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Understand the goals of the people impacted the most by your product to craft strong, resilient experiences. We help you create accessible solutions to actual problems and opportunities for your users through research and strategy, interaction design, visual design, responsive web design, system and service design, as well as training and mentoring.

Learn more about Design at Bocoup

As I started to learn about CSS Grid and the new base layout possibilities, I was struck by how much this changes things for design. I don’t think I’m alone in this, either: a search through CodePen reveals plenty of designers and developers thinking about this as well. There are so many new ways to think about how we can design pages and how we can change our layouts based on screen sizes and this short post is just a very shallow dive into the possibilities.

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Much like the rest of the country, we’ve been mesmerized by the election and the coverage surrounding it. This election, more than any previous, has spurred conversations and challenges previously unseen, raising questions around political discourse and campaigning nationwide. We’ve been thinking a lot about those very questions, especially in the coming crescendo of election day itself. How will We The People feel when the results are in?

Building an Open Source interactive with the Coral Project

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The modern workforce is going digital. Teams are taking advantage of new communication tools in order to meet people where they are and allowing them to work from wherever they are most fulfilled and inspired, be it a home office in Montana, a coffee shop in Toronto, or a War Room at WeWork. While this remote-friendly attitude has been quickly adopted by organizational functions like engineering, marketing, and sales, design groups have lagged behind, stuck with the idea that teams need to be in the same physical room in order to create great designs.

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open design kit logo image

Today, we are pleased to announce Open Design Kit - a collection of remixable methods designed to support creativity and problem solving within the context of the agile and distributed 21st century workplace. We are creating this kit to share the techniques we use within our open design practice at Bocoup and teach to collaborators so they can identify and address design opportunities. As of the publication of this post, the kit can be accessed in a GitHub repository and it contains a dozen methods developed by fifteen contributors – designers, educators, developers from in and outside of Bocoup.

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Designing in a vacuum is challenging. It’s more than challenging - it’s hard, painful, sad, depressing, defeating, pointless, infuriating, lonely - you get my point? It can potentially be debilitating for a creative to be working in a silo, which from time to time could happen on a project. To address this, we are experimenting with some techniques to support pair designing at Bocoup.

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In between client work and working with my design colleagues on an internal project, I’ve been busy creating a Bocoup style guide. One of the fantastic things about Bocoup is that we make a lot of the tools we use to track our work, schedules, and skills—but we didn’t have an easy way for anyone who was making a tool to theme it in something that looked like Bocoup. What often happened is Bocoupers cobbled together styles in the best way possible from the sources available, scouring our repos for what could be reusable.

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Last year we had a successful Knight Foundation Prototype Grant-funded collaboration with the University of Washington Interactive Data Lab (IDL) to improve their Voyager data exploration tool. At the end of our collaboration we knew we wanted to work with the amazing team from the IDL again, so we were thrilled when Jeff Heer & Arvind Satyanarayan approached us to help build the next version of Lyra. Lyra is an interactive, open-source visualization environment built on top of the IDL’s Vega visualization specification language.

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Bocoup has been offering a handful of user research workshops lately focusing on developing a process for working on design projects. Following the workshops, I have been pinged by tons of designers and engineers who are doing user research on a project requesting some support in a real-world application of the tools.

Primarily, the main question I’m hearing is, “How do I get my [client, user, project manager, boss, etc.] to let me to conduct user testing?" This is understandable, as much of design is a conversation around getting buy-in on a vision. It can be challenging to convince various stakeholders that you need the time and the resources provided through user research to develop out your ideas.

The Tools

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Screenshot of the Bocoup slack channel used for our remote workshop

At Bocoup we believe that focusing on crafting resilient and accessible experiences is the most effective way to build digital services. This philosophy and practice extends to our learning design. In an earlier post, I talked about building a curriculum framework with a design driven approach—this involved user research, persona and journey map development, and some testing. Let’s dive a bit deeper into the next phase for the workshop offering: lesson plan development.

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This winter we will be offering a workshop series focusing on user experience design. We craft our educational offerings using similar practices to how we design products: using a goal oriented and design driven methodology. In this post, I’ll be sharing the process for how we went about developing this new workshop offering.

Choose a time to user test, then run a two week curriculum writing sprint

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