The sCoop: Week of April 2

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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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?"

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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!