Brain logo

Wu & Associates

Selected Clients


Connected Devices / Platforms
Palm Inc

Communications / Social
Up 4 Stuff

Content / Entertainment
Quokka Sports
San Francisco Chronicle

Next Issue Media
Rearden Commerce
Tiny Prints / Wedding Paper Divas

Data Visualization
United Health Care (Adobe Consulting)

Science / Education / Non-Profit
Greenbelt Alliance (Tactile Pictures)
Monterey Bay Aquarium / Seafood Watch
Protein Planet
Public Library of Science
Santa Clara University (Maus Haus)

E*Trade (Studio Archetype)

Blue Shield of California
Cryogyn (Bridge Medical)

Adobe (MetaDesign)
Bank of the West (Liquid Agency)
PeopleSoft (Studio Archetype)
Suzuki Cycles (Liquid Agency)
Telcordia (MetaDesign)
Visa (Liquid Agency)
Xerox (Studio Archetype)


Our Work

Much of our recent work (devices, apps, services) from the past six years are under NDA, however, we can share the following projects to show the breadth and depth of our experience:



Seafood Watch — Communications Recommendations & Strategy
Field Research, Service Design, Communications Strategy

Seafood Watch is a program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium that educates and empowers consumers and businesses to make better choices for a healthy ocean. You may be familiar with the ubiquitous Seafood Watch wallet cards that lists seafood that are Best Choices (marked green), Good Alternatives (yellow), and Avoid (red) to help us make better choices when we shop or eat out.

SFW (Seafood Watch) realized that their old site needed updating so we helped by creating a research plan to find out how people — consumers, business — made their buying decisions, what information they needed, and in what form. Working together with a research associate and food expert, Thy Tran, we interviewed SFW staff, evaluated the current site and materials, interviewed business suppliers, buyers, executive chefs, and even interviewed shoppers at the grocery store.

From this primary research we discovered so many insights, which we passed on to SFW. For example, consumers often don't think of sushi as seafood until prompted! After extensive sentiment tabulation and analysis, we created a recommendations document for communication strategy (keep it simple and easy to remember) and techniques (word of mouth is important!) that fed into the current version of the Seafood Watch website (which we also helped with) and content strategy.

This was a terrific project where our ethnographic research lead directly to improvements in the website and helped create an internal roadmap for future projects.

Check it out : Seafood Watch

[illustration to come]

PLoS Labs: Exposing the hidden connections in citations
User Research, Information Design, Prototyping

The Public Library of Science is a non-profit journal publisher (PLoS One) and advocate dedicated open (free) access to scientific research for everyone around the world, not just those who can afford the exorbitant journal subscription fees. Towards that mission of accessibility, I worked with the PLoS Labs team to improve how citations in scientific papers are used by academics and researchers and how to make these papers more readable and useful on the web.

Backgrounder: Surprisingly, even though the web was originally designed for sharing research, citations in scientific papers are locked in antiquated plaintext: there are no hyperlinks between papers! By using automated machine recognition, researchers at PLoS were able to create these hyperlinks, even if they were between journals. But what more could we do? What information can an expert glean from a paper's list of citations?

By conducting many interviews with grad students, researchers, and reporters, we found that experienced readers looked for patterns such as self-citations, clustered dates, cited papers that were retracted, interwoven publications by an affiliated group, and more. We then created an interface that exposed these citations in context (rather than requiring the user to scroll to the bottom of a page and back) and enabled visualizations of patterns in the citations and in the paper itself. We were also able to identify free-to-read "open access" papers upfront, reducing the friction in scientific research.

This was a small but very enjoyable project because we like it when humanity gets smarter!

Learn more : PLoS Rich Citations



Motorola MotoBlur Contacts App for the first Motorola Android smartphone
Detailed Interaction Design

A breakthrough, new-from-the-ground-up contacts app that collected your address book, social network feeds, and communications history into a single unified interface. Originally released in 2009 on Motorola's first Android phone, the Cliq, this was a huge step up from feature phones and into our new socially-connected, cloud-based world.



