Linh Dao


Assistant Professor, Interaction Design, California Polytechnic State University. 

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Linh Dao

Interaction Design, Assistant Professor, California Polytechnic State University

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Title
Small Aspirations
Category
Interaction Design
Year
2022





With extreme turbulence at the crossroads of Europe and Russia leading to increased displacement and immigration outside of and continuously into the U.S, the need for critical play for empathy prevails. Small Aspirations is a research through design project about the lesser known immigration dreams of building a life from humble yet honest jobs that can support themselves and maybe their families. I depict my design process from conceptual creation, through visual research and high-fidelity prototype without needing access to high-cost standalone devices or computer setup. Small Aspirations provides an experience similar to the fortune-telling custom of giving babies three objects to choose from and each symbolizing the path they will follow as they grow up. Only this time it is the player who envisions their life as a first-time immigrant in the U.S. choosing less-glamorized professions such as nail salon tech or seasonal farm worker.
With this project, I focused on public understanding and attitudes toward immigration. Immigration's complex realities were translated into visually appealing abstract interaction patterns. Small Aspirations reveals the limitations of career choices for immigrants, assuming the player is familiar with the quarter of Americans who believe migrants steal in-demand jobs from native-born Americans (Pew Research Center). The experience distills and abstracts current data on immigrants' jobs into an easy-to-understand set of instruments and representation systems. In doing so, it illuminates the unpleasant reality of those jobs believed stolen.

This project was created for the Meta Quest 2 and webGL, using Untiy, Visual Studio, Blender, Substance Painter, Substance Sampler, Substance Designer, Adobe Photoshop,  and Audacity.