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.

Shortlisted for the Interaction Awards

We are thrilled that our work with the National Pro Grid League was for the Interaction Awards Shortlist 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.

The shortlist is just the beginning. Next the Interaction Awards Jury will narrow the shortlist down to 4-5 finalists for each category. Then winners will be announced at the Interaction15 Conference in San Francisco.

Easy Win: Photoshop

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 crop tool found in the most popular digital image manipulation software, Photoshop. Hey, Adobe! Here’s an easy win.

Easywin01.png

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Pair Design and the Power of Thought Partnership

From Lennon & McCartney to Holmes & Watson, popular culture is teeming with examples of creative pairs. When we think about famous creative partnerships like Eames & Eames, or creative problem solvers like Mulder & Scully, what’s special about them?

In addition to their individual genius, what makes these pairs so effective (and what we’re talking about when we advocate Pair Design) is that these are true thought partnerships, in which each person has…​

  • shared ownership of what they’re creating
  • shared responsibility for making it great
  • shared risks and rewards if they succeed or fail

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On the Road to Cooperlandia

Cooper U Offers Special 2-Day IxD Training in Portland

This fall from November 6 to November 7 Cooper U is excited to be bring a special 2-day training to Portland, Oregon.

What’s Inside This Training?

Grounded in Cooper’s foundational Interaction Design training, this condensed 2-day course is a chance to take a few steps back from the details of design and absorb a higher-level view of Cooper’s practices and techniques. During this course you’ll define the qualities of an ideal user experience and discuss why human needs come first and technology second. You’ll envision products and services that are financially viable, technically feasible, and delightful to your customers, and you’ll understand what goes into Cooper’s secret sauce to make that magic happen.

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Disrupting Healthcare – The UX Boot Camp: Emessence

Exploring ways to support patients with the neurodegenerative disease Multiple Sclerosis.

Imagine being diagnosed with a volatile disease that gets worse the longer it goes untreated. Now imagine a doctor telling you that the available drug therapy is only effective 40% of the time, and they won’t know if it’s actually working because symptoms are so unpredictable.

This is the reality for patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We can do better.

For the November UX Boot Camp, we are partnering with Emessence, a healthcare startup that strives to help patients with MS to take back control. In four intense days, you’ll craft mobile design solutions that help MS patients manage their medical treatments and lifestyle in order to slow the disease progression and improve their quality of life.

Ready for the challenge? Come join us this November 18-21 for the UX Boot Camp: Emessence in San Francisco.

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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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Inside the Empathy Trap

It’s not uncommon to find yourself closely identifying with the users you are designing for, especially if you work in consumer products. You may even find yourself exposed to the exact experiences you’re tasked with designing, as I recently discovered when I went from researching hematologist-oncologists (HemOncs) and their clinics to receiving care from a HemOnc physician in his clinic. (Thankfully, all is now well with my health.)

This led to some revealing insights. Suddenly I was approaching my experience not just as a personal life event, but as both the designing observer, taking note of every detail, and the subject, or user, receiving the care. Instead of passively observing, I focused on engaging in a walk-a-mile exercise, literally walking in my own shoes, as my own user.

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Service Blueprints: Laying the Foundation

Cooper workshop service blueprintingThis article was co-written by Izac Ross, Lauren Chapman Ruiz, and Shahrzad Samadzadeh

Recently, we introduced you to the core concepts of service design, a powerful approach that examines complex interactions between people and their service experiences. With this post, we examine one of the primary tools of service design: the service blueprint.

Today’s products and services are delivered through systems of touchpoints that cross channels and blend both digital and human interactions. The service blueprint is a diagram that allows designers to look beyond the product and pixels to examine the systems that bring a customer’s experience to life.

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