Get Paid To User Test Our Projects

user testing
Here at ISL, we’ve been working hard on building better UX processes so as to provide the best possible sites/apps/products/experiences. Most recently, a passionate internal group of UX’ers have been tackling user testing and recruiting. They are figuring out how to most effectively conduct user testing and how to more easily find users to test the projects and prototypes we’re developing. This dear reader is where you come in!
Why do we need you? Our projects require us to test with wildly diverse groups of individuals. The types of testing we do most frequently are ones that involve either a live prototype or simply a conversation with a user about daily habits. Seeing the process through which different people complete certain tasks is valuable information for us. For example, you may prepare your morning cereal by pouring in the cereal before the milk to insure that there will always be a good ratio of milk to cereal; while I may eat my cereal dry and wash it down with milk so that it never gets soggy. But, since you are part of our target audience, your cereal eating habits (whatever they may be) will be what we care about, study, and eventually design for.
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So, does this sound awesome or like something you would love to do with us? Did I mention that we often pay you for your time? Does it sound even better now? If so, please fill out this survey so we can get some quick background information. When we have an opportunity to involve you we will contact you with more specifics.

17 Presents We Want for the Holidays This Year


Need some inspiration for what to buy your favorite ISLer? Here’s what’s on our wish list for the holidays!

These can be shipped directly to 1630 Connecticut Ave NW, Floor 7, Washington, D.C. 20009. Please and thanks! :)

1) Om/One – The World’s First Levitating Bluetooth Speaker. Because why would you want a bluetooth speaker that sits on the ground? That would be ridiculous.


2)  iCukoo - An app that donates to a charity of your choice every time you hit the snooze button. Finally… the lazier you are, the more positive impact you have on the world.


3) COBI – Turn your ordinary bike into a smart bike… with your smart phone.


4) Neat Ice Kit – A set of tools for creating perfect ice for your at-home cocktails. Fancy ice for fancy people.


5) Nixie – A wearable camera that flies off your wrist on-demand to capture new perspectives. It’s a camera that flies. IT FLIES.


6) Copenhagen Wheel - An attachment that transforms your bicycle into a smart electric hybrid, quickly and easily.


7) Little Bits - The Smart Home Kit can turn any household object into an internet-connected device.


8) Polaroid Cube - Splash-resistant, shockproof, mountable, and built to handle everything you can imagine. Also…it’s adorable.


9) Zeiss VR One – Don’t look down at your phone anymore… strap it to your face.


10) V.360 Panoramic Video Camera – A beautiful camera that records beautiful 360 video.


11) Bionic Bar – A new bartending system that uses a human-like robotic arm to customize your perfect cocktail. Human bartenders were so 2014.


12) Bowers & Wilkins P7 Headphones – “HiFi stereo headphones fit for a bawse!” – Johnny


13) LikeAGlove - This smart garment uploads a 3D rendering of your exact body measurements to your mobile device so that you always order the right size clothes. Fixing online shopping woes for the non-models of the world.


14) Withings Activité - A new, beautiful watch that tracks both time and your health.


15) L3D Cube – A 3D LED cube that responds to music. We sneezed on the beat, and the beat got sicker.


16) Yuneec E-GO Electric Skateboard – Come on… it’s an electric skateboard.


17) E-Traces – Arduino-fitted ballet shoes that translate a dancer’s physical movements into digital pictures.


2014 Mobile Year In Review


Hello Internet, For the 5th year, we worked with DC based Mobile Future to recap the state of mobile technology from the year 2014. Using visual design and some really cool animation to highlight interesting data + statistics, we put together the following video. Enjoy! Some of our favorite stats include:

  • Global mobile data traffic grew by 81% this year.
  • 19 million connected wearable devices will have shipped by the end of the year.
  • Wireless carriers invested a record $33 billion in wireless infrastructure in 2014.
  • The Brazil vs. Germany World Cup game was the most tweeted sports event in history.
  • 2014 saw Queen Elizabeth II send her first tweet from a tablet.
  • Ellen DeGeneres’ 2014 Oscar selfie crashed Twitter by garnering over one million retweets.

If one year in review isn’t enough, check out 2013, 2012, 2011 and  2010.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinna-Party


The Cinnamon Toast Crunch (CTC) Cinna-Party was a two day livestreamed event where individuals played CTC-themed online games to gain points and trigger real-world activities. As players achieved specific accomplishments online they saw real-world results play out on a customized set. The Cinna-Party was a huge success — becoming the longest viewed page on the client’s website with more than  200,000 views in just 2 days.

Experiential campaigns such as this are comprised of a number of non-traditional components and a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. Here’s an overview of a few elements we focused on:

Set Design + Construction

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We designed and constructed a set centered around a large milk-bowl and raised platform from which a human-sized Cinnamon Toast Crunch square was periodically blasted with “cinnamon” and “dunked” into the bowl. Special set considerations included a primary “cinnamon meter”, secondary activation indicators, and the cinnamon blaster design and function. These were designed for optimal viewing on a live-streaming web video.

