Zoom Out—It’s Not Just About the Product.

Bay Area Video Coalition alumni Amy Li attended Cooper U’s Interaction Design course in May. After 4 days of user research, synthesis, and persona and scenario creation, here are the some of the powerful concepts and practices she learned from Cooper U.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend Cooper U’s Interaction Design course. This extensive four-day course explored many techniques and practices useful to designers, developers, marketers, project managers, and design enthusiasts. Here are some concepts and tips that resonated with me.

Your product doesn’t work in a vacuum.

Understanding the product ecosystem helps designers see the bigger picture and the elements that will be affected by their design, such as who will use it, where, and in what situation.

Creating the product ecosystem helps establish the product domain and identifies design opportunities, challenges and unexpected connections.

To create a product ecosystem, designers should seek answers to these questions:

  • Who might this product affect?
  • What kinds of activities and actions might be related?
  • What are some unique places where the product might be used?
  • What trends and technologies might be leveraged for this product?

After a designer understands the product domain, their next step is to ensure the design will be relevant and meaningful to the people who use it.

Read More Here

5 Things I Learned From Cooper U’s Design Leadership

We are always on the look out for posts, articles, and other pieces authored by Cooper U Alumni. The stories that they tell are often an insightful glimpse into what lessons stood out to participants. We were delighted to find this blog post by Meg Davis (Extractable) that calls out so many of the tips and meaningful moments from Design Leadership’s curriculum. Take a look…

I recently had the pleasure of attending a two-day event hosted by San Francisco agency Cooper about design leadership. This discussion-based event covered great material about techniques for leadership and communication in the design industry. I would highly recommend this event to other design professionals who want to improve the effectiveness of their work.

Five insights stuck with me, and I’ve included concrete tips about how to live out these insights practically.

Be as intentional with people as you are with your work.

As user experience designers, we love researching people to find out their motivations for using web and digital products. We spend hours of primary research during each project, watching people use products in context of their work. However, we don’t put this level of attention towards our co-workers who we work alongside. If we took time to really understand and build empathy for the people we work with every day, we would understand what kind of pressures they face, what rewards them, what they need to make a decision, and what they need from us in order to trust us. If we can understand each team member’s skills and motivations, then we can leverage them to work better together. As the Cooper U team so beautifully put it, “Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up.”

Tip: At the start of each project, talk to each team member about his or her intentions for the project and figure out ways to support them, even in small ways.

Tip: Before going into meetings with your peers, understand and anticipate what they will need to feel engaged during the meeting and feel buy-in with respect to the work.

Read more about Meg’s experience on the Extractable blog

Meg Davis attended Design Leadership training in February. This course was created and taught by Teresa Brazen and myself. Learn more about this class or sign up for the next one here.

Want to share your Cooper U experience? We would love to hear about it. Send us a note.

Design Collaboration and Communication is now DESIGN LEADERSHIP

A few years ago, we designed a course to help individuals and teams learn how to work together better, knowing that if we could teach them how to be master communicators and collaborators, they’d get better products and services out into the world. Over the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with the content of that class, gathering feedback from alumni, and brainstorming how to take it up a notch. We’ve come up with a new and improved curriculum that goes beyond collaboration and communication, introducing participants to the skills and practices to become leaders in their organizations. We renamed the course to reflect this new emphasis.

Design Lead Photo Edit

At its core, Design Leadership remains a fantastic hands-on workshop for designers and managers alike to collaborate and learn from each other. But now, we’ve added more leadership techniques like using storytelling to communicate the value of your work and ways to impact the culture of your organization. This is the course your career wants you to take.

To entice you, we’re offering 20% off our first Design Leadership training on February 27-28. Just use this code when you register: DL20213