AQ and Open Network Lab to lift User Experience quality for Tokyo’s Startups

We’re excited to announce an official partnership with the seed acceleration program Open Network Lab.

Since launching our UX consulting service AQ Lift last October, we’ve held a UX cram session with four of their startups, and also spoke about the integration of design and development within a lean startup at the New Context Conference. AQ and ONLab share a belief in the potential of Japanese startups in becoming global leaders.

Below is the joint press release from AQ and ONLab.

AQ and Open Network Lab to lift User Experience quality for Tokyo’s Startups

Tokyo-based design firm AQ and seed acceleration program Open Network Lab (Onlab) have formed a new partnership, in order to embed user experience design best practices within the recent surge of entrepreneurship in Tokyo’s web industry.

Via the partnership, AQ will hold regular user experience design workshops for resident startups enrolled in Onlab’s four month program. Teams will be able to ask questions, gather feedback and sketch solutions via one-on-one sessions with AQ’s user experience designers.

In addition to the mentoring program, AQ’s managing director Chris Palmieri will join Onlab’s roster of mentors. AQ and Onlab also plan to hold public workshops and seminars to teach how design processes can be integrated into the rapid development cycles of web startups.

“After our first session at Onlab, some teams were able to take our quickly scribbled designs, code them, release them to users and start collecting stats in just a few days. This tight feedback loop was motivating for everyone, so we started talking about how to make this a regular thing.” says Chris Palmieri, UX designer and managing director of AQ.

The partnership is part of Onlab’s ongoing effort to instill the importance of user experience design in its own startups and the greater Tokyo tech community, a group which is often dominated by engineers and entrepreneurs with less exposure to design thinking.

Last August, Onlab ran a “Lean UX” workshop with Janice Fraser, a co-founder of Adaptive Path and frequent consultant to Silicon Valley Startups. In October, Onlab ran a workshop at Keio University’s SFC Campus on design for startups.

“With the help of AQ, Onlab looks to strengthen their acceleration program to help startups build better products with better design and usability.” says Open Network Lab’s managing partner Hiro Maeda.

AQ is a Tokyo-based design and consulting firm, founded by Chris Palmieri, Eiko Nagase and Paul Baron in 2008. AQ has designed websites and applications for early stage startups, large corporations and cultural organizations in Japan and abroad, including ASICS, MyGengo, Mozilla Japan, and Tokyo Art Beat. In 2011, AQ launched AQ Lift, a rapid user experience design consulting program for early-stage web service businesses.

Open Network Lab is a seed acceleration program based in Tokyo, Japan. It was jointly established by Digital Garage,, and on April of 2010. The program is mentorship-driven; where mentors such as Joi Ito (Director of MIT Media Lab), Biz Stone (Co-Founder of Twitter), Phil Libin (Founder of Evernote), and many others have participated. 24 startups over 4 batches, including Giftee, Wondershake, Sassor, Compath, and Mieple have been funded by Open Network Lab.

For more information, please contact: Chris Palmieri (AQ) Chihiro Kobayashi (Open Network Lab)

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January 15, 2012