Riding the 2020 rollercoaster: Nightingale's year in review

Jo Pudney and Frances Brown

Image of rollercoaster

Photo by Matt Bowden on Unsplash

The past year has been an unforgettable rollercoaster ride for Nightingale. Here we share with you the highs and lows of a busy and eventful 2020.


Our top 4 highs points of 2020 are:

1. In May we rebranded, from Fowlam to Nightingale Design research, to reflect our wider offer to clients and our evidence-based approach.

2. We shared our experience and engaged with some great participants at our webinars on good design research and making smarter design decisions.

3. We told the story of Lego's rise from awful to awesome in our most read blog (over 240 pageviews).

4. We challenged ourselves to eat our own dog food in the process of creating our new website.

And that's not all!

We've been privileged to work with some great clients and help them on the road to success: Silktide, The Pensions Regulator, Cork Institute of Technology, NHS England and NHS Improvement, SafeCare, CryptaLabs and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Our CEO Frances Brown and our CRO Michael Brown also worked with Dublin City University, supervising students as they completed their projects for the Researching Interactions with Technology module.

We've been thrilled to be invited to talk, write and present our thoughts and advice through a range of media including an article for the CIEHF's The Ergonomist magazine, a spotlight interview with Gather Social and a blog for Authoritas. Our CEO discussed how design research can be applied effectively in the real world on Chris Parker's UX usability podcast and chatted to Jessica Gregson and Phil Dearson of Subsector about evidence-based decision-making.

We've been delighted with a huge increase in our network, gained through LinkedIn and the Volta Blue community, as well as explosive growth in subscribers to our newsletter.

Uphill climbs

Of course with every rollercoaster ride you get the uphill climb and the fear of what's round the corner. We've experienced these too and like everyone have had to adapt to remote working, juggling work with home-schooling as well as the closure of the building where we rent our office space. Our history of remote working, particularly in carrying out research, meant that much of our work could go ahead in spite of restrictions. The team pulled together to ensure that clients got what they needed and any delays or modifications were minimised - it was a steep learning curve at times, but we feel it made us even more resourceful and adaptable. 

2021 will start on a positive note as we welcome a new staff member and move to new offices. In spite of all the uncertainty, we're ending 2020 on a high, with great hope for the future.

Thanks for joining us in 2020. We have lots planned for 2021. If you're interested in design research, or would like to work with us, please feel free to get in contact for a chat.