Bold Insight and The Office of Experience team up for charity

Bold Insight and The Office of Experience team up for charity

Focusing on designing and delivering great experiences, Bold Insight, a user experience research agency, and The Office of Experience (OX), an experience design and digital innovation consultancy, co-hosted a charity event in Chicago on November 13. Similar to a Bold Insight event in June, the casino-themed night provided winners with the opportunity to select their favorite charity to receive donations from Bold Insight and OX.

This event is a win-win.  We are able to make a contribution to a variety of non-profit organizations and bring together UX leaders in the community.  It’s a chance to connect professionally and have a little fun, while at the same time donate to worthy causes,” said Robert Schumacher, Managing Director of Bold Insight. 

Donations ranging from $150 to $300 were given to the following charities: Project C.U.R.E.Hearts to Art,  Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Children’s Place Association, Gi Gi’s Play house, One Million Degrees, Hope For The Day, Chicago Public Schools through The New Chance: Arts & Literature Fund, and Friends of the Chicago River.

Carlos Manalo, Founder of OX, added, “We believe that The Experience is the Brand® and, for this event, all the UX leaders who represented their brands definitely raised the bar in terms of excitement, networking, and connecting for phenomenal causes. We’re humbled and excited to have been a part of this process.”

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Learn more about our partnership with OX.

About Bold Insight

Bold Insight is a user experience and human factors research agency. We span the product development life cycle; our research informs early product design to global human factors validation, all to ensure user experiences are useful, usable, safe, engaging, and satisfying. We work with digital, next-generation technology – medical devices to mobile apps, in-car systems to websites, back office systems to end-to-end customer journeys.

About The Office of Experience (OX)

The Office of Experience (OX) is a design and digital innovation consultancy for the modern marketing age. A new breed of agency, OX’s human-centered philosophy and multidisciplinary approach integrates strategy, design and technology to help organizations reinvent their business and rapidly bring new experiences, products and messages to market. In an era of unprecedented disruption, OX is built to transform.

Bold Insight’s Gavin Lew to present at Money 2020

Bold Insight’s Gavin Lew to present at Money 2020

The premier conference in the payments, fintech, and financial services industries, Money 20/20 hosts over 11,000 attendees and will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 21-24, 2018. Bold Insight Managing Director Gavin Lew is teaming up with Visa’s Head of Design, Kevin Lee, to present, Humanizing the Experience in Retail. Lee will share how Visa approaches experience design and the key moments that reveal opportunities for brands. Lew will dive into those key moments with real world examples and how to make those opportunities successful.

“Retail is at an inflection point where companies need to embrace the combination of digital and physical to design a more humanized experience—one that recognizes humility because the future will depend on collaboration across the ecosystem. This is where disruption will occur,” says Lew.

Visit to learn more about Money 20/20, including registration details. Don’t forget to use the coupon code DISRUPT to save $250.


About Bold Insight

Bold Insight helps clients deliver outstanding experiences to their customers by understanding user expectations and designing products that seamlessly fit into their lives. The team has conducted research on hundreds of products and services delivered on a variety of platforms, including websites, software, mobile devices, medical devices, voice assistants, connected devices, and in-car navigation systems.  Email to discuss your next project.

Am I satisfied or stuck? The impact of ecosystems on household users

Am I satisfied or stuck? The impact of ecosystems on household users



Manufacturers building an ecosystem of devices and services should design for both a separate, personalized experience and household or shared experience.

The idea of connected devices and a connected home fascinates me – I’m all for anything that makes my life more convenient! I have Alexa in pretty much every room of my house; she’s even in my car. However, as I expand my connected home network, I have struggled with setting up additional devices and services. Powering them on and account linking is generally simple; the hard part is getting everything to work together.

In the case of Amazon devices (e.g., Echo) and services (e.g., Music Unlimited), if you are single or start from one family/shared email address, the connected home ecosystem is pretty simple. You have one account tied to all devices, Prime, and streaming products and services. However, once you introduce one or more additional family members, things get much more complicated.

