Posts about Design in organizations


From CX to CVX: Delivering and capturing value, by design

I often tell people that I’m passionate about designing value exchange, and I am often met with blank stares. Here’s why this little-known but powerful principle matters.  

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At every encounter between your brand, business, product, or service—across channels and over time—you have an opportunity to capture value from and/or deliver value to your customer. Value exchange is the idea that every encounter should involve both delivering and capturing value. Customer experience (CX) is actually the experience of value exchange. 

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The Secret to Giving Away Secrets

There’s a baker in San Francisco named Josey. He owns a popular bakery and coffee shop called The Mill. Josey’s bread is really good, but it’s also not cheap. Loaves sell for $7 and up. And they sell toast — with toppings like almond butter, cream cheese or house-made jam—for $4 a slice. This is a lot of money for toast, but it’s so good that people line up down the block to buy it. It is that good. 

Josey also wrote a cookbook teaching people new to breadmaking about how to make bread. He writes in an approachable, un-intimidating style. Joseys’ basic message:making bread is easy.  

In the same way Josey sells bread, and teaches people how to make bread—we do the same thing at the design consultancy where I work, Cooper. We sell our design services to clients. And as part of those projects, we also teach clients about design and our design process.

That sounds crazy.  

Why teach people how to design (or bake bread)? If you teach everyone how to design (or bake bread), then no one will buy your design services (or your bread). Well, the opposite actually is true.

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How design consulting is becoming more about teaching design (especially to non-designers)

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Nonprofit Boards Need UX Designers

This is my attempt to play matchmaker. Nonprofit Boards, I'd like you to introduce you to the user experience (UX) industry.

I came to Cooper, a leading UX design consultancy, after ten-plus years working in the philanthropy sector. Because of my background in fundraising, and interest in social justice, I have served on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Hispanic Health Council, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and currently Kristi Yamaguchi's Always Dream Foundation. I’ve also managed alumni association boards of directors at top universities, including UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and The George Washington University.

When there are vacancies, boards often default to recruiting individuals from a handful of professions: lawyers, fundraisers, marketers, accounting and finance types, and philanthropists. These are important backgrounds to have on a nonprofit board. However, one critically important perspective is missing from most boards: design professionals. 

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When there are vacancies, nonprofit boards often default to recruiting individuals from a handful of professions: lawyers, fundraisers, marketers, accounting and finance types, and philanthropists. These are important backgrounds to have on a nonprofit board. However, one critically important perspective is missing from most boards: design professionals. 

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The Roles Trilogy

Modern product teams consist of three key groups working together—Design, Development, and Product Management. It’s surprising how many companies struggle, simply because they don’t recognize the need for all three to work on equal footing but with clear lines of responsibility. Putting expectations in place makes all three groups more effective, allows each to do the job they’re best at, and ultimately results in a thoughtful, well-constructed, kick-ass product. 

So let me tell you about your job.

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Modern product teams consist of three groups working together: Design, Development, and Product Management. Let me tell you how to do your job.

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1DocWay: Increasing access to psychiatric care

We’ve been chatting with some of the startup founders we’ve met through Rock Health. They’ve offered us an inside look into how they’re tackling some of the biggest challenges in healthcare. Now we’re offering you a peek behind the curtain. 

Company: 1DocWay

Founders: Danish Munir, Samir Malik, and Mubeen Malik

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We’ve been chatting with some of the startup founders we’ve met through Rock Health. They’ve offered us an inside look into how they’re tackling some of the biggest challenges in healthcare. 

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A message from Alan and Sue Cooper

User experience leaders,

It is our great pleasure to share with you the exciting news that Cooper has acquired Catalyst Group, a user experience design firm in New York City. Founded 17 years ago, Catalyst Group is an exceptional team of skilled designers, researchers, and strategists led by Nick Gould and Jon Mysel.

As the world of digital products explodes, the expectations of users climb apace, and there is simply no room in the marketplace for a product that can’t deliver a great experience. Cooper understands your need for a strategic partner with the wisdom, experience, tools, and perspective to help you stay on top in a crowded and competitive world.

This new union strengthens Cooper in many ways. We add fresh talents and capabilities in the fields of high quality user experience design, product strategy, design thinking, service design, product management, and user research, both pure and applied. We are infused with new experiences, new talent, and new character and, of course, we are geographically closer to our clients in New York, the Eastern US, and Europe.

At a time when many companies are building in-house design teams, Cooper believes that by remaining independent we play a critical role that internal teams cannot. Our independence gives us an outside point of view, and the perspective to make it work for you. As outsiders, we never shrink from the tough conversations that can move a business forward.  

Our brilliant new teammates, now also called “Cooper,” stand ready to serve from their office in Manhattan, giving you the same superb quality you have come to value from our San Francisco office.  

- Sue & Alan 

Cooper acquires New York based UX Design firm Catalyst Group.  

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Transforming Customer Experience with Journey Mapping

A customer journey map is a versatile tool that can serve many purposes: mapping how a current customer experience unfolds over time, planning the orchestration of a future experience across touchpoints, or uncovering business opportunities in the form of unmet customer needs. We’ve developed a new journey mapping canvas that can handle all three of the goals above, and we’d love to invite you (yes you!) to try it out. 

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A customer journey map is a versatile tool that can serve many purposes: mapping how a current customer experience unfolds over time, planning the orchestration of a future experience across touchpoints, or uncovering business opportunities in the form of unmet customer needs. We’ve developed a new journey mapping canvas that can handle all three of the goals above, and we’d love to invite you (yes you!) to try it out.

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If Culture Is Character, What Are Your Organization’s Distinguishing Marks?

