Case Studies

Working with local business is a great pleasure, some of the small to medium enterprises I have worked with as a design researcher based in West Wicklow can be seen here. If you like what see, read or hear don’t hesitate to get in touch here.

Wicklow Crafts Online

Wicklow Marketplace eCommerce platform was co-created with Robin Free from leanweb and myself (Rachel Kane – Lifehack) with great support and input from the artists and craftspeople working, living, or members of an art collective in County Wicklow. Having worked on building a website and user experience with Karen Ryan Allison for her business Crafty Craic Candles in the Glen of Imaal and with the onset of Level 5 Restrictions during the Covid 19 pandemic, the idea for an online craft marketplace was borne. Robin and I explored the current Art and Craft market in Ireland and together with prior knowledge of the wants and needs of SMEs in the Wicklow area, we researched suitable software, payment functions and appetite for selling crafts online. Visit the website to see what we have achieved as an online collective so far…


circular join us poster for an online market
Blessington logo

Branding Strategy

“Where nature and history meet” this is the tag-line for a logo I co-designed for the stunning town of Blessington, complementing the Blessington Greenway project. Living in West Wicklow, I was delighted to be approached by Blessington Town Team and Blessington District Forum for a collaboration on a new branding concept. Working with the teams, who were candid and well prepared with a design brief to co-create value, for the community and potential visitors, through a distinct mix of elements addressing a need. Watch their video presentation for Bank of Ireland Begin Together Awards 2020

Digital Strategy

Re-designing the website for Bailey & Blake resulted in a usable, dynamic site which delivers the functionality of a shop window for the video and photographic content of this fun and professional duo in the West Wicklow area. Initially Oliver and Martin (Bailey&Blake) approached Lifehack to conduct a usability and accessibility test on their website…

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…which highlighted some issues for customers looking for their extremely polished video and photographic content. Having collaborated with Bailey and Blake on local enterprise, community and personal projects, I was delighted to help with the re-imagining of their site. They had an unconventional approach to the project. Having started with Weebly, they were comfortable to continue with that platform. As a very busy SME in West Wicklow, they put their trust in Lifehack to lead the re-design, having confidence in their knowledge of a rich customer base after conducting extensive social research on past projects themselves. I enlisted the help of a theme from Baamboo Studios, who were invaluable when coming up against the many obstacles of a Weebly site. The main emphasis on the re-designed site is on access to the photographic gallery on Flickr and the video playlists on Youtube with a glossy showreel to capture the Bailey and Blake experience. I look forward to working with Bailey and Blake on future projects.

Blessington logo

Graphic Visualisation for Agri – Tech project at UCD

A graphic or infographic can convert amazing research into visual, graphical information. This can be used, for example, for funding applications. Over the last three years, I have collaborated on…

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…such graphics and infographics with the AgroCycle team at UCD who have successfully used these for funding applications. Combined with the expertise of Ger Hanley at AgRefine –H2020 MSCA ITN development programme for the next generation of Agri Biorefinery & Valorisation Bioeconomy leaders.” Meanwhile, the infographic for the Life Farm4More project was created with Joe Sweeney from the UCD team working on LIFE farm4more, which “aims to implement a suite of technologies, strategies and techniques to achieve climate mitigation in animal protein production”. The complexity of a project creates its own dialogue between researcher and designer  it is only when both fully understand how to convey the information visually that this information will make sense to the viewer. Simplifying information can be the most difficult journey but it is rewarding for the people who consume it.

Gerry Farrell, Managing Director, Castle View Financial Services relaxed at KCLR radio station

Financial Services Jargon Busting

Two initial design research workshops helped  to tease out the service Gerry Farrell from Castle View Financial Services in Kilkenny wished to carve out of the personal financial services sector with his new business in the city. Research showed the ethos of the company was as important to share, as the core values, which shine through everything Gerry does: for family, community and business.

Gerry's goal for the website is to...

encourage potential clients to come through the door for a face-to-face meeting and so we built in many opportunities to email, call and contact Gerry for this personalised service, keeping in mind that individual needs vary for each service provided. We arrived at the single-page user journey as ease-of-use in this first iteration of was top priority for people who are time-starved with work, family, leisure and well–being making demands on their attention. The ‘look and feel’ is warm, thoughtful and caring, colours and imagery reflect this research and the non-brand branding was a conscious choice for Gerry at this time. The ‘sound advice’ section is a first-hand introduction to Gerry’s knowledge in this area of personal finance and future planning. His warm, trustworthy personality comes through the audio, which breaks the stereotypes associated with an otherwise cold, hard, cash business. The user experience (UX) will be measured and tested through analytics reports and feedback and we look forward to the next iterations of the business.
Crafty Craic research post its on a page

Crafty Craic Logo, Branding and Identity with a digital guide

Karen has developed an artists space at Crafty Craic to include a candle making workshop, a learning environment,  for those with an interest in craft learning in a relaxed setting and a shop packed full of crafts by local artists. 

West Wicklow Business Network Culture Audit

Design workshops are important to explore a customer’s wants and needs. As a participant of the West Wicklow Business Network, I was happy to be given the opportunity to facilitate two consecutive design research workshops in 2017…

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West Wicklow Business network was an evolving business network in an emerging rural business development environment. The issues which can influence the success of new and legacy business in the region, were shared in a candid and respectful manner. It was important to get to the core of the Network before working on a website.

The issues which can influence the success of new and legacy business in the region, were shared in a candid and respectful manner. It was important to get to the core of the Network before working on a website. It was important to get to the core of the Network before working on a website.  The mixed-methods research was conducted using Causal Layered Analysis used in strategic planning and futures studies. Through open coding, themes evolved which will be built on in the next phase with the group to design an outcome for the organisation based on the relationships within and new members. Outcomes are fluid with the three main findings of the organisational re-structure finding their own level in networking needs for people in West Wicklow, in the formation of external exclusive groups and community groups. To be continued…

The new Blessington Town Team needed some presentation and design and branding material and we have been delighted with the work delivered by Rachel Kane at She took our brief and came back to us promptly with some excellent ideas. Very professional approach. Thanks Rachel

John Horan

CEO-National Patient Treatment Fund, Blessington Town Team

Rachel is not only a talented designer but a talented communicator. She is so easy to work with and she has an innate talent of understanding what her customers need – even if they are not 100% sure.

I went to Rachel not knowing what I wanted never mind being able to explain it other than that I needed a logo. After a few interactions, Rachel came up with several logo designs for my new business venture and they are fit amazingly, leaving me with the challenge of deciding on just one. Over the years, I have recommended Rachel to academic researchers looking to communicate what their work is about and each and every time, Rachel rose to the challenge and delivered. I cannot recommend Rachel highly enough. She truly is an all rounder.

Ger Hanley

Research Manager, AgRefine

Rachel delivered a top quality UX Design experience for my firm by focusing on the usability, accessibility and genuine pleasure my clients and prospective clients have navigating my website ( I’m very lucky to have worked with Rachel on the design, build and roll out of my website.

She understands my company’s bottom line and just gets the need to ensure the business message is delivered in a succinct and professional manner. I’m delighted to say that we will be working together to enhance customer experience further now and into the future and would highly recommend Rachel as an essential part of any company’s team as they seek to improve and build out better solutions for their customers.

Gerry Farrell

Managing Director, Castle View Financial Services

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