Yavni Bar-Yam

Get in touch → yavni@yavni.org

I care about people, so I design for them.

I grew into the field of design from professional backgrounds in analytical science and theatrical storytelling, along with habits of tinkering, sketching and asking questions. As a designer, I get to draw insight about the world as much through interpersonal empathy as quantitative data. Then I get to improve the world based on those insights, using an evolutionary process of solution-invention, prototyping, testing and modification, which demands both imagination and rigor.

I recently graduated from the User Experience Design Immersive at General Assembly and I have previously taken the Human-Centered Design course through +Acumen and IDEO.org.
download my resumé →
find me on Bēhance →

Here are a few of my projects.

Digital User Experience Design

conText App: Learn what you learn.

We are used to being able to look up any fact or definition we need to know in the moment. But some people find themselves looking up the same things again and again, and are frustrated to recognize that they aren't internalizing any of it. I designed conText to help people really learn and recall the new tidbits they are picking up throughout the day.

ConText is a different kind of flashcard app: rather than teaching you words from an arbitrary list, it allows you to quiz yourself on things you have recently learned. And when you need a hint, the app jogs your memory with a cue from the context where you originally encountered the tidbit.

Use cases include: increasing your vocabulary, learning peoples' names, studying facts, dates, information.

TrueSpirit: Uniform content; unconventional design.

Designing for specialized marketplaces means understanding the needs of a particular audience with particular goals. In creating an e-commerce site for a school uniform company, I recognized the opportunities and challenges that differentiate it from a conventional online clothing retailer. Because school uniforms are generally a required purchase, True Spirit had the chance to save screen real estate from the pervasive "internal advertisements" of other sites, and focus instead on making the experience as good as it could be for busy parents who want their shopping flow under their control and organized around their needs.

Features I invented in response to customers' context included (1) lightweight profiles for different children you can switch between at will, and add as much or as little information to as you go, (2) an ever-accessible shopping cart, and (3) dynamic filtering.
read case study on Bēhance →

Intrepid Travel: Bringing the safe adventure of group travel back to the booking experience.

Finding and booking a group tour online is a delicate process for a would-be traveler—she is taking in a lot of new information and keeping multiple different factors in mind to find the right trip. A group tours company has to maintain for her the spirit of adventure and sense of security through all the detailed arrangements. After all, a would-be traveler has about four other browser tabs open at the same time, with comparable options from competitors.

A team of us—experience and visual designers and researchers—redesigned the online experience of group tour company Intrepid Travel. Our innovative and appealing ways to explore options keep site visitors engaged in the process and protect them from feeling dead-ended.
read case study on Bēhance →

Boston.com Weather: Talking about the weather...

Boston.com is the web presense of The Boston Globe that focuses on local news and events. This broadly-read site is in process of a revamp, section by section. They gave us the mission of redesigning their weather page to increase engagement and reinforce their local identity as "the voice of Boston". Through intensive research, testing and ongoing client interaction, we generated tens of unique design possibilities and several new features, and iterated multiple times on the best ones.
see designs on Bēhance →

Product Design


Possibility Cubes: Unlimited play.

How do you make a backyard playground that will grow along with rambunctious, capable young kids? I found out in a two-person, two-day reconnaissance-design-build-play mission. Our solution involved modular cubes of all possible permutations of faces that could be stacked, crawled through, hidden in, climbed on and augmented over time with rope, tarps, wood, bricks and anything else the kids find and are drawn to.
see a picture →
see another →
see another →

Other Fun Stuff


Complex Systems: Scientific insights on collective behavior.

Complex systems research uses rigorous data analysis and mathematical modeling to understand fundamental questions about collective behaviors—human organizations and populations, atmospheric dynamics, biological organisms, ecologies, and more. My work at the New England Complex Systems Institute focused on global economic systems, new mathematical tools for quantifying organizational structure, and communicating the science visually, verbally and orally.
read more about my work →

Theater: Engaging audiences in multisensory storytelling.

Theater holds the thrill of putting myself wholly into a thousand other souls, the challenge of reaching and deeply communicating with a crowd of strangers sitting in the dark, and the feat of keeping the story-arc moving and the visuals in mind, while staying precisely in one moment, one mind. From acting, to playwriting, to devising puppet dramas, the theater is for me exercise and expression—fundamentally collaborative, and also essentially personal.
download my acting resumé →
check out the plays I have written →

Bright Biblical Doors: Drawing benefit from an unfortunate situation.

Faced with bedroom doors that afforded no privacy, I embarked on a visual art/design/engineering project with results that went beyond solving the problem.
see my process →

Creativity Jams: Community, collaboration, and productivity.

I host "creativity jams", each time with 20–40 people from all different disciplines and backgrounds attending to work on creative projects, find collaborators, learn from each other, and enjoy the atmosphere of co-working. I have inspired others to hold their own creativity jams.