Disco Journal

Design continues to feed innovation across industries. The purpose of the Disco Journal is to connect with our community, feed our curiosity, and write thoughtful dialogue on the design of everyday interfaces and experiences.

Digital Whiteboard Tools for Design Teams 🖥️

JUNE 1, 2021

Just like most people in the product design space, we shifted to primarily connecting with our clients online in early 2020. At Disco Innovation Studio, we saw this as an opportunity. By breaking down the barriers of geographical location, we were able to connect with teams, clients, and designers across Canada and even internationally, every day.

Let’s walk through and compare a veteran tool (Miro) with two tools that have been released during our year of remote working (Google’s Jamboard and Figma’s Figjam).

Read the full article here >>

Anticipating Needs 🕵️

April 19, 2021

When you work with customers day in and day out, you start to see their habits and understand their patterns, but where your customers or users are not in front of you every day or where the service delivery needs to scale, a more intentional approach is likely needed.

When we try to scale this, understanding customers’ context, culture, abilities and habits become the key to anticipating need, and leveraging a breadth of observations and customer experiences can greatly enhance your opportunity to create a lasting positive experience.

Let's Talk About User Personas 👩‍💻

MARCH 19, 2021

A user persona is a semi-fictional character based on user research that is used to represent the needs of a larger group of users. Most often used in the tech industry under the umbrella of user experience design, this concept of building archetypical users also has roots in marketing and communications for the purpose of understanding market segmentation and target audience identification.

There is a debate within the user experience community about whether or not user personas are a true representation of real target audience data. While it is generally understood that this tool can help place audiences with their own unique attributes into categories that guide how product features are prioritized, designed, and development, many designers and researchers have stopped using them altogether.

What Mental Health taught me about Human Centred Design 🧠

FEBRUARY 8, 2021

Before I became a UX designer, I worked in the mental health industry for about 5 years. I had the opportunity to work with children, youth and adults in daycares, schools and residential homes. This is where I learned the relevance and implications of client-centred care.

Although I was first introduced to the term “human-centered design” when I started studying UX Design, I experienced this concept first-hand while working in the mental health industry.

I noticed that certain companies talked about a “client-centered perspective”, so I learned the term without really understanding the gravity of what this phrase meant for both myself and the clients I was working with.

Pandemic and Pivot

DECEMBER 21, 2020

Pandemic and pivot. Two words we have heard over and over this year. Dealing with the response and recovery of a pandemic has hit home for businesses of all sizes, and prioritizing short-term survival has been of utmost importance.

While pivoting is a lateral move that can allow you to get from one month to the next, it can also really encourage you to innovate your business and translate your short-term survival strategy into long-term resilience and growth as a company. By diversifying revenue streams, each company listed in this article have not only allowed their business to stay afloat short-term, but have also been able to re-imagine their business and test new ideas in a changing market.

Insight Driven Design for the Built Environment 💡

NOVEMBER 24, 2020

In order to design exceptional spaces, we need to understand who we are designing for and what motivates them. Creating vibrant and meaningful places requires an investment in the discovery of people and communities within the context of a development.

Human-Centred Design is design based on insights from understanding and engaging the community and beyond. Taking a human centred approach to design in the built environment, in many ways, seems obvious. If you’re not designing for people, who will use the space? Architects, Urban Designers, Developers, and Planners have been working on this for centuries, developing the places where we live and dreaming of the future for our cities and our lives, often projecting what will be needed before we even know it ourselves.

Inclusive Design: Q+A with Urban Planner Alannah Rodgers 🏙️ 

OCTOBER 27, 2020

Disco Innovation Studio sat down with Alannah Rodgers, an urban planner in a small, seaside city with big ideas: Victoria, British Columbia. Over the years, Alannah has helped create public spaces that are inclusive, accessible, and meet the needs of community members.

Alannah's favourite part about designing a public space driven by input from communities themselves? Seeing the space being used is the greatest joy of an urban planner. There can be so much tension during the design phase, so to see the space finally being used is so rewarding.

Alannah’s work is a living and breathing example of how human-centred design can act as a creative approach to problem solving that starts with building a deep understanding of the people you’re designing for.

Believing Your Potential 💫 

OCTOBER 8, 2020

This article is written for my nieces. I hope that they will find a path of passion that is filled with things that light them up, and I hope that they will see the talent and value that they bring to the world. I hope that this article inspires anyone who reads it to see that what you do is special, that not everyone can do it, and that you are valuable.

Realizing my potential grew out of my own personal journey of growth and self-confidence, letting go of what I believe others expect me to be or how others see me, as well as, and most importantly, understanding my passions. Through this discovery, I’ve been able to see the things that are uniquely me and that make me valuable in the work that I do. Ultimately, this realization that 1) I have skills 2) those skills are valuable and 3) I don’t need to have all the skills to be valuable has changed my life!

Digital Transformation in the Public Sector 👩‍💻 


We do not engage with public services until we need them most. And when we need them, we need them ASAP. Over time, government services like paying taxes or changing the address on your driver’s license have been digitally transformed to be more responsive to our needs.

There is still much to be done, but many of the ways citizens interact with their governments are now digital, and this transformation has been made possible through service design.

What are three core lessons that I've taken away from being involved in this work with the B.C. Government?

User Journey Mapping in Denmark 🌎

MARCH 28, 2020

In the world of service design, we like to think of user journeys as a visual interpretation of an individual’s relationships and interactions with a product over time and across different touchpoints or channels. Creating user journeys or maps is a strategy executed by service designers in the discovery stage of a project. 

By understanding where your users are coming from, you can better support enhancements to the product moving forward.

How does Denmark use journey mapping to break down government silos and present complex public services in a simple way?