A list of recent and upcoming talks by Cooperistas.
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Effective April 11, 2016, Nate Clinton has been named Managing Director, San Francisco at Cooper. Nate joined Cooper in 2012 as an Interaction Designer. According to Sue Cooper, Cooper’s Co-founder, “Nate is an outstanding designer, a strong client manager, and an effective relationship builder and spokesperson.” In his new role as Managing Director, San Francisco, Nate will manage the work of Cooper’s San Francisco studio. Nate is a graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.
Life at Cooper
Cooper recently brought back the Friday Afternoon Social Hour! Everyone enjoyed Suzy's seriously strong sangria and tasty tapas, and the great conversations in this all around good time. If this sounds like how you'd like to wrap up the work week, join us! We are currently looking for a Business Development Manager.
See more of our life at Cooper on our Tumbler.
Sketch 2.0 Released
*Download the sample .Sketch file from my Dribbble account.
Sketch 2.0 is a new Mac application designed to be what Adobe Fireworks has struggled to become: the defacto standard for interface design. With a toolset targeting the professional user interface and icon designer, Sketch seems to be headed down the right path.
Sketch is not without its issues and may not be mature enough to replace Photoshop or Fireworks as of the version 1 release; however it's an excellent start and well worth your time to checkout.
Several of us at Cooper are very excited by Sketch, so expect a more detailed review soon. In the meantime, checkout Sketch for yourself.
The Monoprice Graphics Tablet
*Video Monoprice Graphics Tablet line quality by Ray Frenden.
In the world of drawing tablets, there is Wacom and...umm...well...nobody else. That's what I thought before I read Ray Frenden's review of the inexpensive Monoprice graphic tablet "The Little Monoprice Graphics Tablet That Could."
With a starting price of under $50 for a 10X6.25 inch graphic drawing tablet, the Monoprice tablet seems too good to be true. After reading Ray's review and a quick twitter search of other Monoprice tablet users, I've become a believer and am seriously considering replacing my Wacom Bamboo tablet.
Checkout the Monoprice tablets for yourself; it just might save you a couple hundred bucks.
Stay up-to-date with your favorite web service feeds
If you're a Basecamp, Github, Dropmark, or Dribbble user, you might find Feeds interesting. Feeds lives in your menu bar monitoring your favorite web services, notifying you when new content is posted.
Dialoggs enters private beta
Dialoggs is a new web service that just entered it's private beta phase. Dialoggs describes it's self as a combination of Twitter, Facebook's privacy controls, and Tumbler's multimedia features.
Dialoggs allows you to follow people and send public and private messages just like in Twitter. What separates Dialoggs from Twitter, and what I'm most excited about, is Dialoggs ability to have long form conversations. Not having to worry about how many characters I have left? Priceless!
If your interested in learning more about Dialoggs, checkout "Introducing Dialoggs."
Interacting with media across multiple devices
With the rise of mobile devices, more and more I need to be able to move files from my desktop to my mobile devices. Apple, Google, and Microsoft, along with several other third parties, have developed solutions but nothing that delivers a truly seamless user experience. Interaction designer Ishac Betran, in his article "Watch This Ingenious UI Idea For Dragging Files From Your Phone To Computer" details an elegant seamless drag-n-drop solution.
iPad Keyboard Prototype
Another interesting concept is the "iPad Keyboard Prototype" created by Daniel Chase Hooper. The video demonstrates a simple, intuitive way for simplifying text editing on the iPad. Instead of tap-and-hold to edit text, the user can swipe the cursor around the text block to quickly edit the text.
App pick of the week: Track 8
Track 8 brings the Metro experience to your iPad in a slick music player, allowing you to browse your music in an immersive visual experience.
Life at Cooper Cooper recently brought back the Friday Afternoon Social Hour! Everyone enjoyed Suzy's seriously strong sangria and tasty tapas, and the great conversations in this all around good time. If this sounds like how you'd like to wrap up the work week, join us! We are currently looking for a Business Development Manager. See more of our life [...]
