The deliverables for our sponsored studios are typically the UX research and scenario videos that demonstrate the resulting prototype in use. 

A company could come to us and ask the students to, for example, explore the possibilities for integrating a conversational interface into a specific software platform for a blind or mobility impaired user. Or, maybe, research and prototype an interface that draws from machine learning to respond to individual user needs. Or, the project could stem from a newly identified pain point that the company wants to address.

The project should be something future-facing that the company is interested in exploring but doesn’t have the time to dig into right now. The students shouldn’t be doing the same kind of work that your employees regularly do already. The goal is not to produce a patentable project but rather a prototype that inspires possible directions.


This page shares a few past studio projects. (Note, I can’t show a lot of recent work because of NDAs that are still in effect.) The projects below are either beyond the NDA restrictions or the client did not request one. The videos are part of larger presentations in which the students present the research behind the products. After the final project, I included some of the students’s process work for the IBM Watson project. Their research methods depend upon the project, but a typical structure would include benchmarking, user interviews, personas and scenarios, user journey maps, task flows, prototypes, user testing, scenario videos.

To see  more details about each project go to the my website and click through the Educator section. There are full descriptions of each.

Decision Making + Knowledge Graph + ML

PARTNER: Laboratory for Analytic Sciences


RESEARCH QUESTION: How might the design of an intelligent interface enable an analyst to collaborate with a knowledge graph to understand relevant data and forge useful insights?

Student Work

Retail + ML

PARTNER: an auto parts company


RESEARCH QUESTIONS: How might the auto parts company leverage machine learning in their Store of the Future to produce personalized, efficient, useful consumer interactions that allay user concerns? What role might the sales team members play in supporting such positive experiences?

AUTO: The Virtual Store Assistant

Persona: Jenn, the Learner
Designers: Hannah Faub, Randa Hadi, Harrison Lyman, Matt Norton

Inspiration Wall

Persona: Luis, the Achiever
Designers: Ashamsa Mathew, Grace Herndon, Michele Pereira de Souza, Matthew Maharaj

How Smart Is This Store?

Persona: Craig, the Expert
Designers: Ashley Anderson, Katie Frohbose, Victoria Gerson, Dmitri Knapp

IBM Personal Healthcare Project

PARTNER: IBM Watson Health


RESEARCH QUESTION: How might a design harness machine learning to enable a patient to understand and act upon their own healthcare data?  This project looks ahead to a day when patients own and control their own healthcare data via a single, secure, comprehensive access point. IBM is experimenting with using blockchain to secure this data. Watson capabilities might include recommendation systems, textual analysis, etc. Secondary consideration: how might the patient interact with data in natural, intuitive ways (not just point and click charts and lists?)

Student Designers: Isabel Bo-Linn, Syashi Gupta, Maddy Kelly

Student Designers: Eryn Pierce, Jack Ratterree, Gloria Jing

Project Calypso

PARTNER: SAS Analytics


RESEARCH TOPIC: Design the user experience of a brand new intelligent and self-learning data management system that automatically: discovers relevant and useful data sources and data quality issues among a pool of data sources, alerts users of these issues, makes recommendations for how to address the issues and learns to improve the quality of the alerts and recommendations based on user behavior.

Autism Friendly Museum Project

PARTNER: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences


RESEARCH TOPIC: Develop an assistive tool to transform the central dinosaur exhibition at the museum into an autism-friendly experience. This new assistive tool (phone, tablet-based, physical artifact or other embedded technology) should customize the exhibition to better serve the needs of young adults on the Autism spectrum

Sound Imaginings, Designers: Lisa Callister, Mallory Schultz, Monica Ampolini, Nicole Robertshaw

Imprint, Designers: Kasey Poliachik, Morgan McDonnell, Tyler Hayes.

Sleuth Tooth, Designers: Matt Kubota, Blair Torres, Aubrie Phillips

Watson Accessible Interface Project

PARTNER: IBM Watson Health


RESEARCH TOPIC: Design an interface that harnesses the capabilities of Watson product/s to address a range of impairment as a BVI or DDH user completes a specific task. Create a hi-fi prototype of interface and scenario video that demonstrates use of the interface in context.


Student Work

Research Process for Watson Accessible Interface Project

Matrix, both digital and physical, correlating Watson Products, disabilities, and a specific barriers
Examples of personas and scenarios from the project
Ideation exercises: What If exercise
Sketches from the project
Rough interface designs
Storyboards of initial concepts
Photos from critiques with IBM in the NCSU studio
Examples of "To Be" user journey maps
Examples of hi-fi prototypes
Photos of still frames from scenario video rough cuts.