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Development without strategy is a money pit.
Strategy without research is gambling.

UX Research and Design Testing will navigate your strategic planning to an actionable, measurable roadmap to success. I will help you find the sweet spot of harmonic balance for your:

  • organizational goals

  • user needs and preferences

  • market demands

  • brand presence

  • tech capabilities and constraints 

I guarantee that by including research and testing activities informing design and development voices prior to key milestones, I help keep your projects on track and able to manage the curveballs we often see thrown at us along the way. My secret weapon? PIE.

I have helped commercial, enterprise, arts, government, and non-profit organizations realize their optimal product and service offerings for over 20 years. Initially an interaction designer, later a UX researcher, I only ever have one true goal: make somebody's day better.

PIE provides the emotional safety required to become a thriving team.


UX begins with curiosity for how - or if - a human is getting what they need. I joke that UX is organizational therapy, but it is actually quite accurate. To me, UX is a service discipline, and I take a servant-leader approach to my team to understand the organizational landscape and mitigate any strife obstructing us.


I begin projects with a project kickoff and discovery session to practice the

"Process of Intentional Empathy™" (PIE):

Collaborating with Executive Leadership and Subject Matter Experts who feel safe to share hard truths is the key to effective qualitative research. Together, we:

  • Validate or refute long-held assumptions and goals

  • Identify individuals' and groups' unmet and unarticulated needs and blockers

  • Spotlight any internal issues that are preventing an organization from moving forward with strong market confidence


You might be surprised how much casual conflict can surface and then be resolved in one 2-hour project kickoff meeting and goals workshop...with a PIE-informed moderator.


How PIE Works

  1. Learn about the team:

    • What demands are on my collaboration partners, both within and beyond this project?

    • How they are impacted by those demands?

    • What do they expect to put into the project?

    • What do they expect to get out of the project?

    • What do they fear most about the project?

    • What are their greatest hopes for the project? 

  2. Clarify and resolve initial problems before they grow into insurmountable blockers:

    • Existing communication issues

    • Competing priorities

    • Competing perceptions of project scope

    • Confusion about roles, responsibilities, or chain-of-command

  3. Restate the project vision for the whole team:

    • Summarize a project brief and kickoff findings with data-informed, persuasive recommendations

    • Socialize recommendations while demonstrating a strong understanding of how teams and stakeholders will be impacted within the project scope 

Everyone on the project is a piece of the PIE.

Ideally, there is SME and leadership representation from every key department in the project cycle.  Design and Engineering of course, but depending on the organization and project, also the most relevant mix of:​

  • Content Strategy

  • DevOps

  • Data

  • Sales and Marketing

  • QA

  • Publishing

  • PR/Community Relations

  • Communications

  • Legal

  • Etc.

The earlier I am able to engage the broader team, the better we all communicate, which organically reduces the common stress factors that can derail projects:

  • Scope creep

  • Information-hoarding

  • Late-cycle requirement changes

  • Budget overruns

  • Resource unavailability

  • Uncommunicated time constraints, like event-based deadlines

  • Inconsistent tracking and success metrics

After PIE, the fun begins in earnest.

Once we are all on the same page and know what business questions to answer,
I employ a variety of mixed-method research and testing activities to provide a full picture of data-informed strategic insights and tactical recommendations.


Research Approach

  • Human-centered

  • Domain-agnostic

  • Project-appropriate

  • As lean as possible

  • As transparent as possible

  • Always in support of strategic business goals

Core Capabilities

  • Experience Strategy

  • User, Stakeholder, and Design Research

  • Information Design and Architecture

  • UX Writing

  • Design Testing & QA

  • Workshop Facilitation

  • Discussion Mediation

  • Communication 

Discovery Research

  • Get consensus on Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) from stakeholders

  • Define project goals 

  • Define target users

  • Conduct task and workflow analyses​​

  • Define competitive landscape

  • Establish baselines for user traffic and behavioral data

Generative Research​​

  • Clarify organizational and project goals

  • Ideate new product, feature, and service concepts

  • Define product/service requirements

  • Categorize content

  • Define taxonomies and nomenclature

  • Explore interaction patterns

Evaluative Research

  • Conduct heuristic, usability, brand, and/or accessibility analysis

  • Validate product/service desirability​ 

  • Validate aesthetic and functional design/feature choices

  • Track customer satisfaction scores 

  • Evaluate user traffic and behavioral data against baselines


Nicole is fantastic! She stepped up to join 4insite and step out of her lane to help with Product Owner responsibilities. The product cycle was ultra fast-paced, and often challenging with regard to stakeholders and internal processes. She continuously brought a User-First mindset to solutioning while working to balance the 'need for speed' in support of a constant delivery approach. Her efforts were tremendously helpful and I truly appreciated her contributions.
Additionally, she was my go-to person when the marketing copy had to be clean, succinct, and convey the true user value we were delivering.

Doug Ridley

Director of Product Innovation (former)



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