About Us

We care deeply about looking holistically at problems & opportunities. We don't rush into solutions. We're interested in what you're trying to achieve, and why. We're more than happy to help you put out the fire du jour, but then we'll make sure the fire never happens again.

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Matthew Oliphant

Founder & Principal

Matthew has led the research, design, and testing efforts for dozens of product & service projects. He's led research efforts to understand the needs of organ transplant recipients and people who suffer from migraines 24/7, greatly improved turnaround times for health insurance arbitration cases, and helped doctors communicate dense genomics information to consumers.

While his work impacts primarily healthcare, he has improved insurance, banking, accounting, CRM, fundraising, marketing, e-commerce, business processing, education, transportation, engineering, SaaS, B2B, B2C, and the rare C2B.

Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Elise Lind

Research Strategist

Elise specializes in design research, adapting many different techniques to understand users' needs, design a positive user experience, and validate it through testing. She has over 20 years’ experience in human factors engineering, UX research, and interaction design, with a BS in mechanical engineering and MS in human factors psychology.

Connect with her on LinkedIn.


Katerina Ivkova

Design Researcher

Katerina is a veteran Design Researcher who excels at mapping systems at all levels to find ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness as well as to reduce waste and increase revenue. Over the past 15 years she has improved the Telecommunications, Engineering, and Education industries. Katerina has an MS in Human Factors in Information Design.

Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Matt Wallens

Service Designer

Matt is a senior service design consultant focused on research, training, and design. With over 20 years experience, he’s researched products for web, desktop, & mobile and guided clients through project discovery, strategy, and functional design.

If you want to better understand your customers or employees so that you can make a real, positive impact on their lives, he’ll help you do it.

Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Peter Russo

Product Designer

Peter has designed applications that help systems engineers who build complex products reduce risk and meet their auditing needs, smoothed the path-to-enrollment for college applicants, and created tools for citizens to tell stories about their communities using public data.

Whether the project requires running a workshop to get everyone on the same page, facilitating usability tests to validate ideas, or building a design system to make work more efficient - it will be done collaboratively, thoughtfully, and with the end goal of making lives better.

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Kristin Valentine

Founder Emeritus

Kristin had every intention of becoming a famous Oboist, but after getting her degree she went into design and technology, first as an interactive designer, and later a web developer.

She worked both with large international companies like Sharp Labs to design and prototype smart TV interfaces and smart home devices, as well as with smaller companies where she helped bring their brand to the web. As a full time developer, she has championed accessibility, thoughtful systems implementation, and user-centric interfaces.

Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Building Community

Studio VO proudly founded and continues to support PDXHCD — The Portland Human-Centered Discipline Collective. In this case, the D in HCD is for Discipline, not Design, because we want to be more inclusive of everyone who practices human-centered work.

The PDXHCD logo.

Let‘s work together

Have a question? Want to know more about what we can do for you? Send us a brief description of your project, and we'll get in touch.

Or send us an email if you prefer.