Hi! My name is Eureka.

Eureka Foong profile pic

I am new Ph.D. student in Technology and Social Behavior, a joint program in computer science and communication at Northwestern University. I am passionate about using technology to improve the way people innovate, research, design, and learn from their environment. For the next 6 months, I will be working in Dr. Mike Horn's TIDAL Lab exploring the ways we can get people curious about museum artifacts with digital exhibits. This project takes place at Chicago's Field Museum. I am also developing a crowd-powered online feedback tool for designers with Dr. Liz Gerber in the Delta Lab.

My bachelor's degree is in cognitive psychology and media studies. While I was the lead UX researcher at Piktochart, I helped develop a culture of design thinking among graphic designers, web developers and marketers. My goal is to someday radically improve the way we conduct research and design human-centered solutions.

Recent accomplishments

Ongoing projects

Eliciting curiosity through digital rails

Method: Field observations, surveys

With Dr. Mike Horn, I will be working on a project in collaboration with the Field Museum of Chicago that looks at the effectiveness of using digital rail displays to elicit deeper thinking and curiosity about artifacts.

Translation: We're trying to make clickbait in real life, but for good and with ancient Chinese artifacts

Crowdfeedback: A survey and taxonomy of a growing field

Method: Design-based research, user testing, experiments

Feedback is an important part of a designer's toolkit, but it is difficult for designers to know who to ask for feedback, what to ask, and to do so face-to-face. With Dr. Liz Gerber and in collaboration with Dr. Steven Dow and Dr. Brian Bailey, I am helping to research and design a feedback tool that will help new designers get quick and high quality feedback from crowds of online users.

Translation: No more "great job!" or "change this color" on your designs; we're making a tool to get actually helpful feedback

Learning on the Job: Training crowdworkers to learn complex skills through micro-tasks

Method: Online experiment

Many platforms exist today that make large tasks possible by crowdsourcing smaller micro-tasks. However, the people who engage in such crowdwork face unstable employment and less-than-enriching work environments. With Dr. Liz Gerber and Dr. Steven Franconeri, I am interested to know how crowdwork could be made more valuable to workers. We are exploring a way for crowdworkers to learn about graphic design by being paid for their feedback on other designs. We want to know if workers can develop expertise on these platforms and what types of features would make this possible.
Workshop paper

Translation: Can people learn about design by critiquing other designs? And can they get paid to do so online?

Crowds that hack: Problem solving at a civic hackathon

Method: Participant observation, interviews

For a class on field methods, I started doing participant observations and interviews at Chi Hack Night, a weekly civic hack night in downtown Chicago. I'm interested in learning what motivates people to volunteer their time to solving tough societal problems with tech, as well as how a group of unrelated individuals explore a problem space. I am part of the Access to Justice group that is trying to help the formerly incarcerated readjust to life outside prison.

Translation: I'm studying (and being a part of) a group of civic hackers who want to make the city better with tech

Upcoming events

Past projects

BodyBuilders: Collaboration in early childhood

Method: Field observations, design-based research, needfinding

For a class on design for the learning sciences, I started working with a group to build a game to teach preschool children about collaboration and communication. We created BodyBuilders - a simple tablet application where the goal is to build specified shapes using only your body. The teacher leads a group discussion on collaboration and teamwork after the game. We worked with a school in Chicago to conduct observations and are still in the first prototype phase of the project.

Translation: We wanted to know if very young kids could learn to work together when we forced them to work with other kids

I could not have done this without...

My parents, my sister Angelia, our dogs Crystal and Stella in Malaysia, and the wonderful mentors, friends and colleagues I've known in the U.S. and abroad. Also, lots of delicious and healthy food, hundreds of hours of dancing, and the gift of growing up on two sides of the world.

Contact me

Segal Design Institute
Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center
2133 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208

eureka [at] u [dot] northwestern [dot] edu
eureka [dot] foong [at] gmail [dot] com