Upcoming CooperU Courses
Cooper UX Bootcamp: A Firsthand Account
New and Interesting
Sensubrush, a true painting experience for the iPad, combines a unique artist brush stylus with various painting and drawing apps to create beautiful artwork and sketches. The brush stylus makes it easy to paint or freeform sketch with lighter, more detailed strokes. Alternatively, you can close the brush end of the stylus and use the rubber stylus for a thicker stroke. Very useful.
Need some new fonts to freshen your typeface collection? Ten Dollar Fonts is a collection of, you guessed it, fonts that cost only $10 each! What a steal for these beautifully drawn faces. The visual designers at Cooper are loving it.
The Descriptive Camera works like a regular camera, except instead of spitting out a photo, it prints the metadata about the content of the photo. This is a really useful technology that can be eventually combined with current digital cameras, which only record metadata related to the camera's settings, location, date, and time. Imagine being able to search through an enormous library of images by the subject of the photo! This prototype prints out the metadata, but eventually the creator plans for it to be appended to the photograph on the fly, so it can be searchable later.
And the week of April 23 concludes with our very own, Mr. Alan Cooper, giving a talk at The Next Web Conference 2012 in Amsterdam. We can't wait to hear all the details.
Have a happy weekend!
New Hires! Cooper has expanded its force this week with two new hires, Nate Clinton and Nikki Knox. Nate Clinton comes to Cooper from Thomson Reuters, where he designed and developed software tools for investment professionals. In his past lives, he was an engineer and product manager for a successful Bay Area start-up (StarMine), as well as a research goon [...]
New Instagram iPad app Iris
Last week Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars and this week Iris an excellent new Instagram iPad app is released. Iris is a fun easy way to experience your Instagram photo's on the iPad. If your an Instagram user it's a must have.
Dropmark is a new web service that allow you to create and share collections. The collections can contain all types of media elements by using a simple drag and drop interface. Dropmark is designed to make easy for individuals to invite friends or colleges to the collections for quick and easy collaboration. Dropmark is a great collaboration tool for design teams who need to share mock-ups, documents or inspiration.
FoxTrot Pad Pack #1-3
FoxTrot created Bill Amend just released his comic strip to the iBooks store using the iBooks Author publishing tool Apple released earlier in the year. For $1.99 you can buy 1 of 3 Pad Packs. Each Pack contains about 100 strips that are designed for quick consumption.
The Rise of Interactive eBooks
With the popularity of the iPad and other tablets, we are on the cusp of a digital publishing revolution or at the very least a major reinvention on how digital content is published. Checkout UX Magazine great article on the Interactive eBook Apps: The Reinvention of Reading and Interactivity
The Smashing Book #3
I've always been a big fan of Smashing Books and the "Smashing Book #3" looks like it's going to be a good one. The book is slated to be released at the end of April so I've been pretty religiously watching for it's release.
If you're interested in learning how the cover was created, check out Veerle Pieters blog post. "The Smashing Book #3" cover design
Fontcase CS Plugin
The FontShop plugin (BETA) provides a simple way to try out any FontShop font directly inside your own artwork. The plugin allows designers to experiment with font variations, and to show different typographic options to their clients before actually purchasing anything.
New Instagram iPad app Iris Last week Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars and this week Iris an excellent new Instagram iPad app is released. Iris is a fun easy way to experience your Instagram photo's on the iPad. If your an Instagram user it's a must have. Download Iris - Follow on Twitter Dropmark Dropmark is [...]
Prototyping at Rock Health
This week, consultants from Cooper met with folks at RockHealth to discuss prototyping. Jim Dibble, Faith Bolliger, Peter Duyan, and Martina Maleike talked about tools available for creating both low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes. Prototypes are tools to foster communication around the proposed product. So, before deciding what type of prototype to build, you need to ask yourself who's the audience and what kind of communication do you want to foster?
