UX Boot Camp with Marketplace Money

Old School Radio Meets the Digital Age

Take a look inside Cooper’s June, 2013 UX Boot Camp with American Public Media’s Marketplace Money radio show, where students explored the next horizon of audio programming—a paradigm shift from broadcast to conversation-based platforms.

The Challenge
Students rolled up their sleeves to help the show respond to the trend away from traditional radio by finding the right mix of alternative distribution platforms. Marketplace Money came equally ready to take a radical departure from their current format in order to create a new model that redefines the roles of host, show, and audience in the digital age. To reach this goal, students focused on designing solutions that addressed three big challenges:

  1. Engage a new, younger audience that is tech savvy, and provide easy access to content via new platforms, such as podcasts, satellite radio shows, and the Internet.
  2. Inspire audience participation and contribution. Facilitate conversations and inspire people to share their personal stories so that listeners can learn from each other.
  3. Design ways for the host to carry an influential brand or style that extends beyond the limits of the show and engage with the audience around personal finance, connecting with listeners in ways that are likeable, useful, and trustworthy, making the topic of personal finance cool, fun and approachable.

At the end of the four-day Boot Camp, student teams presented final pitches to Marketplace Money, and a panel of experienced Cooper designers offered feedback on their ideas and presentations.In the following excerpts from each day, you can test your own sensory preferences for receiving content as you see, hear and read how design ideas evolved at the Boot Camp, inspiring new relationships between people and radio.

Marketplace Money Class

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Explore New Interaction Paradigms at UX Boot Camp: Wikimedia

Advance and apply your UX design skills to a meaningful real-world problem in this intensive, hands-on workshop


This September, join Wikimedia, Cooper, and design-thinkers from around the world as we find new ways to spread knowledge through mobile Wikipedia. In this four-day workshop, you’ll use new UX skills to make mobile content contribution more approachable, intuitive, and less reliant on traditional input methods like typing. If you’ve wanted an excuse to explore new interaction paradigms and stay ahead of the design pack, this is your chance. Best of all, you get to do all of that in the creative classroom setting of Alan and Sue Cooper’s 50-acre ranch in Petaluma, CA.

Register now: UX Boot Camp: WikimediaSeptember 17-20, Petaluma, CA

What’s in it for you?

  • Learn new interaction techniques and approaches under the guidance of industry leaders, including Alan Cooper
  • Learn how to think through a problem from both a design and business perspective, rather than blindly applying methods by rote.
  • Energize your practice and make new connections by working on a real-world challenge with peers from around the world.
  • Beef up your portfolio with a smart, new design concept
  • Pick up leadership and collaboration skills that will help you better navigate your work environment.

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It’s Never Just a Website Redesign: Transforming Business Through Design

At Cooper’s UX Boot Camp, facilitated by Kendra Shimmell, Stefan Klocek, and Teresa Brazen, held between March 25th and March 28th at Monkey Ranch in Petaluma, CA, Fair Trade USA looked to participants for ideas around how to raise awareness of their mission and inspire consumers to purchase Fair Trade products.

Fair Trade USA enables sustainable development and community empowerment by cultivating a more equitable global trade model through certifying and promoting Fair Trade products. Their work benefits everyone from farmers and workers to consumers, industry and the environment, and yet only 20-30 percent of Americans even know what Fair Trade means. Why? The issues are complex, but as students dug into this problem they identified key factors behind this disconnect, including a lack of brand awareness of the business case for Fair Trade, low brand adoption, and limited Fair Trade product presence in stores.

From those explorations, the following goals emerged:

  • Motivate and inspire brands to adopt and evangelize Fair Trade practices.
  • Put more Fair Trade products in front of consumers.
  • Build “pop culture” awareness of Fair Trade to get more brands to buy into the movement.

To get there, student teams went beyond the initial concept of a website redesign and took on the bigger questions that lead to business transformation. For a look behind the scenes as the teams approached this challenge, check out the following video filmed during the Fair Trade USA Boot Camp, and read more to take a look at the Fair Trade USA ecosystem model and what the students came up with in the pitch decks that follow.

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The Great UX Debate

Are designers responsible for the impact of their work upon human behavior?
Is it actually possible to create “connected” experiences across devices?
Do designers need to speed up, or do stakeholders need to slow down?

In January, Angel Anderson, Mikkel Michelsen, Robb Stevenson, Lou Lenzi, Donald Chestnut, and I poked and prodded at these topics during the Interaction 13 conference. About 500 people attended the debate, and they threw their own perspectives into the mix in the latter part of the conversation. Have a listen in the video below.

