Bold Insight team talks about artificial intelligence, how to embed a UX culture at UX Masterclass in South Africa

Bold Insight team talks about artificial intelligence, how to embed a UX culture at UX Masterclass in South Africa

The 15th installment of the UX Masterclass, an annual conference that brings together experts from the field of user experience (UX), innovation, and customer research, will focus on how to ensure success and adoption when humanizing digital transformations. Bold Insight Managing Directors Bob Schumacher and Gavin Lew will share insights on building a UX culture within an organization and how to increase adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) driven endeavors.

The full-day event on April 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa will offer a unique opportunity to engage and network with UX thought-leaders as well as innovators and technologists, all coming together to share their experiences.

A frequent presenter on the integration of business priorities and UX benefits, Schumacher will present, UX means business, where he will identify the impact of UX on the brand, enterprise value, and organization culture.

“As a founding partner of the conference host, the UXalliance, I’m thrilled to be a part of this dynamic event,” said Schumacher. “The global focus of the event is what keeps attendees coming back. No other conference brings this caliber of UX experts together.”

In his talk, Successful digital transformation with AI needs UX, Lew will discuss how to integrate UX into AI-infused products to increase adoption. He will illustrate how to incorporate the UX principles of context, interaction, and trust into this technology to build user acceptance.

The UX Masterclass is hosted by members of UXalliance, a network of 25 leading UX companies around the world. For more information about the event, visit

About Bold Insight

Bold Insight is user experience (UX) research agency based in Chicago. Our team offers clients the expertise and professionalism of a large agency, with the imagination and agility of a startup; specializing in medical device research, human factors validation, and large-scale global testing.

When building next gen fintech, start with research in Africa

When building next gen fintech, start with research in Africa



The user experience (UX) of emerging FinTech might be considered superior in Africa compared to the United States. In Africa, the utility of cryptocurrencies has been communicated and made known, effectively improving the UX of this emerging technology.

The bold future of UX: How new tech will shape the industry

Part 5  When building next gen fintech, start with research in Africa

The finance industry is changing in massive ways as digital technologies advance. For the next installment of our Bold Future of UX blog series, we look at how the FinTech landscape has changed in recent years, where it is headed, and who is leading the way to build a better UX.

The blurring of lines between the finance and tech worlds has given us the ability to pay for goods and services using banking apps on our phones and watches, or entirely bypass the bank using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay. This is all made possible by the digitization of currency.

I know I personally have very little physical interaction with my cash. Between direct deposit, debit cards, online bill-pay, and peer-to-peer payment apps like Venmo, the old mantra of “Cash is king” is slowly starting to fade away.

Bold Insight Managing Director Gavin Lew recently spoke at the Money 20/20 conference, where he discussed FinTech in Africa, a place where that adage of “Cash is king” has long been considered outdated. Physical cash has become impractical in many parts of Africa. As an example, local currency is tricky to deal with for the average person – Zimbabwe famously unveiled a 100 trillion dollar bill due to the rampant hyperinflation plaguing the country.

And while most African nations don’t experience a cash crunch of quite that magnitude, fluctuations in the value of the local currencies are somewhat commonplace across the continent. These fluctuations are so unpredictable that the idea of carrying around a physical wallet is almost a foreign concept since a meal at McDonald’s or a coffee at Starbucks might require anywhere from a briefcase to a suitcase full of cash. Even having bags full of the aforementioned 100 trillion dollar bills is currently not enough to buy groceries in Zimbabwe.

Enter FinTech. Specifically, cryptocurrencies and digital ledger systems.

Learning from Africa about implementing a usable and useful revolutionary currency system

In the US, the day-to-day use of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, is limited and still feels like we are at the infancy stage of development. There are online guides to show you where you can pay for goods with Bitcoin, but if you have to search for a guide of where to use your money, it should be taken as a sign that it hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet. This is, in part, due to the fluctuations of the value of Bitcoin and in part to the somewhat confusing nature of cryptocurrencies and blockchain (how do I store it, how do I spend it, how do I buy/create it, etc.). In terms of utility, we’re now in a space akin to the early days of Apple Pay where people were ready to use their new Apple Watches but the infrastructure at the point-of-sale terminals wasn’t in place quite yet. Except in this case, not only are the sellers lacking the ability to accept cryptocurrency, but the customer is also not equipped (and likely doesn’t have the desire) to make a cryptocurrency payment.

While in the US these limitations might be enough to scare away the average potential user, in parts of Africa, they’re non-issues. Fluctuations in the value of Bitcoin don’t scare people in certain African nations since the national currency fluctuates on a regular basis. It’s also easier to obtain and spend Bitcoin in Africa; South Africa, for example, is set to expand its infrastructure of Bitcoin ATMs and POS systems.