Costume Design:


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We sourced the design and fabrication of human-sized Cinnamon Toast Crunch square costumes and actors to fill them. These characters populated the set and played out on-set activations throughout the entirety of the live event.

On-Set Activations


Periodically throughout the engagement, in-game accomplishments online triggered real-world activations on our physical set. These included the primary cinnamon blast and milk bowl dunk and secondary intermediate activations.

Enjoy our Cinna-Party? Check out some similar projects: Nickelodeon SpongeBob Skill Crane and Miller Coors’ Redds Apple Ale launcher.

The Good, Bad, and In-Between of Social Media In Crisis Situations


For better or for worse, social media has dramatically impacted the way we communicate and keep in touch with each other and the world at large. Also for better or for worse, it has given us the means to communicate more — and often more effectively — in crisis situations.

The Good.

Individuals in crisis situations can use social media in a number of different ways. Perhaps the most obvious is to say “I’m okay.” While status updates are often jokingly associated with mundane life updates or more seriously associated with significant life announcements, in the wake of a terror attack or natural disaster taking a second to write “I’m okay” on social is an incredibly quick and easy way to relieve your friends and family from worry. Facebook has taken this use case to the next level by releasing Facebook Safety Check – an update that allows Facebook to ask if you’re okay when a natural disaster occurs in your city. If you are ok, it sends out a status update that says, “I’m safe.”


When the Boston Marathon bomber attacked, the Boston Police utilized social media to communicate with the public. Moreover, the police and FBI utilized social media to recruit the public to help find the suspect. Following the bombings, the Boston Police released a photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Twitter. They then tweeted the possible license plate of the suspect. A subreddit started to populate clues and, while often misguided, the social media audience transformed into a, perhaps too-responsive, tip line. They used the general public to crowdsource information and assistance in finding the bomber.

Social media has also been used to effectively spread important safety information during crisis. When the power went out during Hurricane Sandy, people turned to social media for updates. News stations utilized social to communicate important safety information before the storm and in its aftermath. And during the initial period of the Ebola outbreak, the hashtag #EbolaFacts was used to inform citizens without knowledge of Ebola in danger areas on how it is spread and how to avoid contracting the disease.

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The Bad.

Social media has also had some negative impact during crisis.

For starters, people on social are often wrong. There is no truth filter, so if you rely on a stream of people’s opinions and misinformation as your news source, it’s not 100% reliable. The subreddit determining the Boston Marathon bomber falsely accused the wrong person of being the suspect, resulting in a family with a missing child being wrongfully targeted. A random man told everyone on Twitter that the NYSE had flooded during Sandy. False. In fact, a false GoFundMe page was set up for the fallen soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, in Canada after the Ottawa shooting. Despite this, studies have shown that while social media does spread both true and false statements during crisis, it then quashes the false ones and promotes the true ones – in other words, it often rectifies itself.

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Social posts intending to be helpful or to announce the user’s safety, can also unintentionally reveal information that can endanger others. On October 22nd, as the hunt for the gunman in Ottawa took place, individuals in Parliament Hill were on lockdown live tweeting the events as they unfolded. While they were intending to simply reveal their own safety and keep the public informed, they also publicized police and personal locations while an active terrorist was on the loose.

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Social media can also sensationalize crisis. Ebola has become one of the most talked about and feared topics of recent history. Yet, it is not the biggest threat to our lives. This has spurred a number of articles with veering degrees of sarcasm showing threats to our lives that are greater than Ebola, compared to social media and news coverage. Apparently there are a lot.

Sensationalization also resulted in Malaysia Airlines receiving a massive blow to their public perception heavily influenced by users posting pictures of empty flights and short lines following the loss of two commercial airplanes (Flight 370 and MH17).

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The In-Between.

Some things are just different now. Maybe they are good, maybe they’re really bad, it’s hard to tell — but they are definitely different. The ease at which images and video can be spread has allowed for violent and crude visuals to be effortlessly acquired straight from the frontlines of crisis and war. In Ukraine, the revolution in Odessa was live streamed. People could watch warfare, death, and despair from the safety of their homes.

A 16-year-old girl named Farah Baker in Gaza live tweeted from the war zone resulting in thousands of retweets. She openly discussed having lived through three wars with her 6-year-old sister and parents. Whenever she fell silent for periods between tweets, concern grew that something had happened to Farah. Twitter users waited for her updates to ensure her safety.

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The Question.

What is still abundantly clear is that social media is now a living breathing part of every major crisis from natural disasters to acts of terrorism. In fact, according to MIS Quarterly and PsychCentral, “Twitter has become the leading social reporting tool to report eyewitness accounts and share information about disasters, terrorist attacks, and social crises.” Technology is constantly changing the way we live and interact. The question is, what’s next?