Posts about Clients


Heavily Regulated Industries Need Goal-Directed Design

Working in the insurance industry, an industry saddled with stiff regulations, has several implications for the design team. Generally, this means submitting each page to an internal review process and then to every state for their approval. If after filing there are additional changes, re-submitting a particular webpage earns extra scrutiny, increasing the chance that edits will be necessary prior to launch. As a result, every A/B test, every possible change, must be thought out ahead of time, without proving it first in production. Otherwise, the changes must be filed all over again. Because of these challenges, our digital experience and design team has adopted Cooper’s Goal-Directed Design (GDD) approach. 

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Working in the insurance industry, an industry saddled with stiff regulations, has several implications for the design team. Because of these challenges, our digital experience and design team has adopted Cooper’s Goal-Directed Design (GDD) approach. 

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How much interface does your analytics product need?

Original article posted on Medium.

While working on a project earlier this year, an interesting tidbit emerged from research: users tended to have just a few simple needs when it came to accessing data. Given that the tool we were working on is pretty robust, the lightweight nature of the most common use cases was a surprise… there is more “tool” available than what is necessarily needed. 

This reflects a broader trend among analytics providers: there’s a popular interface-first reflex when it comes to building data products. We opt for flexibility over convenience, often attempting to satisfy all plausible use cases rather than optimizing for the most frequent ones. Here’s an outline of some analytics use-cases, addressed in a one-size-fits-all way:

The approach is, in a way, straightforward. Give the user access to the data. If they have a question, they can go to the interface and “tell” it what they need. They then digest the information, isolating some meaningful insight (hopefully) before disseminating the information to their peers, supervisors, or other stakeholders. 

The interface-first approach is capable of satisfying many use cases for end users. Analytics tools can be used for all sorts of purposes — from status updates to fact-finding to open-ended exploration — but it’s not unusual to see a user base rally around a few lightweight ones (hint: open-ended exploration is usually not among them). Let’s think through a simple use case: a gym owner wants to know if member attendance has changed this week, as weather has been especially nice. Here’s how that scenario looks for an interface-first analytics tool:

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Taking a look at different approaches to analytics products: interface as a "tool" vs technology as an "assistant." Inspired by research done in the field. 

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Designing for Moms

Cooper’s Founder, Alan Cooper invented the modern-day design persona. Personas are archetypal user profiles that describe the key goals, behaviors, and attitudes of target users. Personas are created through a framework that identifies behavior patterns through individual ethnographic interviews. 

At Cooper, design personas are an important tool in our everyday work. Once they are crafted, they allow for a more focused understanding of user needs. We use them in our consulting projects to drive and evaluate approaches for creating meaningful and effective products and services. 

Personas are often used to: 

● Audit existing products and services, 

● Provide context for evaluating new products and services, 

● Build empathy for a diverse set of audience members, and 

● Avoid creating solutions based on self-­referential assumptions.

To learn more about the history at personas at Cooper, read: The Origin of Personas by Alan Cooper

Since 1992, Cooperistas have created thousands of personas for clients large and small. We design many products and services with moms in mind. To commemorate Mother’s Day, here’s a gallery of some of our favorite “mom” personas. 

Note: These personas are borrowed from actual Cooper consulting projects. Enjoy!

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Since 1992, Cooperistas have created thousands of personas for clients large and small. We design many products and services with moms in mind. To commemorate Mother’s Day, here’s a gallery of some of our favorite “mom” personas.

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If your RFP was a Tinder profile, you’d never get a date

During my two decades as a design and strategy consultant, I’ve seen countless requests for proposals (RFPs) in my inbox. We consultants are honored and LOVE when potential clients reach out about exciting new projects. (Thank you!) That said, sometimes my delight at reviewing an RFP is tempered by anxiety; will this be another one of those RFPs?

We certainly don’t expect clients to walk up to Coopers’ doors with a bag of money and a blank piece of paper for us to dictate how we will work together. That said, RFPs can be an obstacle between a firm and the client, making it hard for both parties to evaluate whether we’re a match.

From a consultant’s perspective, here are ten recommendations for making an RFP a highly effective tool for finding the perfect design and strategy partner:

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From a consultant’s perspective, here are ten recommendations for making an RFP a highly effective tool for finding the perfect design and strategy partner.

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15 years, 5 months and 8 days

After many inspiring years, I am leaving Cooper. In this blogpost, I will reflect on my time at Cooper, and the powerful and formative experiences I've had here.

Before I came to Cooper (for the second time)*, my all-time longest stay at a job was 18 months. When I ran out of steam or patience, I found a new job, a new group of mentors, a new set of problems. My wandering stopped when I came to Cooper in April 2000. The work never got old. Mentors surrounded me. Clients with really complicated problems trusted me, and inspired me to do great work. New teammates arrived with exotic backgrounds, and injected divergent ideas into my process.

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After many inspiring years, I am leaving Cooper. In this blogpost, I reflect on my time at Cooper, and the powerful and formative experiences I've had here. 

