Hey, What’s Your Problem?

Added 2/17/15 11:00 AM

By Tony Brinton, Vice President

True success begins with insightful problem definition. This article explores that idea and outlines some dos and don’ts.


The most successful user experiences don’t just happen. Many smart minds from a variety of disciplines and skill sets must come together at each step of a well-structured process and apply their best thinking and professionalism. But no amount of talent can bring great results if the initiative is poorly planned to begin with.

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Topics: Design Thinking Experience Design Product & Service Design Disruption & Innovation

The Power of Presence: Confessions of a Design Researcher

Added 2/12/15 2:30 PM

By Dom Crockett, Design Researcher

Raising your hand first, finishing first on a test, and having the right answer before anyone else -- these were the definitive marks of intelligence to a younger me. Being first was an obvious way to assert academic excellence, which made me feel accomplished, proud and special.

“This is the way the world works!” I thought, “Be smart. Be first. Be right.”

This belief in “the first” encouraged me to stay vigilant for information that would afford me leverage in a classroom or discussion and, unknowingly, created a solid foundation for my career in research. Constantly seeking information made me comfortable with discovering and learning, but rushing to conclusions was my folly.

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Topics: Research & Discovery Workshops & Learning

Beyond the Blind: How the Bradley Watch Embodies Human-Centered Design

Added 2/10/15 1:00 PM

By Syrena Huynh, researcher

As a researcher and a somewhat closeted product designer, I am always interested in hearing about design processes. After all, hindsight is always 20/20 and the notable memories of others are more likely to help than hurt our research and creation technique.

In a recent gathering at the Institute of Human Centered Design of Boston (IHCD), Hyungsoo Kim spoke about his journey in founding EONE and their pilot product, the Bradley Watch. While originally inspired to serve the blind, Kim spoke about the challenges of his design process, finding success through simplicity, and how centering design can often lead to serving a greater audience than the intended consumer base.

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Topics: Design Thinking Research & Discovery Product & Service Design Disruption & Innovation

We're Taking Off Our Shoes for User Research and Customer Personas

Added 2/2/15 1:30 PM

By Zarla Ludin, Director, Insights

“More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.”  -Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator

We recently conducted a week-long analysis effort with a client, and one of the natural behaviors we all had during that week was to leave our shoes at the door. The weather made for wet and sloppy conditions, and our office in Harvard Square is cozy with lots of natural light and high ceilings. Even if someone had mismatching socks or simply wouldn’t normally take their shoes off, we all did it anyway. During the week, this gesture came to symbolize our own little culture of openness and togetherness during this time of storytelling and personas discussion.

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Topics: Design Thinking Research & Discovery

The Rise of the On-Demand Personal Assistant: A Look Into Perssist

Added 1/29/15 11:30 AM

By Sean Echevarria, Business Partnerships Lead

With venture funding at its highest peak since 2000, it's not surprising to be running into entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds. Most notably, I’ve come across so many ex-Wall Street business people that took everything they learned in finance and applied it to their own ideas. To be honest most of their ideas don’t pan out to much (nothing against Wall Street, startups in general are risky), but once in a while I’ll find someone that’s on to something. Or in this case, they’ll find us.


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Topics: Disruption & Innovation Startups & Business Management

Will People Pay for an Innovative Solution If It's Cheap?

Added 1/28/15 1:00 PM

By Christo Claassens, Senior User Experience Designer

I favor a world that is simple. As an experience designer, I’m drawn to simple solutions. And in my experience working with organizations, the simple solution is often right in front of your eyes, but actually seeing it is time and again not that simple.

While practicing my craft, I have encountered many reasons that obscure the simple solution:

Budget - There’s no money

Schedules - There’s no time

Resources - Who will find time, and how will it be done?

Yet, what if all of these things don’t matter? What if the solution is cheap, quick to build, and doesn’t need plenty of resources? Surely then it’s a no-brainer to move forward.

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Topics: Experience Design Research & Discovery Product & Service Design

Avoiding the Curveball: Improving the ‘When’ of User Research

Added 1/20/15 11:00 AM

By Matt Karp, Senior Design Researcher

Often project kickoff calls follow the same series of steps: Discuss the issue. Get to know the main players. Start to come up with a plan of attack. Once in a while, however, those calls may throw you a curveball or two (you may have already read our response to a stakeholder’s expressed goal to conduct improper research to send a message to their superiors). Maybe it’s a logistical limitation or some unusual testing criteria, but despite all the excitement of kicking off a new project, often we may find ourselves (as so many UX professionals do) thrown into a design cycle too late to allow for truly meaningful change.

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Topics: Design Thinking Experience Design Research & Discovery

8 Quick Tips for Design Researchers and Moderators

Added 1/12/15 9:30 AM

By Julie Thiery, Senior Design Researcher


Sometimes the basics of moderating a user experience or design thinking research session get buried beneath the project details or moderator script. Before every research session I conduct, I flip to the inside cover of my field notebook or open the email I sent to myself that morning to remind myself to be mindful of these basic, but crucial, moderator tips to follow as I begin each session:

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Topics: Research & Discovery Tools & Downloads

The Trick to Being A Great Design Researcher and Moderator

Added 1/9/15 1:00 PM

By Julie Thiery, Senior Design Researcher


"It's all about empathy!" -- That's my response when people ask me how to be a great moderator of user experience and design research sessions. The trick is to lead with empathy, even before you ask your first question. It's the pre-interview preparation that's really important; what steps you take as the moderator to prepare yourself to walk in another's shoes.

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Topics: Research & Discovery Tools & Downloads

What's in Motivate Design's Holiday Gift Box this Year?

Added 1/5/15 8:30 AM

By Rae Marie Guimond, Marketing Manager

You won't find a wine stopper or paperweight in our gift box.

Here's a glimpse at our holiday gift! Every year our team has so much fun deciding on a gift, designing the packaging, and writing our year-end letter. Our inspiration this year was thinking about all the possible ways we're going to "knock your socks off" with What If and design thinking in 2015. So, what could be better than a gift of socks from LittleMissMatched?

See the Full 2014 Motivate Design Holiday Letter 

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Topics: News & Events

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