Prototypes can be used to communicate your product vision to stakeholders, investors, or your internal team. Prototypes can also be used to gather information from users and potential users. And finally, you can use prototypes to prove to yourself that the interaction in your head actually makes sense when expressed digitally.
In any case, you want to prototype just enough to foster the conversation you want to have with your audience. Low-fidelity paper prototypes are great for gathering user feedback, especially if you want to let the audience know that your design is still relatively pliable. While you may want to use a high-fidelity prototype to give potential investors a clear sense of your product vision, you may be able to use a low-fidelity version to convey the vision to team members. We have found that building high-fidelity prototypes of small moments of complex interaction can be incredibly valuable for communicating with remote developers about design intent and technical feasibility.
Interface Origami by Jaun Sanchez
The basic idea behind Interface Origami is to get out of the digital space and create a physical prototype. This allows you to play with your concepts in the real world, helping to avoid usability pitfalls by experiencing your concept in real world context. It's a great way to explore ideas without worrying about pixels.
Check out Juan Sanchez great post about the concepts behind Interface Origami.
Prototyping on the iPad with Interface 2
Interface 2 is a great looking prototyping tool that has just been released for the iPad. Interface 2 allows you to create clickable, pixel perfect working prototypes on your iOS device using all the standard iOS components.
Beyond it's excellent toolset Interface 2 allows you to export your prototype as Xcode project that can be shared with your iOS developer. Potentially speeding up your project development time.
Start and Maintain an Asset Library
As an illustration major in college, my professor implored his students to start a reference library of interesting photos, textures, colors and whatever we found interesting. The idea was to create a massive library of photo references that you could refer back to if you ever need to draw a sports car or something along those lines.
As a visual designer I've continued that concept. Except instead of collecting reference photo's I've been maintain an asset library of Photoshop files, Fireworks files, icons, vectors, textures, brushes, swatches, fonts and what ever else I find useful. The idea is to create an asset library of elements that will speed up your workflow and save time, allowing you to spend more time designing.
* Pixa - New app for maintaining your asset library. Public beta.
I recommend every visual designer add an asset library to their toolkit. If you want to learn more about building your asset library check out Erin Nolan post: "Build your asset library today"
Procreate for the iPad
The new version of Procreate iPad app launched last night. I've only been able to play with it for a few hours but if it's not the best drawing experience on the iPad it's right at the top. It features new sketch and inking brushes that look and feel amazing. The smudge tool has also been and will allow you to rock some of those Brad Rigney techniques.
Need a Stylus for your iPad checkout: The best stylus for iPad by The Verge.
Icon Handbook by Jon Hicks
If you're interested in icon design, checkout "The Icon Handbook" by Jon Hicks. This book covers all the basic concepts of icon design and will give you an excellent icon design foundation. The "Icon Handbook" is well written and a easy read. Packed with little nuggets of useful information.
Pixelapse Visual version control done right
We are starting to see the rise of new cloud-based web services directed at creative professionals and one that I'm most excited about is Pixelapse.
Pixelapse address a real problem that visual designers have, version control. Pixelapse uses a visual version control system that will display thumbnails of your work as you progress through your normal workflow.
Similar to Dropbox Pixelapse uses an application to creates a Pixelapse folder on your mac. Once the Pixelapse folder is created everything within that folder will be synced to the cloud. Within the Pixelapse folder you can start working on photoshop, fireworks or illustration files. As you work and save you files normally Pixelapse will constantly sync those files to the cloud automatically creating new versions allowing you to revert to previous versions at anytime.
The other nice thing about Pixelapse is that you can invite people to review your files and make comments as you go. Great for working with clients or in a team environment. Pixelapse is currently in private beta, checkout their site for more information.
Portland/CreativeMornings - Aaron James Draplin
Finally, check out this great talk by James Draplin from draplin.com
"The DDC 50 Point Plan To Ruin/Save Your Career."