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How to Design & Lead a Brand Experience Workshop in 6 Steps

Most stakeholders aren’t versed in the language of branding. That’s dangerous because word of mouth and first-hand experience have more of an effect on user love than celebrity endorsements or well-toned advertisements. Branding is more important than ever. How do you get stakeholders into productive conversations about it?

Problem: Finding the brand through trial and error

You could take the trial-and-error tack: just make stuff to see how they react, and go through round after round of presentation and feedback, each time learning a little bit more about what the brand is supposed to be. But this is expensive, tedious, and demoralizing. It’s like hacking away at a beehive to make a sculpture. You end up with a lot of stings.

Solution: Get those brand attributes out and vetted with a Brand Experience Workshop

Cooper has faced this challenge with its clients head on for 5 years with a workshop to solve this problem. It’s fun and works like a charm. Here’s an introduction to how it works, followed by some tips and tricks to making them awesome.

A Brand Experience Workshop in 6 Steps

The workshop should feel pretty magical to the participants, and of course that takes some work on your part, but it’s worth it. Find below the key six steps.

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The Designer's Lifeblood

A portfolio is the designer’s lifeblood—both a record of accomplishments and an implicit promise of quality. It’s also a sales pitch, a way to help others imagine how our work could apply to their problem. We want prospective clients to look at our body of work and think: This is how great my product could be.

As we sat down to re-think how we talk about what we’ve done in the past, and what we can offer in the future, we came to the realization that the work isn’t only about us. Yes, we’re proud of what we deliver to clients, but the truth is that the work we do is just the beginning of a client’s journey. After the applause and the handshakes and the goodbyes, our clients still have a business to run and competitors to best and industries to reinvent. Their success is not guaranteed, but we aim to give them a fighting chance.

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A portfolio is the designer’s lifeblood—both a record of accomplishments and an implicit promise of quality. It’s also a sales pitch, a way to help others imagine how our work could apply to their problem. We want prospective clients to look at our body of work and think: This is how great my product could be.As we sat down to [...]

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Cooper + Studio Dental: Shining a Spotlight On Service Design

How service design helped this startup learn to tackle their business step-by-step. 

As part of our continuing mentorship program at Rock Health, Cooper teamed up with Studio Dental co-founders Dr. Sara Creighton and Lowell Caulder to help them disrupt the dental industry with their mobile dental service. The startup gained early support from a successful $40K Indiegogo campaign, and for Cooper, this project has been a great opportunity to demonstrate the value of service design.

"If I were to put a finger on the biggest ah ha moment, it was probably, “Oh, services are designed!”

- Lowell Caulder, co-founder, Studio Dental

In this conversation, the co-founders share how and why Studio Dental was born, and they reveal an "ah ha" moment or two, including the discovery that the impact of service design is everywhere, and central to any industry’s success.

Dr Sara Creighton and Lowell Caulder, founders of Studio Dental

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How service design helped this startup learn to tackle their business step-by-step. As part of our continuing mentorship program at Rock Health, Cooper teamed up with Studio Dental co-founders Dr. Sara Creighton and Lowell Caulder to help them disrupt the dental industry with their mobile dental service. The startup gained early support from a successful $40K Indiegogo campaign, and for [...]

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8 teams. 3 designers. 1 mission.

In established professional sports, technology often seems like an afterthought, applied like a band-aid, forgotten entirely, or employed in unimaginative ways. Early this April, a start-up league called the National Pro Grid League approached Cooper with a new challenge - to help them introduce a new sport that has integrated technology from the start. Cooper has been working closely with the NPGL to design the fan experience, through interactive tools, infographics and Jumbotron graphics.

Working with the NPGL gave us the opportunity to flex our design muscles on a project that involved crafting the physical and digital fan experience. We’ve just had our first major user testing opportunity and we’ve walked away with a few lessons. Here’s what we’ve learned so far.

Working on this project has helped me remember that Interaction Designers need lots of tools within reach.

- Brendan Kneram, Interaction Designer

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In established professional sports, technology often seems like an afterthought, applied like a band-aid, forgotten entirely, or employed in unimaginative ways. Early this April, a start-up league called the National Pro Grid League approached Cooper with a new challenge - to help them introduce a new sport that has integrated technology from the start. Cooper has been working closely with [...]

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No Cheap Seats: Designing the Fan Experience

Remember when you first began to learn the rules of a game? That’s when you began to join a new family, one that can span generations, languages, and distances. In some cases, this family defines part of who you are. You’re able to form instant bonds when you see someone with the same jersey and immediately question the judgement of someone who rooted for the rival. When that happens, you’ve committed. You’re a fan.

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Remember when you first began to learn the rules of a game? That’s when you began to join a new family, one that can span generations, languages, and distances. In some cases, this family defines part of who you are. You’re able to form instant bonds when you see someone with the same jersey and immediately question the judgement of [...]

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