The Communication Studio


Non-profit and Pro-Bono projects tend to be more directed , with a heavy focus on connection. They often have a focus on community-building issues.

"John Vaughan brings a unique and valuable perspective to any project and team. His ability to get inside the mind of the core audience and help develop the best possible interface is uncanny. His fundamental knowledge of design principles and human factors makes him a solid addition to any creative or interface design team. Personally, John is one of the most wonderful and intelligent people I've ever met. Our ability to exchange ideas in the work place and then do the same in matters of the world is a welcome shift from the typical tired relationships one usually has with co-workers."

Gentry Wilson, Senior Designer, Immersant

Click on a slide in the Showcase and you'll go to that page.


Strategic guidance focusing on content management and strategy for this AIDS advocacy group. More analysis and evangelism than design. Helped them 'get organized' and develop their information management tools.

Zana Africa (pro-bono)

Non-profit organization focuses on women's health & education issues in Africa - specifically targeted towards school-age girls in Kenya. Working pro-bono through Taproot Foundation, I helped them re-organize their entire website presence, with an eye towards usability.

Lead-Free Kids

Merkley +Partners (also our agency client in 2008) asked us to guide their redesign this public-facing self-service health site, a partnership between the EPA and the Ad Council. We simplified the UI, spoke to the target audience (Moms), gave it a social networking edge, and focused on immediate “calls to action”.


In early 2013 the VA invited the public to submit design solutions to improve the usability of the standard health information form, which was - admittedly - hard to use.

Interactive One

Interactive One is the leading online network serving the African-American community. In 2007 they asked us to help them evolve their social networking site.

Cub Scout Pack 215 (pro-bono)

So I worked with our local Cub Scout Pack a little while back - and in so doing soon rediscovered some of my community service roots (harking waaaay back to video documentaries and cable TV activism in the 70's). This is a neat little solution for a volunteer community service website.

LPPOA Recreation (pro bono)

As a community member, in 2005 I volunteered to help redesign the existing Lake Parsippany Property Owners Association (LPPOA) website with an eye towards both service and outreach.

Bryant Park Redesign

Bryant Park, the large, lovely park behind the New York Public Library at 42nd Street was a popular spot for drug dealing. The W R Grace corporation, whose headquarters also faced onto the park, funded an effort to make the space more attractive to the general public.

The Worldgame

In the summer of 1979 I produced multimedia advocacy document of the 3-day workshop that focused on creating housing solutions. My work was actually funded by a proposal I made to "Waste Management", a fairly forward-thinking organization

Participatory Design Conference (pro bono)

I worked with local community groups from 1973 to 1980, documenting community organizing around the issues "liveable spaces", sweat equity, urban homesteading and advocacy in both Somerville, MA and New York City.

Municipal Cable Channel 84

By the early 70's cable TV systems were becoming common throughout the country.As an outspoken community advocate, I was selected by the local Community Cable Advisory Board and Mayor's office to head up one of the first community-run and operated cable TV stations in the United States.

Politics of Cable (pro bono)

In the Spring of 1975 - having worked with community leaders and stakeholders for more than a year - I finished my first significant video-documentary. The Community Cable Advisory Board and Public Access advocates used the video to spur education and advocacy about the cable situation within the local community.

Within a few months of its release Somerville Mayor S.Lester Ralph allocated federal CETA funding to establish a permanent community programming entity under local government auspices. The Community Cable Advisory Board unanimously selected me to head up The Municipal Cable Project.