Studio Articles

All of our deep thoughts.

When Ego Gets in the Way of Innovation

Wherein we can substitute Innovation with Success, Change, and What Customers Need... Looking back over the past 3 years of Studio VO, I've seen a pattern. For many reading this, the pattern won't be a surprise: Most of our prospects start from a point of crisis. What I've been referring to as, in my imagined words of the client, "we need to put out the fire du jour."


Reduce Waste

Do I have a solution? Sort of: If I'm in the return window, have been an Amazon customer since 2002, pay for Prime membership, and don't have a history of "gaming the system," just give me the bloody refund already.


Experience Design, The Talk Show?

​A few weeks ago we launched a YouTube channel called We Can Do Better​. It's a show about Experience Design (broadly) that is co-hosted with my friend and long-time collaborator, Matt Wallens.


Startup Therapy Office Hours

I'm partnering with Tara Horn of The Praxis Department​ to offer 4 days of office hours. We're calling it Startup Therapy. You don't have to be a startup to sign up, but since we're basing out of PIE, we figured it'd be a good title. We'll be available from 9am to 2pm each day.


30 Days Later

Had an excellent time toodling around Ireland & Scotland with my friend and colleague. Many whisky tastings. Meeting agency owners and prospective clients. Attending two conferences and speaking at one of them. As well as travelling around The South™ of the UK with friends old and new.


Just What The Heck Is UX?

I know what UX is and I also do not recognize what it is. Ultimately, it’s a question best put to rest. A better question will always be: how can we help? And, related, how do we become better helpers?


What Is Expensive?

Someone who looks at their budget and says, for example, “I only have $50,000 for Research and Design.” $72K is going to blow that budget. The same person hires a company that will do the work for $35K, then ends up spending $100K because they are locked in and are on the hook to launch something great.


Get Your Ship in Shape

If the C-levelers don’t believe in building for customer needs, it almost doesn’t matter if you, as an individual contributor, do.


Listen Up

If you’re making art, you probably don’t need to talk with anyone about what you’re making. If you’re making something people will use, and possibly pay for, it’s worth having a conversation or dozen.


Service Design

Service Design looks broadly and deeply at the interactions between people on the outside of a business and people on the inside of it; from what motivates people to engage with the business, to how the business should best entice and serve them, to how customers and companies deal with each other once they have an established relationship.


How Do We Make Meaningful Work?

We all have to play our roles, but ultimately we’ve come together, hopefully, to make something that has meaning and we don’t necessarily have to fall into Industrial Age hierarchies in order to accomplish our shared goals.


Book Review: Design For Real Life

How can we design for real world stress, aka, the real life of our customers? Design for Real Life explores this question and ways we can ethically test our work with real people.


Reduce Suffering, Increase Dignity

A tweet I posted last November was part being silly, but it was also the idealist in me wondering why so many products and services aren't attempting to reduce suffering and increase dignity.


Users Never...

As we say around here, people are weird, and they will use your product in ways you never imagined. There's only one way to find out how, and that's by asking.


Before the Screen Loads

We’d been on the conference call for a little over fifteen minutes talking with the client about the early results of usability testing on an application for reviewing the results of a DNA test. We were seeing reactions of “too many screens,” and too much medical jargon that wasn’t explained. Test participants were getting lost and felt underwhelmed. Eventually, they would all find the right information, but the usability test results didn’t feel like a success in terms of the design proving helpful.


Working Within Constraints

It isn’t fun to be constrained when trying to solve a problem or explore an opportunity. Having too little time and too little budget is something everyone runs into. But working within a constraint can lead to some surprising and creative outcomes.


Ethics and Technology

What does it mean for technology to be ethical, and whose responsibility is to foresee the side effects of any given technology? We explore these questions and ideas for a more ethical approach.


We Can Do Better

A company’s reputation feeds as much its ability to turn a profit as does the things it creates in its operations. Your design should take that into account. The people who approve your deliverables should understand that. The people that sign the cheques should demand it. It’s on all of us to stand up, be good hosts, and say “We can do better.”


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