Blog  frogs on the road

As Myanmar Opens Up, Will Mobile Money Emerge?

Blog  frogs on the road

Who Knew a Meatball Could Determine Your Destiny?

Prio is a meatball seller in Ciherang, and this morning he invited us in to sit down and chat. His day typically starts at 3:30am when he wakes up. From 4:00am to 6:00am, Prio goes to the market to buy ingredients, returns home, and makes meatballs until 9:30am. From 9:30am to 10:00am he takes a rest. The the real work begins from 10:00am to 10:00pm when Prio sells his product. All of this hard work nets him about 100,000 rupiah a day - or roughly $10. He knows which days he makes more money (Saturdays and Mondays), but he has no idea why.

Blog  frogs on the road

frog in Indonesia: Looking for the Financial Equivalent of a Motorbike

Our first experience in Jakarta consisted of walking through mud and over broken stones to get to a client meeting. The streets, congested because of severe traffic, meant taking a taxi the 3.6 km would have taken too much time. So, off we went, negotiating the heat in our business attire.

Blog  frogs on the road

Connecting With Users: A Design Research Primer for Healthcare

The more I work with early state healthcare companies, the more I hear that user experience is a big concern for CEOs. Patients and providers are now, more than ever, driving the decision for which products get purchased and how they get used. Much of this choice is based on whether or not the product is usable and fits within their workflow and needs. Reaching out to users and gaining insights on how they work and what they respond to is the underpinning of good user experience and key in shaping product decisions.

In this post, I provide an overview of design research and focus on some areas to help early stage healthcare technology companies plan and execute research to  gain insights from connecting with users.

Blog  Intangible

Know Thy User: The Role of Research in Great Interactive Design

At the recent HOW Interactive Design Conference in Washington DC, I gave a presentation called "Know Thy User: The Role of Research in Great Interactive Design." This 30-minute high-level talk was intended to provide conference attendees with repeatable processes that will help them integrate user research into their interactive projects. Other presenters at the conference went more in-depth into some of the methods mentioned in this talk, but I felt that it was important for attendees to understand the role of specific methods and activities within the research process on any design project.

Blog  Amphibious

What Customers Want (Except When They Don't)

It’s a well known bromide of user research: customers don’t always know what they want - even when they think they do. Just because they can articulate it explicitly and provide detailed use cases, is no guarantee that once they get the thing they’ve asked for and desired, that they will in fact want it.

Blog  Intangible

Where the Roads Become Rivers

Street, Dhaka

The following reflections and photographs I captured in the margins of a recent trip to Bangladesh for a client project.

The rules of the road? There are no rules. Riding in a fast-moving car, the freeway is a fat, pulsing vein, and we are but one blood cell swirling through the body called Dhaka.

Blog  Interpretations

Egyptian Mobile Habits: Bad Accounting or Careful Planning?

It is tempting for an outside observer to conclude that people with extremely limited means are unable to plan ahead or to make sound financial decisions. When we first arrived in Cairo on a design research trip this year and talked to members of disenfranchised classes, we found ourselves precariously close to making such a mistake. We noticed puzzling behaviors that challenged our Western perspective and initially encouraged us to draw the wrong conclusion. 

Blog  Interpretations

The Art of Design Research (and Why It Matters)

Design can exist without "the research." But if we don't study the world, we don't always know how or what to create.

Blog  Interpretations

The 'Science' of Good Design: A Dangerous Idea


Design, like the world as a whole, is unpredictable and messy. If you think it boils down to "research," you're mistaken.

A job interview can be a pretty dry affair, but a few years ago, I had one that I'll never forget. I was talking to an advertising executive about one of his clients, a major telecommunications company that had recently renamed itself. At the end of the interview, he asked if I had any questions for him. "What do you think about your client's decision to change names?" I asked. It seemed to me that discussing the pros and cons of a decision like this would be one of the more interesting aspects of a job in advertising. But his response didn't inspire much of a dialogue.

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