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a user research and product strategy firm

We like to ask questions 

Runaway Research is Alexis Sypek and Courtney Pitman—longtime friends who leverage the power of research to solve user challenges and boost human centered design.


With years of experience designing and executing qualitative and quantitative studies, we specialize in uncovering user expectations, behaviors, needs, and motivations—i.e., the WHY behind user behavior.


Whether you call them users, customers, subscribers, or something else entirely, we can help you understand behaviors, quantify and contextualize metrics like satisfaction, and uncover unmet needs to inform future product offerings.

Our research ensures that you build and design for your audience.  

Research design & strategy

Building and aligning on a clear research roadmap provides consistent feedback loops for product teams, and can help designers and engineers prioritize feature updates.

Usability & information architecture

Observing real people navigate a tool or organize your content can take a product or service out of the tech-speak world and firmly plant it within the appropriate context for the real world.


Surveying is a key piece of the evaluative research process, allowing us to understand bigger picture user trends like satisfaction and awareness.

Diary & longitudinal studies

Longer term studies allow us to see beyond an isolated product interaction, and to understand how perceptions or behaviors may evolve over time and frequency of interactions.

Ethnographic interviews & focus groups

Speaking directly with users 1:1 or in a focus group allows us to go deep on specific topics and unlock nuanced context about their behaviors and thought patterns.

UXR evangelizing & training

Advocating for research can be difficult when there are competing internal priorities and you don't know what you don't know. We can explain and/or teach it to leadership and staff.



Courtney and Alexis met in high school in 2005, but didn't become real friends until much later. While they never had direct plans to form a company together, after Courtney finished her MBA she did some part-time work with Alexis while she planned her next career move. Thankfully, the two realized very quickly they had complementary skill sets and worked incredibly well together. Now they're able to seamlessly tackle thorny UXR problems all while finding the perfect Ru Paul slack gif or creating niche Spotify playlists. 

Our adaptable, two-person research approach allows us to embed within organizations and take ownership of months-long engagements, or to simply consult from an external lens for shorter projects. 

Our Values

1 / Be kind.

Compassion and respect are paramount when gathering user insights; they also make client meetings enjoyable.

2 / Keep your word.

Get the work done on time, communicate reliably, and do what you say you’re going to do. 

3 / People are messy; embrace it.

We are passionate about uncovering the complex and often overlooked aspects of human behavior. There will be unpredictable moments and pitfalls, but that complexity is what makes it so much fun. 

4 / This work is a privilege.

People let us into their lives, brains, and routines, and this is a responsibility that we honor.

5 / Life is a lot more than work.

This is true for us, and hopefully for you. We celebrate this in our own professional relationship, and we celebrate this in our client relationships.

Some of our current and past clients:



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Our adaptable, two-person research approach allows us to embed within organizations and take ownership of months-long engagements, or to simply consult from an external lens for shorter projects. 

We work uniquely with clients depending on their needs: Some already have an acute usability problem defined like, "Do users understand where and how to access Covid-19 treatment based on this website?" Others have exploratory questions they need help defining before they can be solved such as, "What are government benefits recipients looking for in a tool that can help them track their EBT balance?" Others are looking to iteratively refine an existing product. It's all so varied! Also research begets more research questions. It's pretty fun. 

Not sure where to start? That’s okay! Tell us what type of challenges you’re running into or what you’d like to learn more about. From there, we can help you refine your questions, recommend research methodology based on your timeline, implement the research to answer your questions, and provide strategic recommendations based on your own users’ feedback.

Work with us

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