The user experience of emerging FinTech might be considered superior in Africa compared to the United States. While in the US, we are still largely debating the value, legitimacy, and utility of cryptocurrencies, in Africa, they’ve moved past that debate and cryptocurrencies are already being used to buy goods. Not only do users understand Bitcoin and have the necessary tools to make payments with it, but, possibly even more important, the infrastructure for acquiring Bitcoin and exchanging payments are in place. The utility of cryptocurrencies has been communicated and made known, effectively lifting the user experience of this emerging technology.

It’s clear that the future of currency is digital, whether it’s dollars and cents, Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, or even one of the many copycat currencies (Litecoin, Dogecoin, Garlicoin, etc.). Whatever the currency of the future is, there will obviously be a need to make it easy to store and easy to spend. Perhaps the real innovations will come from the retailers. Maybe Amazon is on to something with its brick and mortar stores where you pay by just walking out the front door…

What are your thoughts on all of this? Comment below and let’s get a dialogue started!

This blog post is part five of a series, The bold future of UX: How new tech will shape the industry, that discusses future technologies and some of the issues and challenges that will face the user and the UX community. Read Part 1 that discussed Singularity and the associated challenges with UX design , Part 2 which provided an overview of focus areas for AI to be successful ,  Part 3 which dug further into the concept of context in AI, and Part 4 which proposed UX design principles for robot design.

UX project logistics: choosing the right vendors for project success

UX project logistics: choosing the right vendors for project success



Selecting the correct vendors to support your UX project is critical to success. From facilities to recruiting, knowing the right questions to ask, budget constraints, and client needs and expectations will make the selection process smooth and painless.

When we start planning UX projects for our clients, one of the main things that we keep in mind is that one size does NOT fit all. Every client has different needs due to method, target user population, stimuli, or even personal preferences for where the research should take place. Because of these factors, we carefully think through the best logistical approach for every engagement.

Test lab flexibility

One thing we always keep in mind is to be flexible and think outside the box. While we prefer to use traditional labs that we’ve already vetted for UX research, we recently proposed a project in which a traditional UX studio might not be the ideal place to conduct the fieldwork. Instead, we decided to conduct fieldwork at a hotel because the room and amenities offered more closely aligned with the chosen methodology (the rates were also a better match for our client’s budget). Having tested in many hotels around the globe, we knew we could prepare for the challenges that may arise in that environment, so we were comfortable with that approach.

Responsive vendors

Another consideration is that the lowest-priced vendor is not always the preferred choice. We recently drafted an automotive project plan that required working with a vendor that rents out very specific vehicles with even more specific trim packages (not cars that you can easily find by calling up your local car rental agency). We contacted a few potential vendors – one of them called me immediately to discuss the details of what we needed… another didn’t reply to my email until a week later. At that point, we were ready to go with the vendor that was responsive and eager, even if they didn’t have the lowest bid. We were more comfortable knowing that this vendor was more likely to quickly resolve any potential issues to ensure a smooth project for our client.

Participant access

Finally, one of the most important vendor choices to make when setting up a UX study is who to trust to recruit study participants. The right choice of recruiter can be the difference between a successful and a not-so-successful study. Our team has years of experience working with several recruiters across the US and around the world, and in that time, we’ve come to learn that the best recruiter for finding Type 2 Diabetes patients may not be the best recruiter for finding consumers that use their mobile device to pay for gas at the pump (both of which are populations with whom I’ve done work).

In addition to relying on past experiences with recruiters, study parameters have to be considered, including time line (filling a recruit in one week vs. three weeks), sample size (n=12 is very different than n=72), and even client requirements (some clients have vendors they prefer we use). All of these factors are taken into consideration when we decide what recruiter we’re going to use for any given project.

With thousands of proposals under our belts, we always keep these things in mind (as well as some other project planning tips and tricks) to provide the best experience for our clients and participants. Just as the research stimuli and participant sample change from project to project, so should the logistical approach be flexible and adapt to fit the needs of the client. Knowing what to look for in a vendor is one way we deliver seamless, successful projects.

Webisode: Why invest in global user research?

Webisode: Why invest in global user research?

While many organizations see the value in user research, there is sometimes a reluctance to invest in a global research program. Bob Schumacher, editor of The Handbook of Global User Research, breaks down what organizations can gain from global research.

This is the first in a series of three webisodes. Gain instant access to all webisodes in this series (and future webisodes) by subscribing to our monthly newsletter below.

Webisode 2 – Global User Research: Things to think about

Webisode 3 – Global User Research: Where to start

Pin It on Pinterest