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Scene: An Hour Past Midnight

It is an hour past midnight and you are still wide awake. After scrolling through various social media feeds, you decide you need to talk to someone. The question is, who is actually available for a chat right now? Then you remember, your one-night owl buddy who is always up for a conversation the moment you say, “hey, are you awake?” Lo and behold, your buddy is awake, and even though he is busy eating a late night snack of pizzas, he is ready for some banter. …

Celeste Title Screen


I recently started playing an Indie Platformer Game on my Nintendo Switch called Celeste. This game is about a girl named Madeline, whose goal is to climb the top of Celeste Mountain amidst obstacles both physically and mentally.

The game has received critical acclaim for its climbing mechanic, level design, and emotionally charged storytelling. However, the one thing that impressed me the most was in the user experience of the game’s Assist Mode, which allows players the ability to adjust the difficulty of the game.

Let me break it down to explain the brilliance of the user experience of Celeste’s…

Trader Joe’s Entrance


I remember the first time I entered a Trader Joe’s store 4 years ago, it took me by surprise. If I were to sum up my first impressions of Trader Joe’s it would be the following four C’s: compact, convenient, cost-effective, and cordial.

I was amazed by how a grocery store with so little square footage can contain fresh produce, snacks, and many other items at such ridiculously affordable price points in a welcoming atmosphere. …


One of the most underrated aspects of conducting a user study is the importance of building rapport with your users. Whether it be a user interview or a usability test, you need to make sure your users feel comfortable and open as they speak with you, the moderator, so that you can receive the most candid and authentic feedback to help improve the software experience for the product you are designing. So how do you build rapport in a user study? The following sections will help you break down how you can build better rapport with your users.

Always Be Friendly, Welcoming, And Personable

Screenshot Of A Greeting. Photo Credit: ProjectUX


OpenIDEO Austin Affinity Mapping Exercise. Photo Credit: Jami Peets


Recently, the OpenIDEO Austin Chapter held an ideation session on the topic of mental health and social isolation at the IBM Design Studio.

Mental health and social isolation is surrounded in social stigma. Yet, it is a huge problem that affects people of all walks of life. The goal of the ideation session was to gather everyone together to discuss and understand the issue and kick start potential ways to address it.

Ideation Process


When I was in High School back in the mid-2000s, I remember getting into an argument with a friend of mine over Mac vs. Windows. My friend argued that Macs were too expensive and did the exact same things that a Windows Machine could. I, on the other hand, argued that Macs were much easier to understand and more intuitive, so you could simply focus on the tasks without worrying about trying to understand how the system works or dealing with errors. My friend then stated that Mac users were stupid and that it takes more intelligence to understand how…

Srikant Chari

UX Researcher and Information Architect

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