda like slack but for communities! SpecFM is a community centered around the SpecFM podcasts.
Join a community
Design Life Slack
The Design Life podcast has fostered a welcoming community with all kinds of creatives. A montly cost keeps the community super motivated and focused on helping eachother out.
Work on a project together
Design Details Podcast
Want to know more about the people who build all kinds of apps? Design Details is a great representation of where design has been, where it is right now, and where it is going.
Listen to all the episodes