Most projects at MAPstudios involve a fluid constellation of collaborators, all plying their particular expertise. But no matter how fluid, every constellation must have a center. At MAPstudios, Raoul is usually at the center of activity.

Raoul Rickenberg, Ph.D.
Raoul has been helping clients understand how they can use different media to meet their objectives for over a decade. His ability to tailor mediated experiences in ways that align user expectations with client objectives rests on an unusual combination of skills. In addition to years of experience as an information architect and interface designer, Raoul has a background in academic research that enables him to uncover what, specifically, the people for whom he is designing desire and how best to meet their goals.

Before founding MAPstudios, Raoul was the Director of Experience Design for a Stanford Research Institute venture. Prior to that, he was Creative Director at vivid studios, where he developed a practice area that focused on the integration of research and design. Raoul has taught courses at Stanford University and at Parsons School of Design, where he was a member of the faculty from 2003-2016. His research and teaching focus on the socio-technical systems that underlie processes of design and how these systems evolve as new technologies are adopted. Articles on this work have been published in leading academic journals.

Raoul holds a PhD in Communication and an MA in Media Studies from Stanford University. He also has a BFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design.

We develop interfaces for people, not technology. Whether we are working in the digital or material realm, or a combination of the two, our approach is always informed by insight into the needs and desires of those who use our work. To this end, we have developed practice areas in research and ideation to compliment our design practice. Our capacity to conduct both qualitative and quantitative research enables us to identify significant patterns in people's attitudes and behavior. And our ability to engage these people in the process of envisioning "solutions" fosters meaningful innovation. While some turn to us for our capacity in a particular area of practice, all benefit from the knowledge that we have derived from combining these practices in the course of developing a wide variety of products and services.

Designing interfaces for a broad range of people, in a broad range of media, requires a broad range of expertise. We have found that the best way to achieve such expertise is through collaboration. In fact, we credit our success to the skill of our collaborators as much as to our own ability. There is simply no way that we could grasp the many proclivities of all the people for whom we work, or master every medium in which we work, without the benefit of collaboration. And it is our experience that the key to successful collaboration can be found in the process of making maps.

Maps are central to our work. We use them to link initial ideation to final product-testing, and to gain perspective on every step in between. They enable us to overcome the language barriers that typically exist between disciplines on project teams, and to share the insight of stakeholders who may not be intimately involved in the complete product-development cycle. But we have found that the greatest value of maps is derived from the process of map-making itself. Our work resonates with a broad range of people because it emerges from a process that embraces and embodies differing points of view — the process of mapping.