User Experience & Strategy

Being competitive in your field today is not enough. Sustainable leadership comes through integrating design with business; and product with branding to solve real user needs.

Cobalt’s UX Strategy aligns design and business by placing the user experience at the centre of both. We help businesses identify, translate and integrate user insights into business strategy, products and experiences.

As practising designers, understanding user needs and creatively solving them is part of our DNA. Our range of strategy services takes an objective, satellite view; enabling us to define the problem or identify an opportunity, and discover genuine user insights; from which creative solutions can then be developed. We do this with you, not just for you, so that your internal innovation culture can also grow.

Design & Business Integration
User-centred Design Research
Innovation Workshops
UX Training
Design & Business Integration

Design & Business Integration

We create breakthrough innovations in business by integrating design thinking into corporate strategy. We do this by intently listening and looking at your business and competitive landscape, before tailoring a practical innovation-strategy based on design thinking principles.

  • Business & Design Strategy alignment
  • Design Audits, including Brand, Product and Process analysis
  • Tailored Design Strategy and Action Plans
  • Design Integration Mentoring
 
User-centred Design Research

User-centred Design Research

User-centred Design Research is all about deep user empathy. We aim to know your users better than they know themselves to drive responsive design and effectively address otherwise unmet needs. We do this through generative (observational or ethnographic) and evaluative design research (usability, physical performance) to capture a true picture of the user, their unmet needs and their current choices.

  • Design Thinking
  • Ethnographic research
  • Strategic Insights
  • Workflow Mapping
  • Competitor Benchmarking
 
Innovation Workshops

Innovation Workshops

Cobalt can bring fresh, new innovation techniques to your team at your location. We can help kick start a new initiative, challenge or expand current design solutions and spread or refresh UX perceptions throughout your organisation.

We do this by extending the techniques we use everyday within our own design practice, and tailoring these to your team and your needs.

  • Facilitation & Moderation
  • Range of Workshop models, from 2hrs to full-day
  • Innovation techniques
  • 3-Horizon product planning (Development Roadmap)
 
UX Training

UX Training

Learn the why and how of having a deep understanding of the user’s experience from experts. Build in-house skills and get up to speed on UX best practices.

  • UX Fundamentals
  • Expanded techniques; design research, thinking, product user testing
  • Tools and templates to support in-house UX-based activities
  • Ongoing support to reinforce in-house capabilities
 

Design

Design is the intersection of art, science and commerce. It’s where we develop tangible solutions by creatively merging user-insights with technical knowhow.

The Design phase of our development process defines the look, feel and user experience of the solution or product. Our multidisciplinary project teams apply a proven ‘divergent > convergent’ approach to concept creation.

We work collaboratively with you to define the real problem, and then explore and visualise ideas through unique techniques such as ideas workshops, digital sketching, CAD and iterative mock-up development, including 3D printing.

Discovery & Viability
Industrial Design
Digital Design
Service Design
Discovery & Viability

Discovery & Viability

With experience in over 1200 development projects, Cobalt knows how to efficiently collect and distil the core information we need to develop a new project. This includes researching competitor and technological landscapes as well as preliminary costings and concepts to establish the project’s viability and possible direction. Collectively our work in this space forms the foundation for further development.

  • Product requirements specification (Reverse Brief)
  • Competitor research, positioning
  • Product teardowns
  • Technology review/feasibility
  • Review of existing patents & regulatory standards
  • PreConcepts
  • Preliminary Costings
 
Industrial Design

Industrial Design

Industrial design is innovation in 3D, as well as being Cobalt’s founding discipline. It’s where we combine insights, creativity and technology into creative concepts which are in-turn refined into a realisable and successful products.

  • Creative product and package design solutions
  • Design processes; Divergent > Convergent, Iterative Design
  • Mock-ups, virtual models, 3D Printing
  • Integrated engineering collaboration, DFM
  • Human factors, ergonomic and anthropometric analysis
  • 3D Surfacing, CAID and generative CAD modelling
 
Digital Design

Digital Design

Screen-based user interactions, including IoT apps or integrated touchscreens, are how we operate a growing number of physical products. Digital design describes how we integrate both virtual and physical environments into a single, cohesive user experience. As well, ‘digital design’ describes the many digital tools we use throughout our design and engineering development process.

  • User-interface (GUI) design
  • User journey mapping, State-machine diagrams
  • Digital sketching (Wacom)
  • 2D design, artworks
  • Developmental visualisations (CGIs, animations)
 
Service Design

Service Design

Cobalt apply our core design approach; user-centred insights, creative solutions and precise specifications to implement service or experience-based assignments.

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  • User journey mapping
  • Ideas Workshop
  • Alternative creative solutions
  • Mock-ups, iterative design
 

Engineering

Cobalt’s engineering team bring reality to the concept and the concept to reality. We use our technical knowledge and extensive experience to turn design ideas into innovative, manufacturable products.

Our rigorous and systematic engineering expertise has been finely tuned over our 20 years and hundreds of successful projects. Our highly skilled, ‘design thinking’ engineers use a variety of tools including the latest computer modelling (CAD) and simulation software to design and optimise the product to meet or exceed performance, usability and manufacturing requirements, integrating cutting edge technology with industry best practices and innovative design.

We draw upon deep manufacturing knowledge, coupled with practical hands on experience to create clever, elegant and robust designs to solve difficult engineering problems.

Through detailed analysis and iterative prototyping we test, analyse and refine the design ensuring every part of the product is verified and validated, resulting in products that are reliable, functional and ready for manufacture.

Engineering Design
Analysis & Simulation
Prototyping & Testing
Usability Engineering
Engineering Design

Engineering Design

Transformation of the concept to reality. All elements are meticulously detailed, optimised and documented, to create innovative, functional and manufacturable products.