(And thanks to SapientNitro for the opportunity to meet such interesting people, expand my own perspective, and make use of what I learned on my high school debate team. Ha!)

Interaction13 – Day 1 Recap

Seeing some old friends at Ixd13!

Here are some of the programs Cooperistas attended on Monday at Interaction13.

Follow all of Interaction13 through daily recaps on the Cooper Journal. Here’s Day 2,
Day 3,
Day 4.

Smart & Beautiful: Designing Robots & Intelligent Machines

By Dr. Matthew Powers (Carnegie Mellon University)

We make robots that mimic human bodies to do the 3D jobs (dirty, dull, and dangerous – ex. strip mining), but there is so much more potential in intelligent machines than just this. As designers, we need to take a step back and think about the design implications of robots and intelligent machines working in our world.

We already have robots in our houses.

Nest learning thermostat is a robot. This product is a perfect example of cooperation between robotics and designers. it is intelligent and well designed so the user isn’t obligated to manually input data.

Call for action for Designers:

We need to move from solving robotics problems to solving problems with robotics.
Robotics provides tools. Design grounds robotics into practical problem and brings a more human approach to a field that is by definition inhuman

At the end of the talk, Dr. Powers threw out this doozy:

Will it be the role of designers, engineers, and/or policy-makers to decide the “ethics” of robots? Who decides how an automated car would make the choice between hitting a bus full of children or a pedestrian?

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Cast Your Vote

Polls are open for the People’s Choice Award for the shortlisted Interaction Awards! Check out the work that Cooper did with Practice Fusion’s EMR ipad app to help liberate doctors from their desktops.

To vote, all you need to do is go here, click on the grey sticker, register (or sign in), and then cast your vote!

If you’ll be in attendance at Interaction13, Director of Interaction Design Stefan Klocek will be available to demo the app and answer any questions.

Cooper’s holding it down with some other great events at Interaction13 too.

Sketchnoting IxDA 2012

We’re working on a larger post about the awesome IxDA 2012 in Dublin last week, but in the meantime, I wanted to chat separately about sketchnoting.

I’m a drawer, there’s no doubt about it. I can barely manage to consider a design problem before I’m reaching for a pen and paper, or my Tablet PC and a stylus and cranking open OneNote for an explanatory drawing or mind map. But that got taken to the next level when I attended “Visual Thinking Through Sketchnotes,” a workshop by MJ Broadbent & Eva-Lotta Lamm.

In it we covered the basics of sketching and then went further into what that means for capturing the complex ideas communicated in lectures and speeches. I was hooked, and challenged. I spent the next three days both enamored of the excellent ideas being presented (high marks on all four things I look for in presentations, nearly across the board), but also trying my new skills at sketchnoting. Here’s the whole set.

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Excerpts from an interview with Alan Cooper and Chris Noessel by Theory and Practice

While in Moscow, Alan and Chris were interviewed by Igor and Anton Gladkoborodov, who are with edutainment blog Theory and Practice to talk about education and learning in the modern world.

Alan and Chris with Theory and Practice

Theory and Practice began the interview with two large questions.

Igor Gladkoborodov
Igor Gladkoborodov:
In your blog you write a lot about the specifics of the post-industrial era. The new economy heavily influences all aspects of human life, and now we are entering an era of post-everything. I am most interested in the aspect of education, what can you say about the post-education era?

Anton GladkoborodovAnton Gladkoborodov: In the industrialized world, education was reduced mainly to the technology of working with a tool or a machine. Similarly, mental activity was usually reduced to a set of algorithms. Today, we need to raise another kind of worker, one that is more flexible and dynamic. However, modern education does not meet the requirements of modern times; it is still based on the principle of factories. What, in your opinion, needs to be done to education?

It’s a good, long conversation, and if you’re down with the Russian you can read the original at the Theory and Practice website. (Special thanks to our friends at Innova for providing the source translation for us.) Below we’ve excerpted some of the most interesting stuff, and arranged it so we don’t sound as jetlagged and meandering as we actually were.

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Can doctors and computers get along?

Practice Fusion, the leading provider of health records software for medical professionals, has published a nice recap of their user conference, Connect11, where Alan Cooper spoke about the role of interaction design in health care. Among the questions answered – “what do you get when you cross a computer with a doctor’s office?”

At the 13 minute mark, Stefan Klocek presents a prototype of Practice Fusion’s new iPad app.

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