A Neurodiverse Perspective of a Neurodiverse UX Design Influencer

Jason Yuan, an influential designer who claims to believe that “technology creators must take responsibility for being constructors of our social world,” must be held accountable for actions that don’t align with his own words. This post describes the experience of a neurodiverse person who met Jason.

Jason, titled one of Adobe’s “UX Designers to Watchand “like Kanye” according to UNCO, released Mercury OS, which is an operating system for neurodiverse people. He claims to have “learned a lot about empathy — a necessary skill for user experience design, a field that requires one to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes,” but his words do not align with his actions.

During a meet-up with Jason, he assumed that he was the only one in the conversation who experienced a late diagnosis and a system not designed for neurological diversity while weaponizing this experience as an excuse for rudeness and condescension. It seems that his ego invalidates others, including other neurodivergent people, which is troubling because he is a decision-maker for influential devices and systems.

He threatened to punch me when I disagreed with his ideas. This same person insulted my ideas while referencing his musical theater studies at an elite private university, Northwestern University, as a definitive reason for his superiority. In the same meet-up, he made statements that disparaged people who take classes at General Assembly, alluding to people he met.

Private industry expertise, resume, or diagnosis do not make him superior to others. If he subscribes to a superiority complex of knowledge, it seems that no one ever taught him about subjectivity, fact, and opinion.

On Medium, he writes, “I hope to continue writing and expressing my opinions on Medium to help uplift marginalized communities in technology and design through providing resources and guidance to those who may need it.” One must divest of patronizing and ego-led behavior to help others.

An influencer must realize that his voice and influence should not shame, belittle, or devalue others’ experiences.

We all have flaws and make mistakes. Jason is human and does not deserve shame; however, an influencer must realize that his voice and influence should not shame, belittle, or devalue others’ experiences and opinions (including neurodivergent folks). Shaming someone for their mistakes is dehumanizing, and the purpose of this post is to spark honest conversations about massive egos in the design and technology spaces, not to shame anyone.