Hye-Jin Nae

Hye-Jin Nae Photo

Designer, Educator, Researcher

As an award-winning and patent-holding designer specializing in user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design, Hye-Jin Nae brings her diverse and detail-orientated drive to every project and class she encounters. Originally from South Korea with a background in clothing and textile design, Hye-Jin came to the US to pursue a degree in graphic design, followed by an advanced degree, MFA, in computer graphics design. Post education, Hye-Jin led digital consumer projects in UI/UX design for Kodak, Yahoo, and EffectiveUI. In addition to her professional work, Hye-Jin returned to academia as a tenure-track faculty in the New Media Design program at RIT. Hye-Jin continues to leverage her professional experiences by integrating design in the National Institute of Health (NIH), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and industry sponsored research projects. She was also a contributing member of a startup healthcare company with fellow RIT alumni and researchers. Hye-Jin combines her unique professional, research, and academic expertise to expand the reach and impact of design through her multidisciplinary classes.


Research Focus

Hye-Jin’s domain experiences in UI/UX design and visual communication design have carried over into her research. She focuses on leveraging the design process and capabilities to build bridges between diverse research areas and individuals. Hye-Jin utilizes her professional digital UI/UX application design and product development experience in various funded research projects. As a PI for the DHS grant, contributing her expertise and design approach as a Co-PI in a large-scale NIH grant, Hye-Jin is expanding the value and integration of design in research.

In early 2020, Hye-Jin (PI) and Assistant Professor Miguel Cardona (Co-PI) published Ex-Out Creativity Handbook, an Apple and Android mobile application based on a $149,955 federal grant project. She continues to expand her research as Co-PI on an NIH awarded five-year $2,990,975 grant. The Ex-Out research project and mobile application are an applied design guide and open-access digital system to help others create awareness to stop the spread of hate and violence online. Project solutions were created by leveraging emerging tools with a diverse undergraduate and graduate design student research team. The project and researchers received notable recognitions and an invitation for the innovation and creativity panel at the Digital Forum at CMU. They were also selected to present in the innovative technology session at Ithaca College, CLS conference at MIT, Design Practices and Principles conference at UDEM, and UCDA Design Education Summit. The project received multiple awards, such as Gold from Indigo Awards, Bronze from IDA awards, Gold from the American Advertising Awards, Gold, Excellence, and Judge’s choice awards from UCDA Design Awards, Winner from American Web Design Awards, Finalist from Communication Arts Design Competition, and a Nominee from the Webby Awards. The project also received the RIT CAD Frank J. Romano Endowed Prize.

In Hye-Jin’s ongoing NIH funded project, Inconspicuous Daily Monitoring to Reduce Heart Failure (HF) Hospitalizations, her ability to research, plan, design, and test user experience solutions across a broad spectrum of product spaces will allow for the research project to effectively integrate the data capture and medical review requirements of the project. As a part of the multidisciplinary research team, Hye-Jin’s data visualization combine Electronic Medical Record (EMR), the Fully Integrated Toilet (FIT) seat data, an AI early alert system, and a patient’s daily wellness into a data-driven interactive tool for Heart Failure (HF) physicians review and analysis. Her industry and academic experience allow her to drive applied design research across multiple domains.

As a professional designer at Kodak, Yahoo, and EffectiveUI, Hye-Jin has had the opportunity to work on projects ranging from the Superbowl to future consumer digital product interfaces. Across all of these diverse projects, she has contributed to expanding and understanding of design’s role and power as a critical aspect of building effective products and companies. At RIT, Hye-Jin continues engaging researchers across various disciplines to contribute her design research and application expertise. Design is not a service to these projects but plays a central role in the planning, research, and enrichment of the core research outcomes. Hye-Jin has established a track record as a PI and Co-PI on various DHS and NIH grants and proposals through her relationships with the MAGIC Center, the PHT180 research group, and affiliated researchers. She looks forward to continuing her investigation and application of design across a broad range of domains and partnerships.

