At the start of any design challenge, students build a foundational understanding of the brief.

This structured process includes both primary and secondary research methods. The goal: uncover a single insight or insights to inspire a research-based prototype. This section represents each student’s area of focus as well as their top takeaways or ah-ha moments from the research phase. We’ve even highlighted a few standout insights!

Aksana Kashounik

Aksana's focus was finding out how to increase app engagement and user retention.

Top Insights:

  1. Users did not feel a personal connection with the app.
  2. Athletes lack a single network that would meet all of their needs.
  3. Users are overwhelmed with free quality content they already receive from other social media apps installed on their phones.

Araseli Serrano

Araseli's research sought to understand the needs and motivations of amateur athletes.
Furthermore, designing ways to help people discover Red Bull events and improve the probability of participation.

Top Insights:

  1. There is a correlation between users who implement an active lifestyle and those who are driven to partake in social events and outdoor activities.
  2. Users rely on multiple sources to seek information on specific athletes.
  3. Many rely on YouTube to save time and focus on the most vital moments in a certain sports event.

Braxton Huff

Braxton's research looked at improving onboarding in the app to help new users find content that is personalized and tailored to their interests from the start.

Top Insights:

  1. People who are new to the app were more likely to delete it.
  2. Users said it was too much of a challenge to find content that interested them and they didn’t feel that the app was personalized for them. It felt like a waste of time and space on their phone.

Brent Lawson

In the home of Red Bull TV, Brent sought to improve the content living space while users are away from the app. Through user-input categorizing content through playlist design.

Top Insights:

  1. Users have more than one favorite Red Bull media channel.
  2. Users indicated they wanted control over where their media was being categorized.
  3. Users indicated their smartphone was helpful for catching up on events, but distracting in different contexts.

Cole Vercammen

Cole wanted to uncover user pain points and problems with the organization of content. By information gathered by researching which sports are the most popular amongst the target audience; he wants to determine what they want to see, and what they don’t.

Top Insights:

  1. Those who save videos to playlists/ watchlists are more likely to share videos with friends.
  2. There is content that is displayed more than once, further cluttering an app in which all the content is displayed in the same thumbnail format.
  3. The public perception of Red Bull is that the Drink and the Sports side are separate.

Courtney Taylor

Courtney's research focused on using immersive technology to create a more engaging experience for esports fans.

Top Insights:

  1. Esports fans and non-fans have two interest in common: video games and AR technology.
  2. People are more likely to use this AR since the only equipment they need is a smartphone.
  3. More people know AR apps and prefer them over VR ones.

Edebaldo Ramirez

Edebaldo wanted to find out how can we design to promote familiarity between RedBull athletes and fans?

Top Insights:

  1. There was confusion on what the app was supposed to be or do. Users kept asking, “Is it a streaming app?”
  2. The app was compared to Youtube in each interview.
  3. “When I think of energy, I think of sports.” -Female Interviewee.

Elsa Grayson

Elsa's focus was on building ways to acquire and connect with the “Fluid Fans.” Creating a streamlined pathway from athletes’ social media pages to the Red Bull TV App.

Top Insights:

  1. Athletes’ social media pages don’t do a good job of driving fans to the Red Bull TV app.
  2. Fans of Red Bull athletes navigate the Red Bull TV app from an athlete-centric perspective.
  3. Users want to know what content featuring their favorite athletes is on the Red Bull TV app.

Emily Hedrick

Emily's research focused on fostering stronger connections between RBTV users and the Red Bull brand. She wanted to know what moments of the day and in what contexts Red Bull could continually create personal connections with their fans.

Top Insights:

  1. 55% of the users interviewed had no interest in receiving a reward or compensation for engaging with an experience/brand, but rather wanted to engage in experiences that added value to their own interests.
  2. Most interviewees were motivated to follow and keep up with their favorite athletes and musicians in order to feel a more personal connection with them.
  3. Within the app, testers found it difficult to find basic information about the individual athletes.

Genesis Baltasar

Genesis' research was focused on identifying pain points around live events and the app, as well as non-users’ preferred types of incentives.

Top Insights:

  1. Users won’t download apps casually.
  2. They are motivated by incentives, even if they aren’t interested in the brand.
  3. Users don’t like their attention forced towards certain content.

Haren Soril

The majority of Haren's research conducted for Red Bull TV revolved around how users navigate physical event spaces, delving deep into pain points involving the interaction of event service design and human behavior and emotion.

Top Insights:

  1. Not knowing who the musicians, players, artists, and athletes were discouraged a majority of participants and interviewees from using the app.
  2. Inclusion also proved to be a major issue. In genres such as dance and culture, the lack of content proved to be troublesome. Users interested in such areas found the genres to be more exclusive than inclusive.
  3. Users were most engaged with the 360 video feature, spending a majority of their time immersing themselves in the virtual environment rather than other video content. However, most users also expressed a liking of live events over virtual alternatives.

