Josh Kruszynski

Design + Research

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Collaborative ideation is a difficult experience to digitize.

Existing offerings fail to adequately combine the swift and organic nature of idea generation with the distributed nature of digital tools.

Competitive / Comparative Analysis. User Observation. User Needs Inventory. Prototyping.

Most digital collaboration tools surveyed suffered from: 1.) being too generalized, lacking specific capabilities; and 2.) being too linear, lacking the ability to organize information in forms other than lists.

Heavy feature sets and technical hurdles tend to disrupt the natural flow of ideation or emphasize analysis and convergence too early in the process.

This suggests an opportunity for a tool which sufficiently delineates and focuses different modes of interaction.

Engagement of the body and the kinesthetics of writing are essential components of in-person ideation. These ideas are sorely missing or poorly integrated into other digital collaborative offerings.

A sprint of research and prototyping resulted in a well-defined value-proposition, a clear development path, a product positioning and a fun little name.

Just months into conception, Squares is generating investment interest and accumulating sign-ups for beta testing.

Active Shooter

Response policies and procedures for active shooter scenarios pale in comparison to those in place for other emergencies.

With shootings becoming more frequent, and lives being lost, what role might design play in minimizing loss of life and casualties?

Assumptions. Literature Review. PhotoEthnography. Simulation. Prototyping. Testing.

A system for simulating panic was developed and employed to capture an approximate perspective of both the threatened and the perpetrator.

Our simulations, in conjunction with literature and expert interviews, suggested that individuals face difficulty fleeing from shooters due to the inertia of ingrained policies like classroom “Lockdown”, or due to uncertainty and decision anxiety stemming from high pressure situations.

In response to this, we sought to develop a modular form of secondary exit signage which could provide feedback and aid in decision making for fleeing individuals in a wide array of contexts.

A modular pictoral system, while more complex than an arrows-only system, provided higher rates of success with quickly determining the ideal direction at binary decision points.

Scenario-scale testing proved vexxing for our small team, but we intend to demonstrate the potential of a simple system through further simulation.

Biometrics and Adaptive User Interfaces

Digital computation and information have become so omnipresent in our lives that explicit instructions like clicking and tapping no longer seem adequate as the sole method for communicating with and managing our devices.

This research investigates how an interface system might utilize biological, neurological, and behavioral signals as sub-conscious input to address the negative effects of being “always-on” and innundated with information.

EEG hardware generates filtered values representing degrees of Focus (X-Axis) and Relaxation (Y-axis).

Credit to FrontierNerds for the how-to and Arduino library

EEG samples were taken while participants engaged in 2 different activities: reading Wikipedia and playing tetris.

These values were used to create visuals explaining how features could be extracted through cluster analysis.

Video clips were created from each participant's data to help show patterns/micro-clusters forming and changing overtime.

Long-term modeling of focus / relaxation levels combined with application usage, eye movement, heart rate, exercise, etc., begins describing an individual's well-being and state of mind.

Articulating these factors to our devices is an opportunity to create information systems which respect and endeavor to accommodate contexts and needs previously only acknowledged by humans.


How can you create an experience which offers both the accessibility and asynchrony of casual mobile games, with the depth and richness of traditional console RPGs?

Deconstruct: What is "gaming", and why is it meaningful?

Identify: how are people "playing" on a day to day basis. Where and when are they spending time?

Develop core values and use them to drive design.

Choice. Identity. Recognition. Reputation. Permanence. Provenance. History. Individuals. Groups. Humor and Wit.

Learn from and leverage ideas people already understand.

WANDS allows "smartphone moments" to be snowballed into a continuous experience. WANDS makes the real-world into the game space: running errands, going to class, picking up the kids, these all become new opportunities to play.

Design for Community Activation

Cleveland OH’s Slavic Village neighborhood was one of the most affected areas in the U.S. during the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008.

The glut of vacant housing created economic and civic issues for a ward already suffering a declining population of permanent residents.

Ethnographic Observation and Unstructured Interviews with Residents, Business Owners, and Civic Leaders

Beginning as a look at the feasability of a sweat-equity ownership program, the project shifted as research showed that damage from both natural and criminal activity—especially rain and theft of copper—had left these houses as collapsing shells.

As efforts pivoted away from reclaiming houses and toward reclaiming land, the question became: How might these newly cleared lots engage both permanent and temporary residents to be more active on their blocks?

One strategy for supporting engagement was to allow residents informal digital interaction with properties.

By personifying lots on social networks, residents could 'friend' vacant lots, follow their progress, comment on and contribute proposals to their profiles and converse with volunteers.

Deliverables provided clearer understanding for stakeholders and grant organizations of the role and value of Better Blocks in complementing existing redevelopment efforts.


Building and managing culture can be difficult for a rapid-growth company. Despite advantages like cutting-edge product or stellar compensation, culture can create challenges with both retention and recruitment for growing organizations.

Discovery. Literature Review. Questionaires + Stakeholder Interviews. Analogous Models.

Secondary research thus far has been essential in shaping a primary questionnaire which explores the relationship between culture and structure, trust, money, communication and more.

This project is on-going.

Past Work