In my case, my husband and I each had our own Amazon account when we met. Even when we got married, it didn’t make sense to share an account because we liked being able to have personalized recommendations and to keep our purchase history separate. Some years later, I stumbled across Amazon Household that lets you tie separate accounts together so you can share Prime benefits. After linking our accounts, I thought we’d truly have a “household” account that would allow us to share all services and content. Unfortunately, you can’t share everything (i.e, purchased content (video) and certain subscriptions).

Fast forward to my first Echo devices – I was so excited to set them up and try them out! But when I tested out the List functionality (‘Alexa, add milk to the shopping list’), nothing showed up in my app. Why wasn’t this working?! After trying different things (and a little cursing) I realized that I had set up the devices with my husband’s Amazon account since were gifts for him and therefore I had to sign into the Alexa app through his account, not mine. With Amazon Household, I didn’t think it would matter which account the Echos were tied to, but it does.

What is technically easy to set up, actually requires a high cognitive load each time I set up a device or access content because I have to remember which account I used for what. I currently have:

  • Amazon Prime account with my email address which is linked to my husband’s Amazon account (with his email address) so he can get Prime
  • Alexa app on my phone but signed in using my husband’s Amazon account for Echo devices and lists
  • Amazon Music Unlimited account signed in using my husband’s email address
  • Roav VIVA Alexa-enabled device in my car that requires me to sign into my Amazon app with my husband’s email address to get access to Music Unlimited, but to shop and see my recommendations, I must sign back into the Amazon app with my email

One could argue that I should have been more intentional when setting up all these devices and services. But in the moment I was so excited to get these things working that which account to use was the last thing on my mind. I’ve questioned if I should suck it up and start all over with a family account. But what would I gain? Possibly an easier setup process going forward and one account for everything, but lots of effort up front to reset everything. And what would I lose? Personalized recommendations, purchase privacy, and time!

Netflix and Hulu have overcome this multi-account hurdle with their ‘profile’ platform which generates separate watch lists and recommendations. Admittedly, they are much simpler systems with limited components.

There are huge benefits to having an ecosystem of devices and services in a home, whether it’s Amazon, Google, Apple, etc. The consumer benefits by (generally) having a seamless experience of integrating the devices and services and working from a similar interface or set of commands used across multiple devices. For the manufacturer, the benefits of having its ecosystem in a home means more loyal customers since, for the consumer, it can be difficult or impractical to try new devices when the home is entrenched in one ecosystem.

Many connected device manufacturers have created a great set-up-and-use experience with plug and play devices and simple mobile apps. However, manufacturers should think beyond the experience of a single user. Consider how a couple or family would set up, purchase, use, and add to the ecosystem. Consider couples who come with individual personal accounts and those who create a family account together. Also consider early adopters who have tied accounts to early versions of the system – ensure there is support to improve their experience as devices or new features are added. Some questions to ask include:

  • What content would users want to keep separate: purchase history, recommendations, watch/wish list, etc.
  • What content would users expect to share: purchased content, services, etc.
  • Can established individual accounts be tied together to form a true “household” account?

Ultimately, as the foothold of any ecosystem gets stronger, the user can either feel satisfied and happy or stuck and frustrated. And that feeling (satisfied or stuck) becomes associated with the brand.

UX and Brand: Delivering on the promise of experience strategy

UX and Brand: Delivering on the promise of experience strategy

An interview with Carlos Manalo (Co-Founder at The Office of Experience) and Gavin Lew (Managing Director, Bold Insight).


What is the history with Bold Insight and The Office of Experience?

Gavin: Over the last few years, the impact of user experience (UX) on an organization’s brand has finally become clear to our clients. We knew that the same organizations undergoing digital transformation and brand evolution would be best served underpinning this evolution with user research and a unique blend of design agency and innovation strategy experts. Because of this, one of the first things I did when we started Bold Insight was call Carlos at The Office of Experience (OX) to forge a strategic partnership.

We have worked together in various capacities for more than 10 years, whether on client side or consultancy, we’ve worked on everything from ecommerce (both online and in-store) to digital transformations within non-profit organizations. The first time I saw an output of OX – what they deliver to the C-suite – I was impressed. It was not only gorgeous, but it was rooted in user-centered design thinking. Many companies say they do design thinking, but what I saw what OX produced, I really saw how the outputs of design thinking can really move the needle. They have a specialty that UX teams typically don’t have. I knew that creating a partnership with them would benefit our clients and theirs.

