By Ani Phelan

Lots of articles cover keeping the kids entertained when you work from home. But adapting the way you work in little ways can have a big impact.

dad working from kitchen while daughter draws

By now, hopefully, many of you are settling into your new work surroundings. The kitchen table, the couch, or your home office. The coffee is brewing, the news is on quietly in the background, the birds are chirping, the -


Oh, right. You have kids. And school is closed. This is not, in fact, that distraction-free opportunity to get that big project done. …

by Ani Phelan

Prompted by concerns around COVID-19 my inbox is filling up with questions about how I set up my teams to be successful working remotely.

Before I dive in, please follow reliable sources like the WHO and CDC to guide you, not sensationalized media.

At Work at Play, we’ve been running remote teams since 2010. We now function completely as a distributed team. Here are my top 5 tips for effective communication with remote teams.

remote team video conference

1. Use Slack

Slack is a vital tool for communicating with team members. I won’t go into the ins and outs of Slack, there are plenty…

by Ani Phelan & David Gratton

In the last 20 years, the one thing that separates companies that make great products or deliver great campaigns are those who rely heavily on qualitative research rather than quantitative research.

quant vs. qual

Still, many companies rely almost exclusively on quantitative research. And for those that do both, their customer research budgets tend to lean heavily toward quantitative research instead. Why is that?

  1. Quantitative research is easy to collect. Whereas, qualitative research is hard to gather and parse.
  2. Quantitative research provides datasets and numerical descriptions that can be measured and graphed.
  3. Quantitative research provides assumed statistical…

By Ani Phelan, Director of Operations

Work at Play continues to invest in VR/AR computing. As part of our YVR Mixed Reality Meetup our office hosted a medical Special Interest Group (SIG) last month, which focused on bringing mixed reality technologies to the medical profession.

The connection between industries began when Work at Play CEO David Gratton was asked to speak at the INTERFACE Health Summit, a global conference for leading experts to share ideas and innovation on the future of health and medicine. David immediately turned to the YVR Mixed Reality Meetup to find local technology experts working in the medical field to be part of his presentation. The connections made at the Summit between these industries were so successful that the YVR Medical SIG was formulated.

The YVR Mixed Reality SIG is a bi-monthly event with prominent…

By Ani Phelan, Director of Operations

Last month we pulled back the curtain on the secret behind designing and building successful products: the mental model.

The mental model is the single most important tool for understanding your audience.

It’s a game changer for anyone interested in a highly visual, customer-centric tool aimed at product strategy, marketing, and user experience design

At the Work at Play offices on October 27, Director of User Experience Lorraine Chisholm, and Senior Researcher Ashley van Herten led a sold-out workshop on Mental Model Fundamentals for people from a range of industries and backgrounds including consumer products, SaaS, supply chain logistics, and marketing.

If you want to learn how to harness this cutting-edge tool, join…

By Christopher Brandt, Director of Technology

Do you need a VanHUG? Join the Vancouver HoloLens User Group for a chance to meet and collaborate with other HoloLens developers.

VanHUG (the HUG stands for HoloLens User Group) originated with myself and a handful of enthusiastic YVR Mixed Reality members when we saw a need for a tech-heavy meetup with an emphasis on coding. The aim of VanHUG is to push HoloLens mixed reality technology to the next level by connecting developers across the Vancouver tech community.

The new Vancouver HoloLens development group is meeting for the first time on Wednesday November 16th at the Work at Play studio. Anyone currently developing for the HoloLens is welcome to join us.

Let us know you’re coming through the group!

By Ani Phelan, Director of Operations

The Mental Model is the single most important tool for understanding your audience.

October 27, 2016 | 9:30–4:30 | 500–329 Railway St.

RESERVE NOW: workshop is limited to 25 seats only!

We’re extremely excited to invite you to our Mental Model Fundamentals workshop: open to the public for the very first time.

We’ve created mental models for renowned brands including Microsoft, Rennie Marketing, CPA Canada and BCAMA that informed their products, campaigns and strategies, and helped them better anticipate the unique needs of their audiences.

Over the past few years, we’ve led our clients’ teams — CEOs, marketers, product owners, designers, and developers — through our specialized workshops to understand and use their audience mental model.

Now we welcome you to join us for our…

By David Gratton, CEO of Work at Play

We kicked off the first YVR Mixed Reality meetup at the Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre last month with a mix of developers, designers, and thought leaders who work in or contribute to the growing field of mixed reality.

The evening began with guest speaker Darren Bennett, a lead creative designer on the HoloLens, who shared some inspiring words on the future of mixed reality.

Interestingly, David Bennett painted a portrait of mixed reality not dissimilar from the predictions we laid out in our recent post, Why MR Wins Over VR. Bennett too sees mixed reality as a massive gamechanger. Mixed reality has become an exciting space of rapid growth; one that’s worth investing in for anyone interested in the future of communication, and user experience design.

After David Bennett’s talk…

By David Gratton, CEO of Work at Play

Pokémon Go became a worldwide phenomenon seemingly overnight. Within days of its launch in the United States, CBC was calling me asking, “Is this a watershed moment in AR?” Well, the numbers certainly support that claim: Pokémon Go earns a reported $1 million a day from in-app purchases, and has garnered over 15 million downloads to date.

Drowzee on the Work at Play couch.
The popularity of
Pokémon Go will no doubt lead to imitators — which is great for AR innovation.

If nothing else, Pokémon Go is surely a turning point for geocaching — over 9.5 million daily active users harness the power of GPS to scour the streets for local Pokémon — but I stop short of declaring the game a watershed moment for AR.

Pokémon Go uses my phone’s GPS to identify key markers (PokeStops, gyms, and Pokémon) quite successfully. If I stand near water I’m likely to find more water Pokémon, but this is only a simple, rudimentary manifestation of AR technologies.

By Lorraine Chisholm, Strategist & User Experience Consultant, Work at Play

Here at Work at Play, the single greatest impact we’ve made to up the quality of our product design and development has been replacing personas with mental models. For us, the mental model is the undisputed champion. No other tool has come close to replicating the dramatic increase in quality we saw after adopting the mental model. We are leaving the persona behind. You should too, and here’s why…

UPDATE: Our latest workshop on the Mental Model, ‘Know Your Customers Better Than Your Competition’ is coming up on February 26th, 2020. Register Now for Early Bird pricing!

User experience design has come a long way since the 90’s. When personas were introduced to the world in 1998 via Alan Cooper’s groundbreaking book, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, UX was still in its infancy. Cooper popularized the bold concept of “thinking like a user” and the persona quickly became all the rage. The success of the persona did…

Work at Play

The Art and Science of Successful Products

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