Design Research

Design Research

Discovering how anthropologists such as Lucy Suchman and Bonnie Nardi shaped the field of technology design changed everything for me. Before then, I struggled with the idea that the only career path open to me, as an anthropologist, was an academic one. But when I learned about how ethnography was being increasingly integrated into tech and other product design processes, that was it. I fell madly in love with this way of applying my skills, and never looked back.

At companies including GVO, Point Forward, Ricoh and Cheskin, I learned how to collaborate with designers, engineers, and MBAs. They challenged me to adapt my skills to the fast paced, results-oriented, and client focused world of design research. In turn, I discovered how powerful ethnography can be, beyond the ivory tower of academia, as a way to unearth the motivations and patterns of daily life that can lead to the design of more meaningful and emotionally resonant products – tangible things that bring joy, security, and wonder.

Today, I bring nearly two decades of experience in UX strategy + design research to my work as a freelance consultant. My clients are typically product or brand teams in Fortunate 500 companies looking for deeper insights into their customers, beyond the broad and superficial recommendations they tend to get from standard market research. They seek unique, culturally embedded, and nuanced understandings to shape their strategies.

I have conducted research around the world, including China, Japan, India, Mexico, Brazil, Western Europe, and the United States. Some areas I’ve worked in extensively include mobile tech, social media, sports, education, and entertainment. Consumer audiences I have worked with include bleeding edge tech users, basketball players, teen fashionistas, senior citizens, people living on less than a dollar a day, and fishermen working out on the Louisiana bayou. My clients have included: Microsoft, Google, Under Armour, Nickelodeon, Motorola, eBay, Coursera, Kohler, the Center for Disease Control, and Oracle.

My research skill set includes:

  • Ethnography
  • Participatory design
  • One on one in-depth interviews
  • Usability Testing
  • Focus Groups

LinkedIn: for more information about my work


Photo: Imagechina