Lexar — Touchguard Fingerprint USB Drive
Application Design (Windows application paired with hardware)

The data you place on Lexar's Touchguard USB thumbdrive is protected by your fingerprints. Working with Metadesign, I created a user-friendly interface step the user through registering their fingerprints and encrypting/decrypting their data.



Bank of the West — Site Redesign
User Experience Architect

Bank of the West needed to modernize their online presence. Each division had it's own web site with a different look, URL, and loads of wordy marketing-speak.

Working with Liquid Studio, I researched the bank's services, marketing needs and customer requests, and created a single cohesive site user experience that made the bank's services clear and easy to access based on each user's individual needs, be it personal banking, farm loans, church lending, or commercial banking.

Clear organization, concise writing and clean visual design not only helped with browsing but also reinforced customer trust in the bank itself. A side note, the redesign made bank employees proud to use the site as a marketing tool.

This site was nominated for a Webby.


[NBC Olympics screenshot]

Quokka Sports / – Live sports coverage and streaming data
Interaction/product design, usability, content strategy

Responsible for the interaction design for this massive site covering the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Also designed the Java-based viewer applet, allowing users to watch the games in real-time with commentary, results feeds direct from the scoreboards, and photos.

📄 Case Study


[E*Trade screenshot]

E*Trade — Site redesign
User Research and analysis, Information Architecture

My first Studio Archetype project and an award-winner. As the sole information architect, Bryan worked with a user researcher to understand an investor's needs for information, speed and functionality. Based on our analysis, we created a task-based interface that provided information when needed and that incorporated the best-practices of successful traders. For example, user-selectable market overview pages that contained market data tailored to different investment styles. We also made recommendations for visual design and functionality that, although not possible at the time, were later implemented in subsequent revisions.

This site in coordination with a great advertising campaign catapulted E*Trade into the limelight and lead to millions of new users. In one quarter, for example, E*Trade membership increased by 300,000 and funded trading accounts by 100,000.

This site won two awards.

Agency: Studio Archetype/Sapient

📄 E*Trade Case Study


[Xerox screesnshot] — Site redesign
User research, web interaction design, functional specification

Creating one of the first sites built around a content management system meant new challenges for the Studio Archetype / Sapient team. We were no longer building pages by hand, so to communicate the design vision accurately to the engineers, I leveraged my programming background to create our company's first functional specification document that described how each UI element worked from a programmer's point of view. The engineers loved it. The spec's style and format was later adopted Sapient-wide and by many of my future clients.

Agency: Studio Archetype/Sapient


[Protein Planet screenshot]

Protein Planet — Bioinformatics database and social network
UI design, database schema, usability, project management

Working hand-in-hand with the client and two java programmers, created a functionally-rich UI for this peer-reviewed bioinformatics resource cataloguing the intricate world of proteins and their interactions. Much of this project revolved around designing user interactions, heuristic evaluation for usability and creating database schema.


[Cryogyn photograph]

Cryogyn — User Interface Design and Functional Prototype
UI design, font design, prototype programming and development

Working with Bridge Medical, a San Francisco-based industrial design firm, Bryan designed and built a working test-bed prototype user interface for this award-winning surgical device. Design considerations included government medical UI regulations, extreme ease-of-use, case logging, recovery from hardware errors, and use of controls on the handheld probe. The interface itself resembles current Nokia phones - including soft-keys at the bottom edge and up/down buttons. The prototype was programmed in Macromedia Director and was used to speed governmental approval. The production interface was implemented in silicon by a hardware engineer.

This device won several industrial design awards.

Agency: Tactile Pictures, Bridge Design

About Us

Contact Us

Help us help you. Some things to think about:

  • What are you trying to make, do, or have happen?
  • Who is your audience?
  • How do you measure success?
  • What do you still need to find out?
  • Timeline, budget, resources?
  • Digital, analog, both?

Let’s start the conversation. Email us at .

We look forward to hearing from you!

Brain logo