Prototyping at Rock Health This week, consultants from Cooper met with folks at RockHealth to discuss prototyping. Jim Dibble, Faith Bolliger, Peter Duyan, and Martina Maleike talked about tools available for creating both low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes. Prototypes are tools to foster communication around the proposed product. So, before deciding what type of prototype to build, you need to ask [...]
Spring 2012 brings with it a new addition to the Cooper family. Meet beautiful baby Eloise Parker Myers! We are beaming with joy for the proud new parents, Nick and Caroline Myers.
Cooper Spring Break ended with a bang last Friday, with an inter-office challenge to a game (or six) of a spring-breakers classic, Flip Cup. We came with our game faces, but our guests were a force to be reckoned with. Apparently the accountants had some secret skills in this department. Now that we have a team strategy and some practice under our belts, our next opponent may not be so lucky...
Meanwhile, our first-ever UX Bootcamp: Midwest during March 26-29 has received excellent reviews from its attendees. Big congratulations to our Cooper U directors Kendra Shimmell and Teresa Brazen for pulling together such a successful workshop!
A small group of designers, engineers, and product managers joined forces in Columbus, Ohio for our very first UX Bootcamp workshop and competition. They had four days to learn Cooper U's design methods, break into teams, and design mobile application concepts that would empower and inspire members of ClubRED (a young professional's volunteer group within the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus). The final concepts were presented to the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus, and Cooper U donated $1000 to the nonprofit in the name of the winning team (ClubRED Connect).
UX Bootcamp was developed in response to the need for practical design education programs in areas (USA and beyond) where technology and design are on the rise. We'll be cultivating more of these kinds of partnerships, looking for interesting new problems to solve that could have a real impact on local communities. Ultimately, we'd like to expand this team-based approach to real-world challenges globally.
You can find some great tweets from the students who attended by looking up #UXBootcamp on Twitter.
This week Glen Davis, Peter Duyan, and Jim Dibble facilitated a lecture on visual design, talk-show format, at Rock Health. Glen educated a group of non-designers about the principles of visual design and how to more effectively communicate with a design team. The lecture was very intimate, conversational, and even inspired a bit of educative debate. The discussion ended with Visual Design for Non-Designers, an exercise that challenged participants to sharpen their visual vocabulary and translate attributes into style studies.
Speaking of debate, a hot topic this week in the design community is AIGA: Unjustified. This article draws to focus an important issue in every designer's mind: evaluating and justifying the success of graphic design. With the evolution of the design profession, AIGA refocuses its renowned annual design competitions around a common goal: justifying a project's success with the client, not only it's level of ingenuity, creativity, and innovation as a piece of graphic design. The article discusses an age-old dispute between elevating the quality and creativity of design itself and proving the value and profit of a design to a client. One can argue that there are appropriate formats for each type of criticism. Paula Scher, partner at Pentagram and highly-valued member of AIGA, provides a very apt piece of advice, "The original goals of AIGA were sound. Our goal is to raise the level and the expectation of the level of design in our society. Stay there."
On a lighter note, even international travel and hectic research schedules cannot keep our IxD ladies from blowing off some steam. From the streets of Detroit, Christina Worsing asks, "Have you done your 20 today?"
Who doesn't enjoy a quick game of Angry Birds on their commute? "Stupid" games have recently reached a high level of popularity and accessibility, and they have been an effective way to relieve the stress of the everyday grind for years. Check out this stupid game that allows you to shoot and kill banner ads! Alas, Tetris will forever be my "stupid game" of choice.
Futuristic Google Glass is an inspiring concept that aims to liberate users from staring at a screen, instead putting them back in the moment with a real-time augmented reality interface housed in a pair of eyeglasses. This idea could open up a multitude of new possibilities that could be a game-changer in the near future. Or, it could be the final nail in the coffin of carefree, serendipitous experience. We'll soon find out, anyway.
Happy Spring everyone, and have a great weekend!
