The 2015 Tech Impact Awards: Design / Interface

| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

WINNER

STRATOS PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Location: Seattle | Employees: 90

First principle of good design, says Stratos CEO Allan Stephan, is simply to be of use. Products that are difficult to figure out how to use inspire his company’s teams to create ones that are intuitive. “The mother of invention,” he suggests, “is frustration.”

For 28 years, the product development consultancy in Belltown has provided innovative technology designs for consumer, industrial and medical devices. Past projects have included handheld meters for Fluke, performance eyewear for Nike and the S-controller for Microsoft’s Xbox. More recently, it helped Intellectual Ventures Lab develop an insulated container to store vaccines without electricity in developing countries, and worked with Proteus Digital Health to create wearable and ingestible digital health feedback devices. Stratos also paired with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop affordable, easy-to-use tools for diagnosing infectious diseases. 

Stephan says a poor user experience becomes an opportunity for someone else to improve the interface and take the market for your product. When a product is hard to fathom, he says, “You’re effectively transferring the technology to your competitors.” 

SILVER AWARDS

BLINK UX
Location: Seattle | Employees: 66

For Blink UX, ease follows evidence as the boutique firm helps clients make machines more human through user-centered interface design. Research and testing are the company’s foundation for creating a great experience for tasks as complex as mapping brain models and earth science data, or as direct as ordering coffee from a smartphone. From startups to Fortune 100 companies like Amazon, HP, Apple, Disney and Starbucks, its designs help make technology friendly and essential. 

TEAGUE
Location: Seattle | Employees: 300

Since 1926, Teague has made getting from here to there more effective, comfortable and stylish. Whether designing interiors for Boeing Dreamliners or winning awards for a computer-powered electric bicycle, Teague often breaks ground. With recent design contributions to Microsoft’s Cortana artificial intelligence for smartphones and next-generation devices for Intel and Samsung, it adds to a long legacy of technology design innovation and providing major brands with expertise that shapes entire industries. 

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