Yoon(Dong Yoon) Park is a Designer, Creative Technologist and Author from Seoul, Korea. He became interested in computer graphics with painting software Dr.Halo and Deluxe Paint, during the era of XT computers. His curiosity about computer graphics inspired him to study electrical engineering at Korea University. He started working in the web industry in 1999 with dot-com startups and internet boom.
After completing military service at R.O.K Army and receiving the bachelor of engineering degree from Korea University, he had worked at Samsung Electronics as a software research engineer, in the Telecommunication R&D Center, focusing on the user interface for GSM/WCDMA and experimental mobile phones. Collaboration with the design team on various GUI projects and his previous experience in web design fueled his desire to become a designer.
He went back to design school, studied graphic design at SADI(Samsung Art & Design Institute), and continued his study at Parsons The New School for Design, in the MFA Design & Technology program. His MFA thesis project ‘Typography Insight’(http://typeinsight.org/) was featured by Fast Company, The Atlantic, Gizmodo, and ranked 2nd in the education category of the US App Store. With his interest in mobile app design and development, he wrote the book ‘도전! 아이폰 프로프래밍(iCan iPhone Programming)’ which became a best-selling iPhone programming book in 2011-2012 in Korea.
He joined Microsoft as a UX Designer in 2011. He worked on MSN/Bing apps – News, Sports, Finance, Weather, Travel, Health & Fitness, Food & Drink – for various platforms including Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android, Web, and Windows 10. As the lead designer of the Sports and Finance app, he led the design vision for Microsoft’s modern ‘Metro’ design language. Since 2015, he has been working on the ‘Developer Experience’ design, leveraging his mixed background in user experience design and software development.
Since 2016, in the Mixed Reality design team for HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality, he is leading the design effort for the ecosystem experience, including the open-source project Mixed Reality Toolkit(MRTK), Mixed Reality Design Labs(MRDL), Mixed Reality Academy, and Mixed Reality Dev Center.
He launched his first HoloLens app ‘Typography Insight for HoloLens in August 2016′. He continues his explorations on type in space with this HoloLens app ‘Type In Space(2018)’. He actively shares his personal mixed reality project stories on Medium. Recently published a story on designing & developing Type In Space for HoloLens 2 (Dec 2019)
My Journey – From Engineer To Designer
An engineer who loved drawing, typography, and user interface
I always loved drawing things, especially letters and logotypes. My textbooks were filled with cartoon characters and company logo sketches. When I was working as a software engineer, I loved working on the user interface with beautiful typeface – even though it was before the smartphone era and the screen resolution was tiny 176x220px. I enjoyed customizing my code editor with Helvetica and gorgeous modern fonts. As much as I loved working on software for the great products, I wanted to work on something visual that can be seen by people, directly interact with people, instead of the logic hidden in the shell.
Design school, Graphic design, and Mobile Apps
With my passion for visual design, I made a big decision to go back to school to study design. When I was quitting my job, I thought I won’t code again. However, I learned that technology could be a great tool to realize my design idea and vision. I saw how evolving technologies were starting to empower art & design in various areas.
I started learning Objective-C to create and share ideas with people around the world. Starting with a simple clock app HUE Clock, I have designed & developed various types of apps such as experimental Twitter client Twit Knoll and Type Clock.
During my master’s study at Parsons, I proposed, designed, and developed a brochure app for Parsons School of Design. With the support of the dean of Parsons, it became the official app of Parsons School of Design.
Writing iPhone programming book to share my ‘Developer Experience’
After launching several apps, I wanted to share my ‘Developer Experience’ with the developer/creator community. Most of the people focused on the UX for the iPhone’s success, however, I thought great DX(Developer eXperience) which created a big ecosystem was also a crucial part of its success. With my strong interest in editorial & information design, I wrote a book on iOS app design and development. In this process, I also did the editorial design using InDesign by myself. Unlike typical text-heavy programming books, I focused on the visually rich layout with practical example app projects. The book became the best-selling iOS programming book in 2011-2012.
With my strong passion for typography, mobile app, and user experience, I have designed and developed Typography Insight as my MFA thesis project. I presented the project at AIGA/NY and it was featured by Fast Company, The Atlantic, and Gizmodo. It was ranked 2nd in the education category of US App Store in 2011 and featured several times on iTunes App Store in various countries.
Continuing my journey as a designer at Microsoft
Designing Bing/MSN apps for Windows
Luckily enough, I was able to continue working on apps at Microsoft. I started working at Microsoft as the main designer for the Sports and Finance(Money) app (Bing AppEx App Experience Team). Both apps had a rich amount of data – stats, numbers, and images – to play with, it was almost like designing magazines. Fortunately, it was the moment when Microsoft’s new metro design language started to bloom. I enjoyed designing apps with fundamental graphic design elements – typography and grid.
Also as a designer who has a developer background, I was able to convince the dev team to allow us to check out/in the code for the frontend. I worked on the design integration to achieve the pixel perfect design and fit & finish. In this process, I really enjoyed collaborating with the engineering team, sitting together to solve the problems and achieve a great user experience.
Continuing personal projects
I kept my interest in evolving platforms and continuously updated my apps. For Typography Insight, I have added support for the retina display and added new features such as Kerning practicing. With the announcement of the Adobe Creative Cloud SDK, I have integrated Adobe Typekit into Typography Insight. As a big fan of casual games, I have created several games based on the inspirations from daily life.
Developer Experience Design – Synergy between my two different backgrounds in design and development
Windows Bridge for iOS
Windows Bridge for iOS is an open-source project by Microsoft which allows iOS developers to bring their apps to Windows using existing Objective-C codebase. I realized that I am the target user of the project – iOS developer who wants to bring apps to Windows. Since I have been experiencing the entire app design & development process, I thought this will be a great opportunity for me to leverage my experience both as a designer and developer. To contribute to this project, I joined the Developer Experience Design team in Windows and Devices Group.
From October 2015, I led the design effort for Windows Bridge for iOS. My focus on this project was how to translate the controls and patterns from iOS to Windows smoothly, to achieve the best Windows user experience.
Personally, I was able to bring my apps to Windows using this solution – Pori Fashion Show and Typography Insight. Both apps were successfully translated into Universal Windows Platform apps, running on Windows 10 devices. They were demonstrated at Microsoft’s Build 2016 Developer Conference as example apps of Windows Bridge for iOS. To share my journey with Windows Bridge for iOS, I have written blog post series on Building Apps for Windows.
Microsoft HoloLens – Exploring Mixed Reality
Currently, at Microsoft HoloLens design team, I am leading the design effort for the open-source project Mixed Reality Toolkit(MRTK), focusing on the developer & creator ecosystem experience. Personally, I brought my app Typography Insight to HoloLens and shared the story on Medium – “Designing Typography Insight for HoloLens”
You can find my stories on HoloLens app design & development on Medium
- Designing Type In Space for HoloLens 2 (2019)
- Designing Typography Insight for HoloLens (2016)
- Type In Space — Explore Spatial Typography In Mixed Reality (2018)
- MRTK: Open-Source Building Blocks for Mixed Reality Experiences
- Museum of Type – Mixed Reality App Design & Development Story
- News Space for HoloLens: Spatial News Headline Visualizer
- Bringing the Periodic Table of the Elements app to HoloLens 2 with MRTK v2
- MRTK 101 / FAQ: How to use Mixed Reality Toolkit Unity for Basic Interactions (HoloLens 2, HoloLens, Windows Mixed Reality, Open VR)