CoderHeroes offers virtual coding programs for students to narrow STEM’s education gap.

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Caption: “Coderheroes: Coding Is A Superpower”. Image: Young girl poses powerfully in a super hero cape with one fist raised.


Technology is reshaping the way we work and learn. Giving underserved people the opportunity to learn coding is increasingly critical to empower the next generation in the digital age. The need is paramount today for educational programs to support creativity, coding, and STEAM programming among underserved youth.

I had the opportunity to research and design for CoderHeroes, a program committed to teaching coding, providing access to computer resources, and educating youth with technological skills. CoderHeroes works in tandem with Code Your Dreams to provide middle and high school students in underserved Chicago communities with free computer science courses, as well as access to laptops, WiFi, and devices needed to create apps through coding.

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Caption: Code Your Dreams is a non-profit organization that provides culturally relevant, community-based technological programs to underserved youth and adults in Chicago, IL. This picture shows a person holding a Python textbook by O’Reilly. Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Code Your Dreams provides culturally relevant, community-based technological programs to underserved youth and adults in Chicago, IL, and empowers the community with code.

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Caption: Remember when networking used to look like this? People sharing the same physical space, as experts imparted career insights and inspired job skills and pathways with peers and mentors. [Pictured: a diverse group of career-minded professionals, some in business suits, some in casual clothing, both sitting and standing next to each other, and having a discussion together in the physical shared space of a room. One person is talking and gesturing with their body language, while the other people appear to be listening, thinking, and paying attention to the speaker. Framed geometric designs decorate the walls.]

Remember back when career networking still looked like this? Professionals sat or stood together in the same physical spaces, as experts shared job insights and pathways with mentees within the confines and context of physically shared spaces. The action of giving or receiving advice was met by simply attending the same café chat, coding challenge, or conference. Hiring experts might collect information about interested candidates with a physical resume in a job fair. Mentoring experts might inspire pathways to junior candidates in a candid meeting. How might we facilitate virtually network in the midst of a global pandemic?

Our Context

The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) in Washington, D.C. is the central technology organization and district-wide government office which is committed to providing technology infrastructure and solutions to improve services to businesses, residents, and visitors to the District (see: OCTO). The City of DC is dedicated to providing equitable access to technological resources and job opportunities while expanding their tech community, and they also wish to help their community envision a more robust future than what they currently know. Our 3-person team, which consisted of an interaction lead, a research lead, and myself as project manager, was engaged to create a mid-fidelity prototype for OCTO, in order to bridge the challenge of building equitable futures. …

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Caption: Givhero is a “health app, workout app, and donation app all in one.” Givhero supports non-profits by using “the power of social impact to engage employees to be healthy and socially responsible” (

User Testing plays a critical role in ensuring usability of the best tools — especially applications and services that enable companies to promote remote employee wellness and community outreach.

As remote work becomes an increasing norm, business leaders seek the most efficient technology to help their teams stay connected, engaged, and productive.


Givhero supports non-profits by using “the power of social impact to engage employees to be healthy and socially responsible” (

In an era of remote connectedness, many companies are looking to motivate employees to continue engaging in health and wellness behaviors. …

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Industries need to be co-designing for neurodiversity. The time is now.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month in America. In 2020, there is a law that lets U.S. businesses get away with sub-minimum wage: paying less than minimum wage to workers who self-identify with disabilities.


I was recently prompted by Adobe to understand the context of the systematic marginalization surrounding neurodiversity in the creative industry, and was tasked to solve for a marginalized and underrepresented group of creatives, whether in helping folks find hiring opportunities, showcasing work, or connecting them to resources to thrive.

My goal was to design practical solutions to optimize inclusivity in the areas of recruitment, networking, mentorship, and accessibility by using user-centered Design Thinking. …


Diana Kao

Passionate about UX Design and listening to people

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