Assist. Professor Oma Sosa-Tzec receives Marcus Early Career Research Award.
The Marcus Early Career Research Award supports LCA faculty to work on research or creative work that addresses social issues in the U.S. and abroad. Assistant Professor of Visual Communication Design Omar Sosa-Tzec is one of the recipients of this award for 2022. This award releases faculty from instructional and service responsibilities for one semester in order to support their research. Sosa-Tzec's project is concerned with designing for digital wellbeing—the notion of having a balanced relationship with everyday technology.
Research shows that uncontrolled use of technology and screen time can undermine people's wellbeing by causing anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, and productivity loss, among other unfavorable effects. This situation has motivated designers in academia and industry to explore tools and solutions that promote digital wellbeing. For this project, Dr. Sosa-Tzec will engage in social semiotic multimodal analysis and design activities, including sketching and prototyping, to investigate speculative, metaphorical, delightful ways to display screen time and digital wellbeing-related information on mobile screens. By doing so, Sosa-Tzec seeks to illustrate the generative application of (metaphorical) design tension—a concept explored in his analytical research—in UI/UX design. Additionally, he urges UI/UX designers to explore deviation from conventional design patterns as a tactic to develop "design imagination" and new possibilities for mobile screen design.