Spring 2012 brings with it a new addition to the Cooper family. Meet beautiful baby Eloise Parker Myers! We are beaming with joy for the proud new parents, Nick and Caroline Myers. Cooper Spring Break ended with a bang last Friday, with an inter-office challenge to a game (or six) of a spring-breakers classic, Flip Cup. We came with our [...]
And so they arrived at Cooper this week, a smiling, laughing mass of foam-hats and face-sized sunglasses celebrating the youth culture of Spring Break 1974 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Oh, the days of 10 cent beers and lobster tans.
You didn't expect an innovative design firm in San Francisco to have fun with "Friday jeans," do you?
The correct response to this question from our "Legends of Cooper Jeopardy!" lunch: "What is IBM?"
Wait, this is that kind of beach?
Spring Break, Fort Lauderdale (Sun-Sentinel)
And like the nerdy kids who studied over Spring Break and had perfect attendance, there were plenty of Cooperistas out there changing the world. Take, Chris Noessel, and his delivery of "500 to 1: A Cooper Case Study" at IA Summit:
Or how about Cooper's UX bootcamp? A perfect combination of Spring Break fun and academic overachievement:
Spring Break, Fort Lauderdale (Sun-Sentinel)
No, no, wrong image.
Yes, actually, that one. And this one too:
You can read all about it here.
Some startups of Rock Health, looking to join the fun, and gain some wisdom from the Seniors dropped by for some advise on all things UI, software, interaction, apps and apps.
We've also been going around to other campuses, in search of some future Spring Breakers. Faith Bolliger and Karen Lemen are recruiting over at IIT in Illinois, and Peter Duyan and Stefan Klocek are recruiting at CMU in Pittsburgh.
Before you go, while we dream about what might be next for Amazon's warehouses...
...we thought we'd ask you to join in the fun of our Spring Break fun with a few of the "Legends of Cooper Jeopardy!" questions.
Happy Spring Break!
And so they arrived at Cooper this week, a smiling, laughing mass of foam-hats and face-sized sunglasses celebrating the youth culture of Spring Break 1974 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Oh, the days of 10 cent beers and lobster tans. You didn't expect an innovative design firm in San Francisco to have fun with "Friday jeans," do you? The correct response [...]
It was a very exciting week at Cooper last week. So much to celebrate. First, we want to congratulate and celebrate with Doug LeMoine and his wife Mara on the birth of their son. We can't wait to meet this little man!
Clearly, Doug wasn't able to give his talk at SXSW as planned but Alan and Nick both spoke at SXSW and contributed significantly. Nick's talk, The Visual Interface Is Now Your Brand, was so popular and over capacity (of course!) that our own Alan Cooper couldn't get in.
At Cooper, we don't sweat the small stuff, but we do work to keep our cool over the big stuff. Those of us who weren't at SXSW were lucky to host some of the brightest and most talented design muscle coming out of CMU design programs. We wish them luck with the rest of their year and, given their aspirations, we know you'll be seeing them soon. Come back to Cooper soon!
Speaking about making a difference in the world, we want to congratulate Pipette and RockHealth. Pipette, a start-up who participated in RockHealth's first class, was recently acquired by Ginger.io, an MIT Media Lab spin off. Congratulations to Pipette; the road to recovery is about to get a whole lot smoother for patients where Pipette is involved! And Congratulations to RockHealth for providing to be a successful incubator for start-ups in healthcare. Because of you, everyone's future is a little better and perhaps longer!
It was a very exciting week at Cooper last week. So much to celebrate. First, we want to congratulate and celebrate with Doug LeMoine and his wife Mara on the birth of their son. We can't wait to meet this little man! Clearly, Doug wasn't able to give his talk at SXSW as planned but Alan and Nick both spoke [...]
Sure we're designers, but what do we like to do for fun? This week, we filled our spare time with coaching our friends, listening to thought-provoking talks, beaming with pride for our clients, discovering cool new tools and sources of inspiration, debating photo philosophy, laughing out loud, and gearing up for another round of teaching. Here's what we've been up to:
We kicked off our first session of office hours with the new Rock Health crew. Attendance was high, with seven teams coming in for 1:1 sessions with a Cooperista, each tackling a specific type of problem based on the team's needs. More on these great sessions next week...
