Indi Young was afflicted with the "problem solving" disease at an early age. Her parents are both inveterate problem solvers. At her father's side, she watched him figure out how to build an airplane with folding wings so it could be stored in a garage instead of housed in an expensive hangar. With her mother, she learned about growing wheat and grinding it for flour to make bread, since there were no good whole wheat loaves available at the supermarket. When it came time to leave for university, Indi chose Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, wholly because of their motto: "Learn by Doing."
At Cal Poly, she studied Computer Science. Nights, she worked in the computer lab with the latest in computer software: the Xerox Star Desktop Operating System. (Remember? The OS that inspired the Lisa computer?) In the lab, she helped other students with their projects and enjoyed staying up until 2am with the other "lab rats" eating M&M's and pizza, programming numerical analysis formulas, and filling the sysadmin's office with old mag tape, since they could store things on 8.5 inch floppies instead. Solving people's problems and inventing reliable methods to produce solutions has been Indi's passion.
After earning her BS in 1987, Indi did some coursework towards her Master's in Computer Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins until she discovered that a masters in Computer Science would only set her up to be a good compiler writer. (No offense to all the compiler writers she knows who now work at Sun.) Instead, she had illusions of solving the ease-of-use problem inherent in all software of the day. Oddly enough, she began by designing the graphical interface to an edit-compile-debug environment written for a Unix Cray supercomputer spin-off. After that, she pursued the more user-friendly pen-based arena, designing several handy applications for the various start-ups involved, such as Go and Slate. When that instantiation of the pen-based OS imploded in 1992, Indi moved on to an operating system that had captured the majority of users and had a thriving developer community. (Yes, Windows.) Luckily, the Web came along soon thereafter.
Indi began her work in Web applications in 1995 as a consultant in interaction and navigation design. A founding partner of Adaptive Path in 2001, she has worked with an impressive collection of clients, including Visa, Charles Schwab, Sybase, Agilent, Dow Corning, Microsoft, and PeopleSoft. Since 1993, Indi has constructed over 35 mental model research projects. She considers this methodology she has developed another good way to be a "problem solver."
Indi is a lifetime member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).