UX | UI Designer


Hanauma Bay, O’ahu, Hawai’i. Where I discovered the surprising exhilaration of swimming in water deeper than which I was accustomed.

Hanauma Bay, O’ahu, Hawai’i. Where I discovered the surprising exhilaration of swimming in water deeper than which I was accustomed.

Aloha! I’m Irene.

Thank you for visiting my site.

I am a User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) Designer with solid, foundational and practical experience in visual art and design. Design is my passion, in all its diverse applications. I'm formally trained in illustration, graphic design, and figurative painting and sculpture, which helped me develop technical and insightful skills that I have applied in a variety of areas…from print, to jewelry design, to surface design, to restaurant interiors, and now to UX/UI Design. My greatest asset is my keen sense of design and highly-intuitive aesthetic judgment.

My background in illustration inspired in me an enthusiasm for visual storytelling. I have had the extraordinary opportunity to teach at Parsons School of Design where I aimed to instill in my students the value of a compelling narrative in whatever project they were working on.

A Story . . .

I grew up in Hawai’i and when I was in the 4th grade a real-life kahuna came to talk to my class. His name was Eddie (he had a long Hawaiian last name that I can’t recall). What did he look like? Like a regular guy with glasses, pomade-ed salt-and-pepper hair, wearing a crisp aloha shirt. He wasn’t flashy or theatrical, but communicated with the authority of someone who knew and loved his culture, and embodied the spirit of it. His mesmerizing narratives seized my attention and ignited my imagination. To people outside of Hawai’i they might have sounded like tall-tales, but to the kama’aina (locals), these ancient legends and mystical contemporary experiences were to be absorbed with reverence. I remember Eddie, even decades later, because he spoke with the undeniable power of authenticity.

I come to User Experience Design because of my love for storytelling, or rather, hearing other people’s stories, combined with a lifelong passion for design. What I learned at age nine listening to Eddie was that the connection between the listener and the storyteller is potent and dynamic. It can be a catalyst for change.

It is the fundamental importance of active listening that drives empathy to the next level, which is action. I believe that by energetically listening to people share their stories, hearing what matters to them, I am a more effective designer and equipped to serve better. And I do believe that good design can provide an indispensable service.

I hang out in the problem space—opening windows, sometimes closing doors, but always discovering new passageways.

The Essentials

I have many likes, loves, and preferences, but what I am consistently excited about is unearthing the user’s problem and creating solutions for it.

What separates the best UX Designers from the rest:

Relinquishing control, ego, and impulsive solution-finding, and allowing the research to be the creative impetus

What I never leave home without:

  • Passion for impeccable design

  • Appreciation for elegance and simplicity blended with functionality

  • Intention toward enlightened problem solving

  • Empathy

  • Manners

  • Sunscreen

 What I adore:

  • Design, design, design

  • Drawing people, observing people

  • Compassionate people

  • My kid’s laugh

  • Color, typography, negative space, contrast, HIERARCHY

  • A great story 

What I abhor:

  • Injustice

  • Perfunctory “listening”

  • Lack of a sense of humor

  • Dearth of civility

  • Too much cilantro

What I admire:

  • Indefatigable effort and hard work executed with a sincere smile

  • Craftsmanship

Who I admire:

Anyone who gives voice to those who think they have none

What gives me pause:

Precision, order, structure, and reason—often the outcomes of messy exploration and experimentation

What I aspire to:

  • Improving the lives of others through skills I have developed over a lifetime—or newly acquired

  • Hearing what someone yearns to express

  • Creating products and experiences that bring satisfaction and pleasure to people’s existence

  • Asking questions that inspire thought

  • Being the best darned UX/UI Designer (and human being) I can possibly be!

What fills me with glee:

  • Seamless, intuitive design that sparks joy and that has enough wiggle room for surprise

  • Friday nights

What I trust:

  • My gut

  • The user’s experience