Finalists for the Interaction Awards

We are thrilled that our work with the National Pro Grid League was selected as a Finalist for the Interaction Awards in the category of “Engaging”.

The NPGL is a startup sports league that connected with Cooper in the Spring of 2014 with the goal of building their league with design and technology at its core and envisioning how fans engage with athletes, teams, and “smart” sports leagues.

You can take a peek behind the Cooper curtain and see how we approached this awesome service design challenge in these blog posts about the design challenge and our takeaways.

Now we’re just keeping our fingers crossed for the Interaction15 Conference in San Francisco!

Easy win: Twitter

Being an interaction designer means you’re aware of improvements that can be made in the things you use every day. This one is about the notifications in Twitter’s iPhone app. Hey, Twitter! Here’s an easy win.

So you’re on your iPhone when it buzzes in your hand. Hey, neat! A Twitter somethingorother. You open the app, only to see that there are no notifications for your current Twitter profile.

That’s cool. It must be for one of the other Twitter profiles you use. So you open the list of profiles only to see…nothing. No hint of where this little tweet of goodness awaits you.

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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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Design Fundamentals: 3 Key Practices for Building Your Own Design Process

A strong design process is the cornerstone of creating a great user experience. But finding one that’s right for your company isn’t easy. Each organization is different, and adapting a process to the specific constraints you face is a huge challenge, especially in an organization that might still be a little uncomfortable with design.

The human-centered visual design process we follow and teach at Cooper, based on the three key practices below.

As a design theory nerd, I’ve had the opportunity to explore a lot of different design methodologies. Though they can vary greatly, a few key practices have emerged that seem to drive every methodology I’ve looked at. Approaching design in terms of these individual practices, rather than as an end-to-end process, can help you to integrate human-centered design into your organization in a more fluid way. Smaller and more incremental changes driven by these practices, rather than a complete overhaul, are a great way to begin building a design-centered organization without upending the current system.

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About Face 4 diagrams, for you!

As part of its support for instructors using About Face in classrooms, Cooper is pleased to provide a PowerPoint deck of diagrams from the work in a Creative Commons 4.0 BY-ND license. What does that license mean to you? You are free to use all or part of this deck and share for any purpose as long as you do not modify the content, and include the attributions at the bottom of the slides. Drop it into decks, share amongst colleagues, and of course, if you have any questions, please drop us a line via education@cooper.com.

Note that we didn’t try to situate the slides in a larger context of meaning (that’s up to you) but the page numbers have been noted on each slide so you can reference that section of the text.

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Revolutionizing the Patient Experience

The UX Boot Camp: Emessence, November 18-21 in San Francisco.

A guest post by Emessence Co-Founders Ryan Bloom and Raman Talwar

“I find myself asking ‘How will I feel today?’ just about every day.”
-Christie, patient with Multiple Sclerosis

Christie’s experience with Multiple Sclerosis isn’t unusual. Many patients describe the disease as unpredictable, debilitating and painful. We recently started our company, Emessence, in an effort to enable something unprecedented: symptom-free management of MS. That’s a tall order, and we have our work cutout for us.

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JuanSpotters late night commercial

What else do you do when your car breaks down, miles from nowhere, and you find a creaking cabin that is empty but for a dusty couch and an honest-to-goodness 19″ Sony Tabletop television set? How is this thing still working? Who’s still broadcasting over airwaves?

Well, you don’t want to go wandering around about out there in the dark. It’s kind of creepy around here, and anyone could be lurking outside. You brush off the cushions and sit down. Was that creak from this old couch? Must have been. Well, let’s see what’s on at this hour…

JuanSpotters is a Cooper Halloween artifact, created around the persona of Juan Espinoza, and is an iteration JuanSpotters from 2012’s Interaction Design for Monsters. This year’s ghost busters are…

  • Chris Noessel
  • Cameron Winchester
  • Kathryn Estocapio
  • (and our headless ghost) Alex Mandel
  • (Cinematographer and crewperson) Benjamin Remington

Special shout-out to Rohan Malpani, who was to be our Billy Mays until time ran out on his internship before shooting.

Why Design Documentation Matters

At Cooper we design products that empower and delight the people who use them. Design documentation is integral to our process because it communicates the design itself, the rationale for decisions we made, and the tools for clients to carry on once the project wraps up.

Good design documentation doesn’t just specify all the pixel dimensions and text styles and interaction details (which it must). It can also tell the high-level story, stitch together the big picture, and get internal stakeholders excited about the vision. One of our primary goals as outside consultants is to build consensus and momentum around the design—documentation can speak to executives as well as developers. After all, we’re usually leaving a lot of the hard work of design implementation on the client’s doorstep, and building great software starts with getting all the stakeholders on board.

Design documentation should create trust and provide consistency for future iterations of the design thinking. We believe it’s important to give the rationale and context behind design decisions. Answering the “why?” of design helps new team members get on board down the road, prevents wasted effort later when old questions get rehashed, and provides the starting point for prioritization and roadmap discussions. This facet of the process is too often overlooked or omitted for expediency, but trust us: clients will thank you later.

The best design documentation gives the client a unified design language, a framework for talking about the design, and a platform for improving the design over time. Static documentation is quickly becoming a thing of the past—we’re always looking for new documentation techniques and delivery mechanisms because we want to equip our clients with the most approachable and actionable information possible. Delivering design documentation marks the beginning of the client’s journey, not the end.

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