What can I tell you about me?
I'm a research practitioner
I have over 18 years industry experience in Design, User and Market Research both client-side and agency-side. I previously bridged the gap between Market and User Research at Monotype after the acquisition of Mark Boulton Design, the design studio I ran with my husband. I'm also an ex BBC Audience Researcher. I specialise in discovery research but have experience of research projects of all shapes and sizes. My clients most often come to me for mixed methods strategic research but I frequently get stuck into tactical research and sifting through operational data. You can read more about the services I offer here.
Hire me if you need help with your research project.
I'm a user research leader
As a freelance consultant, I help design and product teams establish and refine their Design/User Research community of practice.
I have been managing people and teams for many years and more recently I have been mentoring and coaching researchers both informally and formally. I have helped to establish research community of practices both for clients and as a client side researcher.
Hire me if you would like me to help you establish or refine your user research community of practice.
I'm a writer, speaker, doer
I write and speak about research in industry publications and at UX conferences and events. I also facilitate community workshops and events. You can find many of my reflections on research on this site and I also publish my writing on Medium.
I have been a leader in the UX community for over 10 years. For 5 years, I ran a UX publishing business called Five Simple Steps. I commissioned more than 25 books and worked with authors and editors from around the world to create practical, beautifully designed and well written books. More recently I have become an admin, organiser and spokesperson for the burgeoning Research Ops community.
Contact me if you'd like me to speak at your conference or event.
What do others say?
"The highlight of the week was Emma Boulton coming in and running a workshop for us on hiring user researchers and how to better incorporate research into our workflow. Most of us in the workshop had done some amount of user research but it'd always felt uncertain, so having an actual expert come and talk to us was incredibly useful. So yeah, hire Emma if you can."
Aegir Hallmunder, Senior Designer, Firefly Learning
"Emma is a highly experienced, diligent and thorough researcher who always has the business's interest in mind. She is not afraid to challenge current thinking constructively in order to arrive at a pragmatic and impactful solution. She has a deep understanding of a wide range of research methods, considerable industry experience in the media/design/comms sphere and is also a fundamentally nice person, a combination which means she gets the best out of partner agencies like ourselves. We valued the sense of open-ness and honesty we encountered in discussing findings with Emma and her team, which enabled us to collectively deliver sharper insights and actionable outcomes for the business."
Muriel Esposito, Founding Director, Esposito Research and Strategy
"I worked with Emma on several key research projects, and it was always a great experience. She is incredibly thorough and detail-oriented, and I never had to worry about anything when Emma was in charge. She has a very deep understanding of the design community and customer research, and would be a very valuable asset to any organization."
Kim Mahoney, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Monotype
"Emma brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the research team leading successful projects that had direct and positive impact on our products by achieving a better understanding of our customers wants, needs, behaviors and journeys. She would be a fantastic asset to any organization, a pleasure to work with, and I would not hesitate to recommend her."
David Gould, Senior Project Manager, Cantina Consulting
"I worked with Emma during and after Monotype's acquisition of her company. Emma is a highly skilled research professional. Prior to joining Monotype, Emma had acquired deep research experience working with world class organization like the BBC and CERN. While at Monotype, Emma facilitated collaboration across several teams, joining together the dots between many different research projects. Emma also did a great job mentoring employees across our organization, empower them to do their own research. I highly recommend Emma!"
Chris Roberts, SVP GTM Operations at Monotype
"I worked with Emma during the CERN web redesign. She was invaluable in fighting for the user's perspective on the project. If we made assumptions about user needs or behaviours during the design process she'd say, "We should test that," and would come back with valuable insights that ultimately led to a better product. Emma is collaborative, super smart, insightful and a real pleasure to work with; I'd jump at the chance to collaborate again."
Dan Noyes, Head of Content, CERN
"Emma is a talented and insightful researcher. She worked for me at the BBC for six years, during which she established herself as a trusted colleague, able to drive the needs of the audience within the business in a highly compelling manner. Her innovative work on Radio Wales and the BBC’s online services stand out, delivering editorial and audience successes across the services. She also initiated and led on key strategic work in building a highly engaging picture of BBC Wales’s main audience groups.
Her main personal strengths are her collegiate way of working, her drive for seeking new approaches to research problems and her good judgment in knowing when and how to challenge the business with the audience’s viewpoint. During her time at the BBC, Emma also successfully established herself as one of a small number of trained creative facilitators, working across the BBC.
Emma has my full recommendation as a highly able and collaborative researcher who will deliver for your business."
Eilir Jones, Head of Research, BBC Wales