Landon Harris

Landon's research was mainly focused on music event attendees. He wanted to see what their everyday struggles were with going to music events and with viewing content relating to it.

Top Insights:

  1. Users cared about having an experience with the app that was more personal to them.
  2. Users need a way to track upcoming events.
  3. Users want a clean, simple way to view video content relating to what they are interested in.

Melody Hagedorn

Melody's research focused on getting a deeper understanding of what community building means to Red Bull users. She eventually narrowed in on the pain points of a specific community (mountain bikers). 

Top Insights:

  1. Users feel Red Bull events  are not accessible to them due to exclusivity and pro athlete standards.
  2. Mountain bikers find it trickier to meet new people like themselves than to find fellow road cyclists.
  3. Interactive trail tracking is crucial for mountain bikers.

Petula Pascall

Petula's proposal is an interesting and fun onboarding experience that is clear, direct and quick. The new user will have fewer screens to learn and add personalization to the app. 

Top Insights:

  1. Some users are visual. Too much text and not enough icons to indicate the subject.
  2. Define what the term extreme sports means to first time users.

Roy Allen

Roy's research was based around creating an active social community and unifying the needs of both Red Bull and its users.

Top Insights:

  1. Users wanted to be more involved but didn't know how.
  2. Users felt powerless. The lack of customization and control made using the app feel slow.
  3. Users desired to consume content as long as they felt it was relevant to themselves.

Shadae Kawaguchi

Shadae wanted to know, can we make the event experience better through wayfinding?

Top Insights:

  1. 80% of Users from a quantitative survey have been to a live event in the past year (the average user had been to 5 events in the past year; 1 went to 20)
  2. Users biggest pain points at live events are finding their friends and finding their car after an event.
  3. Music was the topic most users followed closely.

Stefan Tabencki

Stefan wanted to understand the value of avatar creation. What emotions does avatar creation evoke and what does customization mean to the user?

Top Insights:

  1. People like lots of options that are easily navigated for customization.
  2. Avatars need to interact with something for users to stay interested.
  3. Every person interviewed said they would delete the Red Bull app.

Susanna Davtyan

Find a way to encourage young people to use the Red Bull app frequently.

Top Insights:

  1. The app needs some type of user centered activity.
  2. Make the app content more personalized.

Yuan Li

On Red Bull’s website, it says “Red Bull sponsors some of the best athletes in the world across a variety of sports”. However, it is not the case for female gamers. Video games are largely a male-dominated industry, especially in eSports. Sexism, prejudice and gender discrimination are too commonplace. Yuan research looks for a way to empower female gamers in eSports with Red Bull TV.

Top Insights:

  1. The number of women working in any role in esports is estimated to be about 5%, or 1 in 20, according Women in Games.
  2. Just 1 gamer out of Red Bull’s 30 sponsored eSports athletes is a woman.
  3. According to the Entertainment Software Association survey, nearly 50 percent of U.S. gamers are female.

Research Methodologies

Heuristic Evaluation

Because the brief centered on mobile experiences, it only made sense that students conduct a heuristic evaluation of Red Bull’s current web and app offerings. This method provided a process to identify current strengths and opportunities within the Red Bull portfolio.

Case Study Inspiration Board

To understand “what’s been done already,” students identified 10 inspiring examples from design, art, etc. around the larger theme of personalization. These examples were then printed and displayed in the classroom, with a short reflection on why it was chosen.

Competitive Analysis (Market Position + Web/App Features)

Students conducted two, separate competitive analysis: one on market position, the other on web/app features. Each analysis included 3-5 direct or indirect competitors with the goals of understanding key areas of competitive advantage and disadvantage as well as major problems and opportunities that may require action.

Stakeholder Interviews

The kick-off meeting also acts as an opportunity for students to ask stakeholders about the brief. To inform this conversation, students conduct secondary research about the client. They then document the conversation and translate it into a one-sheet, documenting standout quotes and top insights.

Participatory Interviews

Students conducted in-person interviews with a minimum of 3 participants to better understand the target audience. Unique to these interviews was the requirement that each interview include a participatory or co-creative exercise. Highlights include usability tests, designing fictional interfaces, and mapping social media journeys to name a few.  


Based on the interviews above, students created personas to help guide the design process and anchor future prototypes in the customer experience.

Domain Expert 

Domain Expert interviews are face-to-face or phone interviews with experts and thinkers whose work looks forward toward solutions or futures. Domain Experts are leaders in their fields and thinkers at the intersections of disciplines.