Deals

Facebook acqui-hires usability experts behind Bolt Peters to bolster design team

Could Facebook improve the experience of its web and mobile applications? Most certainly, and now they’ll have the usability, user experience, and interaction design expertise of Bolt Peters to do just that.

The social network picked up some of the six-person team behind the ten year-old research and design firm in an acqui-hire deal, Bolt Peters announced and Facebook confirmed.

“For more than ten years, Bolt Peters has worked with our clients (plus a robot and clay dinosaurs) to improve the design of their sites, apps, devices, video games, and cars,” head honcho Nate Bolt said in a blog post. “But the time has come for our next adventure — at Facebook.”

Bolt Peters was founded in 2002 and has completed 238 projects, a book, and a real-time research recruiting application called Ethnio, according to its website. The firm’s client list spans automotive, finance, gaming, healthcare, music, and — ding, ding, ding, ding — mobile categories, and includes everyone from Twitter and Zynga to name brands such as Levis, Sony, and Volkswagon.

The Bolt Peters team will be joining Facebook’s design team, headed by director of design Kate Aronowitz. The company has spun out Ethnio into a separately held entity, but will be shutting down all other operations on June 22.

“We’re absolutely thrilled the Bolt Peters team is joining Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat.

Facebook’s talent get underscores the newly public company’s commitment to making its products better — especially its mobile apps, which could use a little work and a whole lot of creative ad placements. One of Bolt Peters expressed strengths is in mobile research; the company takes an ethnographic research approach to “uncover how people use mobile interfaces, the ways they adapt to the logistic and technological limitations of those interactions, and how the interfaces perform.”

The social network also recently acquired mobile, social-gifting startup Karma. Expect more strategic buys in the weeks and months ahead. With IPO money lining Facebook’s now deep pockets, we certainly expect the company to pick up the pace on its already aggressive acquisition and talent plays.


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