Diving into our discovery phase, meeting our clients, and preparing for kickoff.

What is MHCI?

The Master of Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI) program at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a one-year intensive program designed to prepare students for careers in the field of technology. The program is divided into three semesters. The first is dedicated to learning foundational skills in UX research, design, and programming. The second and third semesters are devoted to applying and expanding the skills developed during the first semester through electives and Capstone.

What is Capstone, you ask? It’s a seven-month project beginning in the second semester of the program…

(Or for any graduate degree, really.)

On April 3rd, I accepted an offer of admission to the Master of Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI) program at Carnegie Mellon University.

I was elated, but exhausted.

I felt quite isolated in the admissions process, as I began without having a clue of where to start. Based on a lot of intuition, a “slow and steady” mentality, and encouragement from friends, I made it through!

The culmination of my journey led to offers from six programs: Carnegie Mellon (MHCI), UC Berkeley (MIMS), Georgia Tech (MS-HCI), University of Michigan (MSI), and University of Washington (HCI+D, HCDE). …

The tidbits and nuggets that I savored from IxDA Interaction 19.

I survived my first design conference. It was quite the experience — my coworkers and I braved Seattle’s snowstorm, we explored Amazon’s infamous glass balls, and we stuffed our faces with Biscuit Bitch biscuits and Pike’s clam chowder. But boy, I was a zombie through it all. The three, seven-hour days of talks left me with extreme information fatigue. So, to make me feel that my (very expensive) ticket was worth it, please join me in re-digesting the five most salient talks from Interaction 19.*

* I intended to write this article right after the conference in 2019, but procrastination…

The beginning of my transition into UX

I went to an AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) mixer at a bar a while back to do as all good professionals do and go forth and talk to people. After a few conversations into the night, I was floating around by my lonesome and opted to join a large group of folks that looked like they were having a good time.

I inserted myself onto the table, and within 30 seconds into introductions, I learned they were actually at the bar to celebrate their coworker’s promotion. They were urban planners and engineers that worked for the City of…

Novelitas: language learning mobile app.

The problem

Traditional English learning classes are not consistent, accessible options for working and stay-at-home non-English speaking parents. This is a problem for families because parents do not have the time or resources to learn English for assimilation and long-term upward mobility.

The goal

Novelitas is a mobile app aiming to help users with English learning through the intersection of entertainment and education.


6 weeks

My role

I was the sole designer in a team including two other individuals who specialized in areas of business and finance. Collectively, we were responsible for the entire research, concept and completion of the project.

Applied methods

  • User Interviews
  • Affinity Mapping
  • User…

Janelle Wen

USC Design • CMU Human-Computer Interaction

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