Engagement Team

Our Mission

We help organizations define and develop their vision and innovation practices, and get the right talent together to bring that vision and set of practices to life. By giving team members within our client organizations the energy, knowledge, and space to tap into their own passions, we empower them to build experiences that delight their customers and grow their bottom line.

Creativity can be taught. Meet your new instructors.

Tangible Thinking is brought to you by Tangible UX, a full-service user experience consulting firm for Fortune 500, mid-market and start-up companies, with clients spanning technology, education, finance, communications, media and entertainment. With Tangible Thinking, Tangible UX is peeling back the veil and empowering businesses, government agencies and nonprofits with the tools they need to become wildly successful designers of their own customer-centric solutions.

James Young

Tangible Thinking Founder and Facilitator

James Young has been described as an “engaging, innovative design leader.” He’s worked in user experience design for more than two decades, and has demonstrated the ability to build a sustainable culture of creativity and teamwork. Along the way, James has partnered with a variety of forward-thinking, industry-leading organizations (such as Apple, Adobe, AOL, Intuit, eBay and Yahoo!) to optimize their user experiences and increase their market share, revenue, and customer loyalty. James teaches creativity at Stanford and at the California College of Arts. James works closely with internal teams and other partners, sharing customer-centric innovation tools that enable people to unlock their creative problem-solving abilities.

Erin Malone


Erin has over 25 years of experience leading experience design teams and designing websites, mobile applications, social experiences and system-wide components and best practices. A principal of Tangible UX, she has led user experience and strategy projects for Capital One, Autodesk, Facebook, Akamai, Verizon, Intuit, Netflix, Yahoo! and other small and large companies. Prior to Tangible she worked at Yahoo!, AOL, AltaVista, Adobe and Kodak. She was a founding member of the IA Institute, former chief editor of Boxes and Arrows for 5 years and is the co-author, of the book Designing Social Interfaces 2nd Edition, published by O’Reilly Media. She is an Associate Professor at California College of the Arts, in the Interaction Design BFA program.

Deb Aoki

Simple Sketching Instructor and Tangible Thinking Coach

Deb is a versatile creative strategist who combines her writing, drawing, and design skills to help drive transformational end-to-end customer experiences. Deb is a seasoned storyteller, teacher, and design thinker. In addition to her content and design strategy work with Sony, eBay, Citrix, and Microsoft, Deb has taught workshops on sketching for UX and creative problem solving for companies in Japan (All Nippon Airways), India (UXReactor), and N. America (Docusign, AT&T/DirecTV).Deb’s storyboards and sketches have been featured in Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Creating Value through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams by Jim Kalbach (O’Reilly, 2016), See What I Mean: How to Use Comics to Communicate Ideas by Kevin Cheng (Rosenfeld Media, 2012), and Designing Connected Products: UX for the Consumer Internet of Things by Claire Rowland, Elizabeth Goodman, Martin Charlier, Ann Light, Alfred Lui (O’Reilly, 2015)