My Numbers


Years of Experiences


Years in Teaching


U.S. Patents


Recognition & Scholarship

Companies, Clients, Research Sponsors, and Affiliates

A list of consumer product companies, clients, and sponsored research funding agencies that I have worked for or have been supported by.

Company list

Design Practice

Design Innovation

Through observation, research, bench-marking and creative thinking, I am able to create new design directions and standards for standalone and consumer product line projects.


Design Leadership

Oversee the creative and visual direction of projects and other designers. This helps build a unified design direction and ensures each design applies the appropriate design foundations to their fullest potential in a project. This adds to the consistency, effectiveness and quality of consumer-based projects. Without a strong base in design fundamentals, projects will fall short of their desired objectives.


Detailed and Quality Focus

Concentrate on creating and reviewing the details of design projects. Develop designs and set standards in projects to build a consistency between products to ensure the consumer receives the highest quality experience. Oversee and educate other designers and team members on the principles, processes and techniques required during implementation.

Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is an opportunity for exploration and discovery in one’s profession, the classroom, and personal work. A teacher’s commitment and passion toward their field create the inspiration and empowerment that students require to succeed today. Teaching is a passion towards giving to the community, sharing ideas and skills, researching theories, and mentoring students. A teacher must stay current and push their field forward by participating in conferences, publishing works, and maintaining a working relationship between the academic and professional worlds. Dedication to teaching and enthusiasm for the subject matter requires a teacher to adapt to new content, skill sets and create new methods and structures for course material.

A teacher must bring fundamental resources and knowledge of a subject and an experience base beyond just the content of one particular course. Through personal and professional work, a teacher can then provide unique examples and situations to the classroom that can’t be found elsewhere. Thus, useful inter-disciplinary “real-world” problems and projects can be introduced, creating a highly motivational and exciting environment. My background and design work in fashion, graphic design, user interface, and user experience design across multiple platforms from consumer electronics, web, and mobile create a rewarding and advanced learning experience.

A teacher’s relationship with students must center around mutual respect and commitment towards the subject material. The teacher must become a mentor, helping to develop the students’ ability to assess, create and articulate ideas and visions in and out of the classroom. My mentors have done more than just aid in my development; they have set examples of passion and devotion to their profession for me to follow. I believe it is essential to set and share these examples with students to make them responsible designers and individuals. Every student is capable of contributing, developing opinions, raising questions, and creating solutions. By tapping into this relationship, a teacher makes the material accessible to the students and encourages growth and development. A teacher should guide this discovery to leave the class with an array of new skills, explanations, and possibilities. To enable the student’s discovery of the subject material, I believe a teacher must be wholly involved in the classroom, research, and real-world trends. As an international resident and professional, I understand what it means to encourage participation in new environments. The group’s strength isn’t in the similarities but the diversity, and I promote this sharing and collaboration with the students. Beyond encouraging participation on a personal level, a teacher must research, develop and disseminate unique material themself to demonstrate an active role within the domain.

Lectures and discussions act as the introduction, foundation, and conceptual basis to the content, while labs and demonstrations reinforce the material and give practical experience. Lab assignments allow the student to walk through the application of new concepts or skills procedurally. Additionally, this creates time to experiment with the concepts, creativity and allows for me to individualize and personalize the work to meet specific student needs. The students create several projects that combine the concepts and skills from lectures and lab to reinforce the content. By following this method, the students are given a foundation to express their vision and creativity. Lastly, the teacher must provide decisive and comprehensive feedback through leading in-class critiques, online commentary, and discussions.

Teaching should create a ripple effect in learning that lasts through the students’ education, career, and personal life. For example, social and international awareness plays a crucial role in today’s design environment. My goal is to bring my professional experiences and background to the classroom to excite students for design, learning, and appreciation of diversity. Finally, as a teacher, I want to push the students’ limits to reach their potential and expand their possibilities.