About Design Clues

Design Clues LLC was founded in April 2013 when Susan decided that she wanted to impact the world beyond the technology sector. She began applying her User Experience Design strategies to other recreational businesses and became energized with applying her skills to new areas.

Her passion has always been SCUBA and she has dreamed for years about creating an underwater usability lab where diving manufacturers and training organizations could test their products before they get written about in industry publications.

Interview with Susan

Q) How long have you been Usability Practitioner and how did you become an expert at User Centered Design Strategies?

A) I’ve been working in the field of usability for over 20 years now. I was fortunate to begin my career as the technology boom started gaining traction. My passion has always been working with consumer products. I love helping product developers shape their ideas by bringing in an understanding of who their client is, what they need, and how they want to use it.


Q) How can the field of usability help the diving industry?

A) Diving came out of the military, which means it was designed around young, fit, American men. Through the years it has evolved to a broader consumer market. Currently the average diver buying equipment is 54 years old. Divers are older and are more diverse in body shapes and sizes. Consider the fastest growing diver population, Asians, and how gear fits them. Women tend to consume less air than men because of a smaller lung capacity and slower diving habits. There are also the adaptive diving programs that enable amputees and blind individuals access to the wonderful world under the sea. These are just a few of the many human factors to consider these days.


Q) Who are your clients?

A) My clients are people who want to know they are designing a solution that delights their customers. They don’t want to settle for just saying something is usable, they want proof that it is. When their product releases they want to know how to position it, what its strengths are, and have confidence that when a 3rd party publication evaluates it they will get good ratings.

If it’s later in development we will run usability studies to make sure the product is meeting the customer’s expectations. You will have peace of mind knowing how your target user views your product. Either way, you will be assured that the product you are developing is the one that will meet your customer’s needs.


Q) Why do I need you? Can’t I just do this on my own?

A) There are several resources out there on user experience design. However, knowing what to do, how to do it, and how to interpret the information takes experience.


Q) Our sales team tells us what our customers need. Are you suggesting that I shouldn’t I believe them?

A) Your sales person knows what will sell, and as professionals who love to dive they will identify with active divers who have a high degree of proficiency in the water. Casual divers behave differently and have different expectations.


Q) What results can I expect?

A) It really depends where you are in product development. If we start at the concept phase of development we can do upfront research and iterate on some ideas before settling in on the best solution. You will be assured of the design direction because you will know what success from your user’s point of view will be.


Q) Will I see a return on my investment?

A) Absolutely! The most conservative estimate is that for every dollar spent on designing usability into the product results in $2 returned. Decreased support costs, fewer returns, and higher sales all play into this number.


Q) Do you have your own usability test facility?

A) Not at this time and here’s why…I’m not sure where it should be. Diving in salt water is different than diving in fresh water. Diving in warm water is different than cold water. These 2 variables create 4 very different test environments. I’d prefer that you decide the best conditions to evaluate your product.


Q) Why are you focusing your business on diving rather than staying in technology?

A) I want to see more people fall in love with the beauty of our oceans. The best way I can contribute to this is to help create solutions that best meet the wide range of diver’s needs.


Q) I have a few questions for you. Can I talk with you on the phone?

A) Of course! I’d love to hear what you’re up to and answer any questions you might have. You can schedule a call here or give me a call right away at (970)402-5247.



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