  • Product requirements specification
  • Technical research/analysis
  • Mechanical/Product Design Engineering
  • DFM (Design for manufacture) optimised tooling, production and assembly principles
  • Industrial Design Integration
  • Creative problem-solving engineering
  • CAD, 3D CAD (Solidworks, Creo, NX)
 
Analysis & Simulation

Analysis & Simulation

Our engineers use a variety of market leading tools and techniques to quantify, optimise and validate solutions throughout the design process.

Integrating these techniques within the development process ensures design and optimisation of parts, products and systems with ever increasing complexity are undertaken with efficiency, precision and accuracy.

  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
  • Mechanism and Motion Simulation
  • MoldFlow
  • Dimensional and Tolerance analysis
  • Failure mode effects analysis (FMEA) and risk assessments
 
Prototyping & Testing

Prototyping & Testing

Within our large in-house workshop and prototyping facilities, we create, test and refine physical models to verify form, fit and function.

  • Manufacture of prototypes throughout the development process using (but not limited to):
    • Precision CNC machining
    • Rapid Prototyping- 3D Printing, SLA
    • Fabrication and Sheet metal
    • Vacuum Casting
    • Painting and Finishing
  • Product and component performance testing
  • Environmental testing
  • Data Acquisition
  • Metrology and inspection
  • Manage outsourced specialist testing such as materials analysis or certification testing
 
Usability Engineering

Usability Engineering

Cobalt apply our core design approach; user-centred insights, creative solutions and precise specifications to implement service or experience-based assignments.

  • User journey mapping
  • Ideas Workshop
  • Alternative creative solutions
  • Mock-ups, iterative design
 

Production Support

Anyone involved in manufacturing knows there is a world of difference between one and many. With decades of real world experience Cobalt can assist in transitioning designs from a prototyped ‘one’ to manufactured ‘many’. We enable our clients to benefit from our objective, independent technical knowledge and avoid the pitfalls of tooling and production procurement.

With a vast network of suppliers, Cobalt can help identify the right manufacturing partners and assist with the handover to manufacture. This is often a critical step in ensuring the success of your project. We provide support to our clients during this challenging phase, working directly with the selected partners to provide a consistent and continuous link between product development and product manufacture.

We take pride in ensuring the manufactured parts achieve the quality the design demands.

We also understand that the development cycle of a product doesn’t end once a product is released for manufacture. Changing requirements, market and customer demands, manufacture or supply limitations mean that refinement or design evolution is almost always needed. With in depth knowledge of the product and development, history, Cobalt is your logical partner to assist with the challenges of production, ECRs and ongoing development.

Supplier Sourcing
Tooling Management
Production Management
Continuous Improvement
Supplier Sourcing

Supplier Sourcing

Choosing the right manufacturing partners is critical to a project’s success. We assist clients to identify, assess and recommend suppliers, both locally and internationally.

  • Supplier identification, assessment and capabilities analysis/comparison
  • Initial, confidential engagement
  • Prepare and manage RFQs (request for quotation)
  • Technical support and liaison
  • On-site visits and supplier audits
 
Tooling Management

Tooling Management

Working directly with selected production/ tooling supplier(s), we oversee all technical aspects of tooling and off-tool sample development.

  • Tool design reviews
  • Attend onsite tooling trials
  • OTS (off-tool sample) reviews
  • Troubleshooting to resolve tooling issues
 
Production Management

Production Management

Provide expert, independent technical advice through the transfer of the product from design/tooling to production.

  • Assist in developing QA protocols, including Cp/Cpk dimensional qualification
  • Design and engineering of test jigs
  • Beta and pilot-production assembly and testing
  • Troubleshooting to resolve tooling issues
 
Continuous Improvement

Continuous Improvement

We continue to support clients after the project is launched, especially where expert engineering, testing or documentation is needed for performance, quality and compliance standards.

  • Manage ECRs (Engineering Change Requests)
  • Implement design improvements
  • Maintain CAD models and drawings to match production revisions
  • Cost, manufacture or performance optimisation programmes
  • Prepare documentation, reports for compliance/certification
 

Animation

If a picture tells a thousand words, an animation’s capacity to communicate is infinite. Cobalt uses industry leading software, extensive CG animation experience and videography expertise to show products and tell narratives that cut through.

Animations can be used as marketing videos for sales or social media, training aides, e-brochures, tradeshows or crowd funding campaigns.

Art Direction
Products & Processes
Videography
Virtual Reality & SFX
Art Direction

Art Direction

As an outcome in their own right, animations need to be conceptualised and planned to ensure the narrative and key messages are delivered in a compelling and concise way.

  • Briefing, concept development
  • Storyboard, planning
  • SFX trials/development
  • Wire framing (Viewport)
 
Products & Processes

Products & Processes

Show your product or tell your story exactly how you want - before or after it exists through high resolution computer-generated (CG) animations, images (CGIs) or composites.

  • CG effects such as exploded views, cutaways, translucency
  • Captions, music, intros/outros
  • Motion Graphics, 2D animation
  • Life action videography
 
Videography

Videography

Cobalt can film live action videography. That combined with our CG animations, provide a complete video solution.

  • Live action videography; such as in-situ user or interview-style sequences
  • Compositing with CG, text and effects
  • Professional standard video camera, lighting & tracking
  • Narration
  • Editing
 
Virtual Reality & SFX

Virtual Reality & SFX

Cobalt creates the virtual (and augmented) reality which heightens a viewer’s engagement with the product, environment or narrative. Other special effects (SFX) simulate highly advanced materials, motions or lighting.

    • Virtual Reality (total CG environment)
    • Augment Reality (CG asset visible against actual view)
    • - complex materials (liquids, cloth, fur, steam)
  • - lighting arrangements
  • - motions (gravity, impact)