Translate Direct won first place at Hack the Gap!

heatherlee nguyen

Translate Direct, my service innovation won 1st place at a (virtual) hackathon this weekend! I’m so grateful the judges saw my vision. Thank you Hack the Gap! I’m going after this idea. This is a real problem right now (and it always was) and I care about fixing it.

[To watch the demo video (below) please reach out for the password. Would love your thoughts!]

What’s next? I’m looking for people willing to watch my short video demoing the concept. If one of these bullet points fits you, and you’d be willing to email back & forth, get on a call with me, or demo this service, please reach out!

Looking to connect with:
• ESL Teachers (and staff)
• Teachers and administrative staff at language/immersion schools
• Public servants: care givers, community organizers, volunteers regularly communicating with bilingual and/or non-English speaking families
• Anyone specifically working with multilingual communities during this crisis

The survey I circulated during the hackathon is still open. Add your perspective right here:

(Thank you for sharing with your network).


TᕼE IᑎᗪIE ᑕOᑎᔕᑌᒪTᗩᑎT
𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝘁 »𝗖𝗫« 𝗦𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗗𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗻

I’m Heatherlee. An independent research and design consultant with a background in UX, a passion for service design, an interest in biomimicry and a stake in your strategy. I’m passionate about helping you bridge the gap between your product teams and the people you design for.

Contact info & more about me here.


inspiration, Resilience

Arnold Glaslow said, “Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.” 
And Rumi: “Set your life on fire, seek those who fan your flames.”

So what sets you on fire? 🔥 how do you keep your light shining? Who fuels and fans your flames? Designers and makers of the world.. we need your passion, we need your backwards, outside the box, upside down, nonconventional thinking. We need your curiosity. We need your tinkering. Keep that fire burning baby 🔥 for all of us, and more importantly for yourself. You owe it to yourself to follow that burn! Burn baby burn ✨❤️🔥


design work, inspiration


Flashback to 2017 working in the Service Design Studio embedded within a large health insurance org. We were working w/ a Medicare + Retirement group exploring a partnership opportunity with AARP. First thing done was 10 interviews with the target audience. But they weren’t just interviews, I prepped activities for everyone to do so the conversations were more active & our team would have artifacts to refer back to in the synthesis stage.

We had them write/draw their “best self,” select roles of people such as spouse, provider, friend & select an archetype like “hero,” “partner,” “inventor,” “advisor,” for how they show up in their lives now & how they’d like them to show up. We had them go through their journey with health/wellness from childhood to now, then what they expected as they age. We also had them look at brand logos & tell us which they have relationships w/, which they trust, which they use & services they’d want to try. And finally some confidence scales for their current coverage on medical costs now & in the future. We learned so much about their lives from doing this! What they need, what they don’t have, what they expect as they age & all the different barriers of that including caring for both aging parents & adult children simultaneously, navigating downsizing, planning for retirement & remaining active in their communities. There were surprises like those wanting a deeper relationship w/ self & some trends like looking to food as medicine. On pic 4 & 5 i turned the learnings into “personas” to represent the various mindsets/lifestyles we encountered.

Based on this research we came up w/ 3 concepts & tested those for desirability. It was an amazing project where I got to do what I love most, interact face to face & personally connect w/ the people I design for. Nothing is better than that, best part of my job hands down! This was very well received. And I can’t thank our interviewees enough ❤️🙏🏽✨


design work


I absolutely love what I do! It’s a privilege to be able to make a living creating things, dreaming up new ideas, pushing people to think bigger and ultimately, improving peoples’ daily lives. I’m now booking freelance projects for 2019 & beyond. Want to make some magic? Fill out the form on the bottom of this page and we’ll chat.

🙂 With Love,




Embracing Change

Change doesn’t come from staying focused on how things are being done now, it’s about pushing your thinking and imagining what it could be. Think about the greatest invention of all time, the wheel. They wanted to make the way they were doing things better, not make what they were currently using better.wheel-01
Get those wheels turning!





alum of MCAD • altMBA grad • changemaker

more about Heatherlee here.