We invented Contextual Design to define innovative, customer-centered product concepts, hardware or software solutions, business systems, websites, consumer products, and apps. Our field data provides rich market characterizations and experience models to help you understand the needs of your user population. Our design process ensures that your product concepts and designs build in the cool user experience and transform your customer’s world.
The Contextual Design methodology, developed by Karen Holtzblatt and Hugh Beyer, is a customer-centered design process that uses extensive field data as the foundation for understanding users’ needs, tasks, intents, and processes in order to design products that meet both users’ and business’ needs. Our first book, Contextual Design: Defining Customer-Centered Systems, is considered a classic and is used in design and human-computer interaction (HCI) curricula at universities, as well as in companies, throughout the world. Our second book, Rapid Contextual Design, gained widespread use as a practical, hands-on guide to using Contextual Design. Our monograph User-Centered Agile Methods explains how to bridge the gap between the Agile development and UX communities.
In 2010 we evolved Contextual Design based on the Cool Project revealing what is needed to consistently design a transformative user experience. Our monograph Contextual Design Evolved reviews the new techniques now built into Contextual Design. Look for our new book Contextual Design: Design for Life in late 2016.
We have been a major player in moving the high-tech industry from engineering-driven to user-centered design for all types of products and technologies. Karen and Hugh founded InContext in 1992. Since that time, we have worked with leaders and startups from a range of industries, including automotive, business systems, consumer electronics, developer systems, education, enterprise and CRM applications, insurance, medical devices and information, mobile devices, professional information and services, retail websites, software for devices, and telecommunications. With the Cool Concepts and new techniques to design for today’s technologies, we are pushing the industry to deliberately design for innovation.
We give you skill. InContext is built upon a commitment to deliver coaching and training services to help your team effectively use customer data to drive design. We are known for our excellence in transferring knowledge on how to use Contextual Design and the Cool Concepts to your team. Coaching, training, and design consulting is the focus of InContext’s innovation services today.
The Women in Tech Project. In 2015 Karen refocused the company to begin addressing the challenge of how to keep women in the technology industry. Today women trained in HCI and engineering leave their jobs and careers in unprecedented numbers. Even if we attract greater numbers, if they do not stay we cannot effectively groom women for higher-level independent contributors, managers, and executives. While teaching at Stanford University, Karen developed a preliminary framework to understand the forces impacting women’s work lives. The goal of the Women in Tech project is to help companies rethink what they are doing, based on a deep understanding of what works for women in the daily setting. InContext is addressing this problem, as well as driving innovation. Look for our evolving research and inspirational talks and workshops.
Since its inception, InContext has donated a percentage of our income to YouthBuild USA, an organization that empowers inner city youth through a combination of education and training in the construction industry. It’s a powerful, effective program — one we’re proud to support. Consider giving to YouthBuild.