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Sam Alper, PhD


Sam’s background in human factors and industrial engineering has led to a systematic approach to problem solving, which considers both the technical and social aspects of challenges, that he applies to each project. He spent the better part of a decade investigating accidents from a human factors perspective, presenting to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and being deposed as an expert witness. Sam has a deep research background and has developed and implemented qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Sam has a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

Something unique about you summed up in one sentence

Pretty sure I’m the only one in the office who can juggle 5 objects.

Your favorite part of working at Bold Insight

The goal of our work is to make life easier and/or better for people. While maintaining scientific rigor, we make sure to have fun. From top to bottom, each team member wants each of the others to succeed.

In your spare time you would absolutely do this:

I already play hockey. But given spare time in the right location, I’d love to do more SCUBA.

How long have you been in the UX field?

Tangentially, for almost a decade. As a primary focus, for over three years.

Your favorite city in the world is...and why?

Madison, WI. After going to school there for 10 years, I fell in love with the city.

Your ultimate celebrity dinner party guest list would include:

The Dalai Lama for his presence in the moment and his joyfulness. Pope Francis for his thoughts on culture change and helping a group adapt to a new environment. Barack Obama for his ability to stay on message through adversity, even when it put him at a disadvantage. Ellen DeGeneres for her ability to do good with humor.


Long-term personal or professional goal?

I’m curious about whether, and how, we could apply user experience principles to jobs– I think there’s potential to do a lot of good by improving peoples’ experiences at work.

Any other facts to share?

I’m an expert! At least, I have testified as an expert witness in the field of human factors and no one has disputed my expertise.

Read Sam’s bold insights

Is FMEA inadequate for human factors analyses?

As part of the overall human factors effort associated with the development of a medical device, critical tasks1 must be determined and evaluated. To support testing of critical tasks related to a device, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the hazards associated with use of the...

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Product design: Why it’s important to see behavior

As designers, we assume users will behave the way we expect them to behave. Unfortunately for us, humans are unpredictable … attempts to model behavior typically predict less than 10% of actions. Consider the Theory of Planned Behavior, which suggests behaviors depend on an individual’s attitude,...

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