Getting to know the culture of Beezwax -- a custom web, mobile and  database solutions firm

 

Interview with Julian Nadel, President and Founder

At Cooper, we’re interested in how design tools and methods can be used to shape inspired work cultures. In that vein, this blog post is the first in a series of exploratory interviews to learn tips and tricks from other companies. If you, your team or organization would benefit from a day away from the office to explore how to evolve your work culture, join us for our next Designing Culture workshop on Wednesday, Dec. 10 in San Francisco. Or, we can bring the workshop to your turf. For ongoing work culture inspiration, also check out our #DesigningCulture topics page on the Cooper Journal.

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Getting to know the culture of Beezwax -- a custom web, mobile and database solutions firm Interview with Julian Nadel, President and FounderAt Cooper, we’re interested in how design tools and methods can be used to shape inspired work cultures. In that vein, this blog post is the first in a series of exploratory interviews to learn tips and tricks [...]

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User Research Beyond Usability Testing

Each week at Cooper we get numerous inquiries about usability testing services. We love this! It is incredibly satisfying to help our clients uncover usability concerns with real users and, better yet, help them strategize about how to improve their digital products.

But, our user research services go far beyond basic usability testing. In this post, we'll share some new and interesting user research services that may help you overcome a hurdle in your product's design.

 

Q: How do I learn who is coming to my site?

To understand the basics of who is visiting your site, we suggest a site intercept survey. We place a snippet of Javascript on your site that will show a pop-up to each visitor. These visitors are invited to answer a few questions about who they are, why they’re visiting and what their experience is like, usually in exchange for a chance to win a prize.

Benefits of this type of user research:
  • Quick and easy. These kinds of surveys are easy to roll out. All they require from you are a discussion with us about what you'd like to learn most about your users, and the placement of some code on your site.
  • Provides insight about your site's users and their expectations. These surveys can provide valuable information about your site's audience, including their demographics, psychographics and technographics. The surveys also allow your visitors to provide feedback about any parts of your site they find difficult to use.
  • Useful as recruitment for other user research. Are you considering in-depth user research techniques in your project? Site intercept surveys can be a fantastic way to reach participants for later user research activities.

 

Q: How do I make a website user experience that's already working fairly well even better?

If you have an existing website and just want to fine-tune, consider using site intercept interviews. In this process we put a tiny snippet of code on your site that prompts site visitors with an invitation to participate in live research.

That's right, participants are essentially asked, "Can we call you in the next 5 minutes and watch you use this website?" We call participants, ask them to share their screens with us, and follow them as they perform the tasks they originally came to the site for. And, if you’re skeptically asking yourself, “Do people actually agree to this?”, they sure do. We’ve watched people do a variety of things, from shopping for clothes to finding a doctor.

Benefits of this type of user research:

  • Real tasks. Unlike lab-based usability testing, this kind of research has no imposed script or pre-determined tasks for users to do. Whatever users came to your site to do, that's what we watch them do. Thus, we see users performing a lot of different tasks on the site, several of which we might never have dreamed up for a lab-based study. This allows us to explore nooks and crannies of a site that are having a big impact on the site's user experience, unbeknownst to anyone.
  • Real-life environments. Unlike in an artificial lab environment, this kind of research allows us to connect with users in their natural environments, complete with real web browsers and real distractions. The other day we got to speak to a mother using Internet Explorer 8 who was watching over her baby at the same time as using the site. Talk about real life!

 

Q: How does my online experience compare to my brick-and-mortar store experience?

A client of ours recently came to us with this question; we recommended a large variety of user research activities to get the true answer, with one of the most interesting being store shadowing. With store shadowing, we've been visiting our client's brick-and-mortar stores and asking shoppers if we can observe them while they shop, make purchases and returns. This allows us to identify qualities of the offline shopping experience that could be translated online, as well as better understand customer shopping behaviors across channels.

Benefits of this type of user research:

  • Going to the source. We can use a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques to hone an online experience, but if brick-and-mortar stores are out-selling a website or app, the best way to learn why is to go straight to the source: the stores themselves!

 

Q: Which design option works better? 

If you're trying to narrow down design options, consider using a remote unmoderated usability study. In these studies we still evaluate the success of designs with real users, but we do it without a moderator (as opposed to a regular usability test, which includes the use of a moderator).

Participants are given tasks to complete online, and we ask them survey questions after each task to assess their success and comprehension of what they just did.  We can also glean useful information for each task like the average time spent, where people are clicking on each page (using heatmaps), and the various paths people are taking through the website.

Using this technique, we can economically scale up the number of participants who see a design, and be completely confident in the results. Instead of 12 participants seeing your design, we can get hundreds if we want to! We can even have participants video themselves while evaluating a site, meaning we can see where people are having difficulties as well as understand why.

But I can just do an A/B test, you say! This is true, but building out versions of pages can be laborious and expensive. A/B testing also fails to provide information on why one design is fairing better than another.

Benefits of this type of user research:

  • Power in numbers. We can tell you which design is superior to the rest, based on any number of criteria, with statistical significance.
  • The best of quantitative and qualitative. When combined with video of participants, this technique can provide the best of both worlds.

As the inquiries come in, the new research methods keep rolling in with them. One of the most exciting parts of being a consultant is getting to work with a variety of companies on a whole host of problems to be solved. We get to take something we learned with one client during a meeting in the morning and completely rethink how it might be applied to a project that we’re discussing later that afternoon.

If you have a research issue that’s been on your mind, or you have a question that you don't know how to answer about your digital product, give us a call. We can’t promise that we’ll be able to address every concern that you have, but we do promise straightforward answers on what we can do and innovative techniques to get you the most valuable feedback.

User research services go far beyond basic usability testing. In this post, we'll share some new and interesting user research services that may help you overcome a hurdle in your product's design.

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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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