When it comes to user experience, it’s important to consider both strategy and design. And niche firm Fuzzy Math does just that for its clients.
The company started in the design industry, but soon found an opportunity to fill a need within the UX niche. Read more about the company and the story behind it in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Solves user experience issues for clients.
Co-founder Mark Baldino told Small Business Trends, “Fuzzy Math is a user experience design, strategy, and innovation firm in Chicago that solves complex problems for clients through research, analysis, and collaborative co-design. We help our clients orient their organizations towards the voice of their users and help them integrate that voice into all aspects of product design and development.”
Focusing on user-centered design.
Co-founder Ben Ihnchak told Small Business Trends, “We are a niche firm and are comfortable with it because we’re good at our craft. We [Co-Founders Mark Baldino and Ben Ihnchak] are first and foremost design practitioners and are still very involved with day-to-day work; our clients appreciate how involved we are even as business owners and it helps Fuzzy Math stand out.”
How the Business Got Started
From a desire to combine research and design.
Baldino says, “From working in the design industry for more than 15 years, we [Co-Founders Mark Baldino and Ben Ihnchak] saw a need for a UX design firm that properly implemented a user-centered design approach to solve difficult problems. Through all of our design processes, Fuzzy Math’s aim is to build lasting relationships with clients, seamlessly integrating with existing teams to develop a new product or service, or to enhance existing offerings. From enterprise corporations to small startups, we’ve helped our clients grow and succeed.”
Securing large partnerships.
Ihnchak explains, “Our biggest wins stem from our long-standing partnerships with Microsoft, GE Healthcare, and Fieldglass. Collaborating with such large and reputable companies has been both challenging and rewarding for us, and we’ve been able to successfully deliver the user experience design products that these companies need. With Microsoft, we developed UX deliverables to help them grow their staff from two to over 100, and have worked alongside them over the course of seven engagements. In the case of GE Healthcare, since starting our work with them in 2011, we’ve created an enterprise UX design system that’s been extended to cover hundreds of healthcare applications. And as one our on-going retainer clients, we’ve helped upgrade, improve and build upon Fieldglass’ industry-leading enterprise SaaS application for five years. Being able to secure partnerships with such great companies, and then continue to deliver results, is a huge win for us.”
Promote your business.
Baldino says, “It took us awhile to become comfortable with self-promotion and if we could do it all over again, we’d be much more willing to talk about ourselves and what we do at Fuzzy Math. We’d also start promoting our business earlier on. Overall, it’s an important skill to have and is an essential part of being a business owner.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Growing the team.
Ihnchak says, “We’d probably put the money towards more non-billable staff. There are a few different positions that if we had free money available, we’d be interested in testing out.”
Baldino explains, “Here at Fuzzy Math, we have a strong ethos of respect that is reflective in our company culture. We want everyone, ourselves included, to get out of bed each morning and not dread heading into work. We respect our team members and their lives outside of the office, and we firmly stand by that. We have company outings every six weeks – brewery tours, bar crawls, museum tours, mini golf, etc. – and it’s a great way to come together outside of work, just enjoying people’s company.”
If the Business Were a Song
The theme song from Cheers.
“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” – Daniel Burnham
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Images: Fuzzy Math; Photo 1: Nick Leonard (User Experience Designer), Mark Baldino (Co-Founder); Photo 2: Rachel Vorm (Visual Designer), Aarti Israni (User Experience Designer), Ben Ihnchak (Co-Founder); Photo 3: Nick Leonard (User Experience Designer)