James Boardwell

Photo of me in Chatsworth House gardens
In Chatsworth House gardens

I’m a user researcher and product manager.

I help design and develop digital first products and services and I’ve done this since 2020 for organisations including the BBC, Channel4, Science Museum, Hutchison Whampoa / INQ, the Co-op and in UK GOV for DfE. More recently I’ve been a Service Owner at the Ministry of Justice re-designing probation, and Head of Product at the ‘death’ scale up, Farewill.

As well as the above I was a Snr Lecturer in Design (Sheffield Hallam 2014) and I ran an agency, Rattle (2007-2014) which built some fun things using web technologies. One of the founding things we built was Folksy (2007), a place for makers and artists to sell their work. Back then I naively believed Folksy would be a place to showcase and sell Internet of Things electronics. Folksy is still a thriving business but you’re more likely to find wooden penguins and hats for dogs than the next IoT gadget. I still love working on Folksy and support the team of six that manage the business day-to-day.


I offer training in product management and user research, supporting organisations to build teams and capabilities and, in particular, to help the focus on identifying product value. I’ve done this training and mentoring for teams at Bulb, Booking.com as well as IDEO.


I’m fascinated by human and organisational behaviour, and particularly how technologies influence those behaviours. Some of what informs my thinking and why I ended up doing what I do, is captured in this talk from 2018. This blog post from 2017 (whilst at the Co-op) covers the reason for small sample sizes in product or UX research.

Interested in working with me? Message me using the form below or DM me via LinkedIn to arrange a chat.