Q+A with Heidi Ylvisaker, Design Researcher


Heidi has always felt responsible for improving the lives of others. This passion led her to Iowa State University, earning a degree in graphic design for healthcare. When she’s not working as a Design Researcher at Worrell, Heidi can be found volunteering, exploring hole-in-the-wall restaurants and running along the river with her local running club.

Where can you be found on the weekends?

I believe life is best spent outdoors. Weather permitting, I love exploring the Twin Cities running trails–West River Parkway is my current favorite– or escaping the city for a secluded camping trip with close family and friends.

What is your secret to conducting amazing research?

I always do a dry run before conducting interviews in the field. By becoming comfortable with interview materials and activities, I can modify the questions, making the necessary changes that allow me to gather richer insights from patients and families. When it comes to design research, practice definitely makes perfect.

Also, I’ve found that the aphorism “there is no such thing as a dumb question” is especially true for design research. While it may feel uncomfortable asking the obvious, often times those “dumb questions” are answered with ‘that’s just the way it is.’ When you probe into why that’s the standard, and if it has to be the standard, you start to uncover some exciting areas for innovation.

What is something outside of work in which you consider yourself an expert?

Maybe not an expert, but I love connecting people with other people. If someone is new in town, I’m one of the first to try and get them connected to a specific activity or group of friends. I believe that there is always an opportunity for fulfilling human connection, so I try to instigate that for others.