Karol Czyrka

UX Practice Director
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I am 15+ year veteran of designing user experiences. I started my career in the field of interior design and architecture and have transferred my skills to the digital space. In general, I love beautiful things. Specifically, I am passionate about making things easy to use. My philosophy is that I am the advocate for the user, and I need to make sure their goals have equal voice at the table with technology and business goals. When I am not working, chances are you will find me planning a vacation to a far flung corner of the world. My hobbies aslo include cooking, baking and eating. Photography plays a role in both of these and I have plans to create my own cookbook soon. Last, but not least, my personal philosophy is that a new pair of shoes is always a good idea.

Recent blog posts written by Karol Czyrka

April Fool’s Surprise: Sears circa 1897

  Did you see the Sears home page today?  It looked similar to other days. But, wait – what’s that peeking out beneath the ad for tires?   April Fool’s!     How did this become a part of the Sears’ Customer Experience? To find out how this takeover was created, I sat down with [...]

Useful and Usable

Back when I was in architecture school, I was introduced to the phrase “dead cat corners”. It was how our design professor described areas in floor plan that were basically un-usable, or, in her opinion, only a place to throw dead cats.  This was probably one of first time that I became aware that things [...]

Feedback Friday @State St

The UX Research team might be small, 5 people, but they are very efficient. In one year, they can conduct about 150 studies which equates to 122,000 minutes of video of 6,000 shoppers. Tests of a wide variety – remote, in the lab, in the field – are conducted depending on the question being asked. At [...]

Wow Bao: Case Study where Computers Outperform Humans

I like going to Wow Bao.  Granted, I have a bias toward all foods Asian or Asian-influenced, but I also find the service fast, the restaurants fun, and the price right. Being in the technology field, I was certainly happy to have the Wow Bao app on my iPhone for ordering a take out lunch [...]

Does routine really kill creativity? Or is it something else

I look back at my days as a traveling consultant and tend to think that it was the variety of travel Monday to Thursday to various locations that spurred me on. But, then again, I know that if I was staffed too long (e.g. a year) at one client, that became routine and non-motivating.  Then I [...]

It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask

As I have mentioned in previous posts, UX standards are part of my general purview here at Sears. People are for, against, on the bandwagon, or off in left field with regard to following or even liking standards depending on the day or week – or, probably more accurately, the design problem they are trying [...]

Don’t Fence Me In

  I am at work, at home, in a store, riding a train, riding in a car, sitting on my couch. I have a smart phone, a tablet, a laptop, a desktop. I multi-task ALL the time. I am transient, I am never in one spot for very long. I watch TV and shop online [...]

Please Don’t Take the Name of the Customer in Vain

Your client says, “We are doing this for our customer.” Your response is somewhere between, “But, of course“ and ”Yay!” Then your customer continues,  “Our customers are visual, this visual navigation will be so much better.”  or  “Our customers told us they want to filter by these 25 different attributes.” You are just biding your [...]

Despite our Natural Fear of Change, We Still do It

Why do we resist change when someone else suggests it? Is is inherent in all of us just to be stubborn?  Is it pure human nature?  Is it because the person promoting the change doesn’t clearly articulate the benefits to us?  There have been many articles written about people resisting change and the potential trouble [...]

Using Survey Feedback as an Input, not a Mandate

This past weekend was a big one for the city of Chicago. Not only did the city host the Big Ten Basketball tournament, but it was St. Patrick’s day which came filled with its traditions (dying the river green) and shenanigans.  We are also in the beginning of Spring Break season. What this means to [...]