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Kirkland, WA

Caelus LLC is a company that specializes in researching, designing, and developing great user experiences.

We work primarily on software and hardware but also help in other types of research and design. Here are some of the methods and services we offer:

• Usability study kinds of services (lab studies, site visits, user modeling, etc.)
• Surveys of any size.
• Choice-based modeling/surveys.

• Agile UX/ backlog prioritization

• Software UI design
• UI development

• Training. We can train teams or individuals in areas such as customer site visits methods and strategies, UX research methods, and more.


Our team

Paul Elrif


Paul is a principal at Caelus where he researches, designs, and builds custom user experiences for a variety of clients. He is affiliate faculty, at the University of Washington, where he teaches graduate students about human-centered design and engineering, experimental methods, and statistics. He also owns a company that manufactures raw, organic nutrition bars: www.dragonflybars.com.

Paul sits on a few boards of directors, including the Natural Foods Products Association's Northwest chapter. Previous to his time at Caelus, Dragonfly, and UW Paul spent 14 years at Microsoft as a Senior UX Researcher and manager. He holds a PhD in experimental psychology from Tufts University.  

You can also find Paul on LinkedIn.


Kent Sullivan

Design Researcher

Kent believes strongly that integrating insights extracted from diverse data sources (design research, market research, telemetry, social networking, etc.) greatly increases the chances of those insights being breakthrough in nature. Kent has spent years fostering deep collaboration among team members and recognizes how hard it is to achieve this in a high-pressure corporate environment.

During his long tenure at Microsoft, it was Kent’s pleasure to work on a wide variety of products, especially Windows 95, where he led the exploratory user research that produced the taskbar and Start menu, as well as the iterative research that helped nail down the details. Since leaving Microsoft recently, Kent has plunged headfirst into the “gig economy” and is partnering with a number of like-minded colleagues on a variety of projects.

You can also follow Kent on LinkedIn.

Jeanine Spence

Experience Strategist

Jeanine works with companies of all sizes to imagine innovative solutions that deliver customer value. Having worked on both the engineering and design sides, she draws together the vision and the plan to deliver unique experiences. She believes in the power of listening closely to people to understand their challenges and ambitions and accepts that not everything needs a technology solution. But when technology is needed, then that is when it gets really interesting. She shares this passion in her industry talks and workshops ranging across inclusive design, design thinking, scenario planning, ideation and iteration, and strategic prototyping.

Jeanine is the lead author of the Customer Experience Capability Model, a strategic framework teams use to examine their current skills against exemplary examples and define a transformation roadmap. Jeanine received her bachelors in Philosophy from Reed College and her Masters of Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design. Keeping up with the youth, she is involved with Destination Imagination and teaching design thinking at local schools.

You can also follow Jeanine on LinkedIn.

Robert Graf

Principal Researcher/Trainer

Robert has over 23 years improving customer experience through research, design, and training. Before becoming an independent consultant with Caelus, LLC in 2014, he worked for 18 years at Microsoft where he specialized in user and design research. Robert has special skills in usability lab research, survey creation and analysis, and scaling agile UX practices to the enterprise.

As a member of Engineering Excellence, he contributed to Microsoft’s UX best practices and presented a variety of UX courses in the US, Europe, and Asia, presented two Engineering Forum sessions that won the Top Ten award, and coached several others to achieve the same. Robert holds a Ph.D. from Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development with a specialization in cognitive-motor behavior, modeling the acquisition of cognitive motor skills in a neural network of his own design, and authoring numerous publications and presentations.

You can also find Robert on LinkedIn.

Gene Beal

Software Developer

Sr Software Engineer with 20 years experience in startups; which include several acquisitions and one IPO.

You can also find Gene on LinkedIn.

katie small.jpg

Katie Hauser

UX Researcher

Katie is UX researcher with a background in electrical and software engineering. She uses her multidisciplinary experience to support clients in developing better products for their users. Katie holds a BS in engineering from Harvey Mudd College and an MS in human-centered design and engineering from the University of Washington. Prior to delving deeper into the world of UX, she worked at Intel dreaming up, designing, and building novel computing devices.

You can also find Katie on LinkedIn.


Joel Sytsma

UX Researcher

Joel has been working to navigate the relationship between data and the human experience for his entire career. Some highlights of this effort have been distilling hundreds of interviews with geriatric populations into numerous peer-reviewed publications, conducting usability studies on a range of products from mobile apps to virtual reality programs, and visualizing usage patterns of software to recognize opportunities for improvement. Along the way he has also managed teams of developers, built dynamic prototypes in design sprints, and generally tried to help in whatever way he could during the product development cycle.

Joel received his BA in psychology and is currently working to get his MS in Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. He credits his developed sense for people to his work in Alzheimer’s disease labs, cancer research centers, cheese powder factories, startups, and more.

You can also find Joel on LinkedIn.

Alex M. Dunne

Team Coach & Facilitator

Alex M. Dunne has built, managed, and consulted to teams at Fortune 100 firms in the US and Europe for more than 20 years. His work for companies like Amazon, American Standard, Blackberry, Dun & Bradstreet, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, and Sapient has delivered measurable business results while also growing teams and leaders. He blends extensive experience in product design/development, consulting, organization development and action learning methods.

Alex speaks and writes regularly on building high-performance cultures for the Design Management Institute and the Organization Development Network, served on several industry advisory boards, and lectures at the Information School of the University of Washington. Alex holds a B.A. in Regional Science from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Applied Behavioral Science from LIOS/Bastyr University.

You can also find Alex on LinkedIn.

Tonya M. Peck

Design Manager & Facilitator

Tonya M. Peck has built and strengthened creative leaders and teams in the US, Europe, and Asia for more than 20 years. Her work for companies like Amazon, American Express, Audi, frog design, POSSIBLE, Razorfish, Microsoft, and Salesforce.com has led to world-class products and services, and breakthrough innovation. She blends extensive real-world product design/development experience with organization development and action learning methods.

Tonya speaks and writes regularly on building high-performance cultures for the Design Management Institute. She is a contributor to books like “The Persona Lifecycle: Keeping People in Mind Throughout Product Design” (2006), “Scenario Focused Engineering” (2014), “Does It Work” (2015). Tonya holds a B.A. in International Business from American University and an M.A. in Applied Behavioral Science from LIOS/Bastyr University.

You can also find Tonya on LinkedIn.