I’m Ningxia Zhang, a product designer living in San Francisco Bay Area, from China. I create digital products that bring convenience, delight and meaning to people’s lives. With a mixed background of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction and Entrepreneurship, I bring a holistic perspective to design, and can take a product idea from concept to life.
I was born and raised in Yichang, a small city in central China. As a child, I loved drawing and creating little art pieces. Later, in middle school I gave up all my creative pursuits when I was found to be talented in math and science, and everyone told me that art was for people who weren’t smart enough to do math.
So I ended up as a Software Engineering major in Fudan, one of the best universities in China. I enjoyed understanding abstract concepts and solving complex problems, but something was missing. I missed the joy of creating, and I realized even though technology is powerful, the art of making it easy to adopt is what eventually makes it beneficial to us. The dots started to connect.
This led me to Stanford for a master degree in Human-Computer Interaction, an area in Computer Science that intersects with design, social science, etc. I took classes ranging from machine learning to designing for theater experiences, and got fully immersed in the creative and entrepreneurial environment. It was quite challenging, especially for a newly-arrived international student, but the overall experience was transformative and empowering.
After graduation, I joined an early-stage startup founded by Stanford HCI researchers as the Director of User Experience. I was responsible of user research, interaction design, visual design, as well as corporate and product branding. I was also closely involved in business development and product strategy and acted as a half front-end developer. It was a tremendous learning experience, not only in hands-on skills of building products, but also in management, collaboration and in general how startup works.