Carlos: The reason why we succeed at the C-suite is not because we have some magic magnet, rather we start the conversation, we ask two fundamental questions: (1) what problem are you trying to solve? (trying to get to root cause analysis) and, concurrent to that, (2) what story are you trying to tell? That, to us, are the two pathways to uncover what we are trying to design. We believe that you cannot design what you do not understand. To move forward, make progress, and deliver on great design you must understand those two things.

Our relationship really started years ago, working jointly on a project for Allen Edmonds. It started as a website redesign, which led to campaign, catalogue, product and store concepting and, ultimately, rebranding. Because of the work we did, and delivering on what we pitched, management internalized being user-centered; it’s part of their culture now. This is what we founded OX on – rooted in user-centered thinking.


How do Bold Insight and OX seamlessly intersect from a client perspective?

Carlos: Where it really pays out, when it’s most successful is when we have mature research to ground our hypotheses and the instinct to move everything forward given the empirical inputs that we pull from these data points.

Gavin: And that’s where Bold Insight is the tip of the spear. To guide, not only instincts, but it gets to the heart of design insight. One of the challenges I have always had with design thinking is that anyone can do it if they just “empathize with the user.” The bad narrative is that design thinking has become an excuse to just do the same thing you’ve always done but now with a hot label. Real design thinking must put evidence (data) behind the design. Too many ‘immerse” themselves in the user experience but they use more instinct than evidence to fuel the development from ideation to iterative design. That’s where we differentiate–uncovering the evidence that helps to shape the design. We want to empower designers to do more than provide empathy but allow them to design with confidence.

Carlos: Fundamentally, I agree with that. What is service design? It’s uncovering the customer journey and making sure we understand from a systems, tools, processes, brand propositions standpoint that all of those things have a throughline and that we are delivering the first principles, the moments of wonder, and then making sure we are calibrating and adjusting the failure points. Today, that is the brand experience. If your service-design model is not rooted in understanding what your brand is, and what you need to do to deliver on that, you aren’t going to make a lot of progress.

What we are doing is finding out the core values of an organization and the brand story they want to impart. Then manifest what they are trying to do whether it be a website, internal communications, or rebranding a 100 year old company as they get ready for the next 100 years…that is what we do.


How have the UX and brand industries evolved to be so intertwined?

Carlos: The reality is, The Experience is the Brand™ today. If you don’t understand that as a practitioner, you are only going to fix 20% of the problems in any given opportunity space. As a C-suiter, if you don’t understand the value of UX, the true user experience – we aren’t talking about wireframes, site maps, and flows, we’re talking about how the brand shows up for your organization as they interact and engage with employees, business partners, supply chain, and, at the end of it, the end customer – then you’re missing the boat.

Boiling it down, organizations ask, “are we delivering on our brand promise?” and “are the experiences customers walking away with, the ones we said they were going to get?”


How does this partnership uniquely fill the gap in digital transformation that companies are making?

Carlos: At the end of the day, with a great hypothesis vetted and validated by the scientific method and making sure that we have the customer empathy portion of this correct, we can’t deliver what we want to deliver for organizations without a great research partner like Bold Insight. And, conversely, Bold Insight cannot deliver the promise and the impact of research without someone chartering the path to brand delivery.

Gavin: There is a back and forth to do our best to capture what it is when an executive says, “I want ‘x’”. OX can create and shape and our research ensures that the brand experience hits the mark.

Carlos: And it’s not just about developing a plan and executing against it. Those years are gone. In our world, brands are always shifting. The brand must constantly evolve and iterate. The principles can stay the same, but the expression system by which the brand manifests, that is malleable, and it should be. So our job as brand stewards is to have the ability to adjust and amplify. Again, without a foundation of great research, we won’t know the rails by which we do this.

Gavin: Otherwise, you are just guessing. And I think as designers we need to be honest about our abilities—intuition and a design sense can only take one so far. To have the humility to recognize that your creativity can be so much better if it is part of a process in which research feeds the design—those are elements that endure.


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