So, today's a pretty big deal for me. After more than 20 years with my agency employer, FHR, I'm officially lifting the veil on the next chapter in my professional journey.
Today, I am thrilled to announce the formal launch of Input UX Inc. - a digital customer experience and product design consultancy. It's a culmination of over 25 years in digital marketing, working with many of the world's largest, respected brands and with some of the most inspiring colleagues on the planet.
On the surface, my career path has been relatively straightforward. I began working in 1994 as a digital production artist on various CD-ROM titles, from training and simulation to interactive entertainment. Eventually, I worked my way up the ladder to Art Director and finally Creative Director. In 2011, I shifted my focus to user experience, building on my visual design experience background to fold in best practices around usability, interaction, and user interface design.
My agency time allowed me to work on various types of digital solutions: websites, intranets, extranets, web apps, social media programs, secure portals, email marketing - all of the usual stuff.
Over time though, I became increasingly drawn to digital product design - the holistic view of how a user interacts with a product. I had small samplings of this during my agency life, but they rarely afforded the ability to dive deep into real design solutions. As Steve Jobs once said, "Design is not just what it looks land feels like. Design is how it works."
Ultimately this is what spurred the change for me - a desire to pursue opportunities that allowed me to tackle the entire process of creating usable digital products and experiences.
Operating under Input UX, I have worked with some unbelievably inspiring start-ups in a product designer role. I've been overwhelmed by both the raw talent of these teams and the enormous satisfaction these engagements have given me. Honestly, I've never been more in love with the work I do, and so grateful to have identified this new area of focus.
The other key area I've been drawn to over the years is high-fidelity prototyping - the practice of building detailed, interactive simulations of an end product. Prototyping is a relatively standard service often associated with user experience. In my case, though, I've tended to focus on working with clients who have a vision - a half-baked idea of what they'd like to offer to their stakeholders - and just running with it.
These prototypes deliver enormous value across various use cases. They can:
And this is the sweet spot for me. My career focus has always been on providing as much value to a client as possible. Product design and high-fidelity prototyping deliver some of the most useful, robust, and truly valuable foundations for clients to build upon.
I've built Input UX to be a lean, efficient, and smart consultancy that brings in experts from their respective fields based on engagement requirements. Through long-standing, strategic partnerships, working with Input UX means you work with all-stars - all the time.
But this isn't intended to be a sales pitch. It's an expression of gratitude for the fantastic opportunities FHR has provided me with over the past 20 years and a way for me to express my enthusiasm for everything to come in the future. If we've worked together in the past, I hope that we can stay in touch. And if this is your first introduction to Input UX, I'd love to hear from you!
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Steve Coppola is a user experience & digital marketing professional - and founder of Input UX. With over 25 years of agency experience, he has worked with many of the world's most respected brands in various capacities including UI/UX design, customer research, usability testing, and front end development.
Find out more about Input UX
If you’re developing a new product, app, or software, then you’re probably familiar with prototyping - building out and creating a visual and interactive representation of what you’re going to build. While design teams, developers, and marketers will love the nitty-gritty of a product’s design, before you even get that far, there's another step you need to take - visiontyping.
The largest, most talented and well-funded product teams don’t amount to much unless the work they do is informed and directed by input from users of the product themselves.
Inspiration can often come from the most unexpected places, and a recent "CrappyDesign" subreddit post perfectly frames one of my favourite UX mantras. In fact, the "Desire Path" concept dumbs down a few usability fundamentals in a super-simple way.