We took a break from speaking this week (in solidarity with Alan, Doug, and Nick as they put finishing touches on their upcoming talks at SXSW) and instead doubled down on listening, checking out some inspiring thinkers on the subjects of storytelling and alternative education.
First up was an inspiring talk at CCA from the very talented Jonathan Harris, creator of Cowbird and We feel fine. We love this guy; how do we make more of him in the world? If you haven't looked around in cowbird.com, you should. One of our fave quotes of his is: "I think we're going to want more nourishment from our technology." And a key question he asked we'll strive to answer while we design is: "What's the quality of a human I am trying to amplify through this technology?"
Next up, author and Forbes blogger Michael Ellsberg came by our offices to talk about our shared interest in education and brainstorm opportunities to collaborate to further that mission. Later that night, Michael spoke at the Commonwealth Club, expanding on his vision for alternative education that focuses on developing practical success skills for the real world, as opposed to "college skills". This is the theme of his new book, "The Education of Millionaires"
As an added bonus, after the talk Michael introduced Kendra and Teresa to his father, Pentagon Papers activist Daniel Ellsberg, who proceeded to charm and dazzle them with scarf tricks. It's not every day that you get to participate in magic tricks with "the most dangerous man in America"!
We're like proud parents when we see our work getting praise out in the world, so we were thrilled to hear that Practice Fusion's iPad EMR prototype got noticed at HIMSS last week: "I got to use it and was very impressed with the design and approach to mobile. The app strips out anything not essential to physicians seeing patients and charting encounters. Basically the iPad app is not simply a mobile version of the EMR -- it is mobile clinical tool specific to patient encounters. The rest of the functionality of Practice Fusion (scheduling, PM, etc,) is left to the Web/desktop version. The app itself flows like the Twitter iPad app, with expanding and collapsing frames all built specifically for touch experience."
If infographics are your thing, you'll want to check out what Chris gushingly referred to as "The most beautiful annual report concept I've seen in a long while." And don't miss the buzz-worthy IL-Intelligence in Lifestyle, the monthly magazine of Il Sole 24 ORE, Italy's leading financial daily. This video interview with Art director, Francesco Franchi shows off some of their handiwork, and you can see more at his portfolio site.
On the topic of public good, our mouths were watering over news of the nation's first food forest, a public park in Seattle planted with hundreds of kinds of edibles, from pears to walnuts, all available for public consumption. And we put our money where our mouths are with Redesign Democracy, a Kickstarter project to redesign voting ballots. Want a group who's investigating grassroots, affordable, open-source biotech? Yeah, the Bay Area's got that.
We gained efficiencies and drew inspiration from tools like Dropmark, Memolane, and Readability's new mobile apps, checked out a cool Windows Desktop UI concept, and read some thought-provoking articles on new visual proportions for the iOS user interface and hidden gems in UI details.
We've been known to "trade perspectives" on all kinds of topics around the office, so we were interested to discover this "rant" and subsequent commentary on the ethics of instagram for journalistic photos, which called to mind a recent spirited debate between Stefan and Chris on the topic of post processing photos. Purists like Chris argue that it alters the image, compromising the authenticity. Others, like Stefan, think all tools distort the original and authentic, so you might as well make it look good. Feel free to declare your allegiance to team Chris or team Stefan in the comments.
We cracked up over this clip from Stephen Colbert, which serves as a cautionary tale on the perils of trying to control your brand too tightly.
Want more Cooper goodness? Come to Cooper U!
Sure we're designers, but what do we like to do for fun? This week, we filled our spare time with coaching our friends, listening to thought-provoking talks, beaming with pride for our clients, discovering cool new tools and sources of inspiration, debating photo philosophy, laughing out loud, and gearing up for another round of teaching. Here's what we've been up [...]
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