Tactile is a high-touch design consultancy where the creative, technical, and strategic come together. We design meaningful physical and digital experiences for everyday moments and the one of a kind. We are made up of industrial designers, interaction designers, graphic designers, and engineers who create sought-after products and experiences through research and strategy.
Relationships matter the most to us and for over 15 years, we’ve partnered with influential and emerging brands to craft industrial, medical and consumer products with lasting relevance. When it comes to design, we believe that practical and enjoyable are not mutually exclusive. Details should be purposeful and nuanced, never gratuitous.
Our collaborative approach to interactive design and product development provides layers of insight throughout each step of the design process. With a foundation of empathy, each project starts with doing the hard work of building and understanding relationships and ends with a product that works for everyone—and looks beautiful too.
Clarisonic produces a line of clinically proven, professional-grade skin care products. Most notable are their oscillating cleansing brushes. They pioneered the sonic cleansing technology that is now ubiquitous in the health and wellness industry. The silhouette of the original Clarisonic was a classic, curvy hourglass figure. Our successful collaboration resulted in a sleeker structure, what we describe as a young ballerina.
The slender, elegant profile aligns the brand with an updated modern aesthetic. As the most premium product in the market, we shepherded the use of an In Mold Label (IML) and cosmetic stamped metal parts for the first time in the company’s history. These elements are now signature to Clarisonic products.
Clarisonic devices are consumer products that are designed for the professional esthetician and produced to a professional grade. The makers of Clarisonic are scientists first and foremost. Not only are they the industry leader, they invented the industry. And we’re proud to say that for the last six years, every product from Clarisonic has been designed by Tactile.
Genie Visual Brand Language
Genie manufactures lifts and platforms used in construction, maintenance, warehouse stocking, and equipment installation. They produce machines that set the industry standard for quality, reliability, and safety; those values are the cornerstones of Genie’s brand legacy. To elevate and bring consistency to the brand, Tactile updated the visual language on all their lifts, considering everything from housing form factor and graphics to overall color of the machine.
We wanted to tell the story of reliability and safety that is integral to the DNA of Genie’s product family. Trust is critical for professionals who spend their workday in a lift high above ground; that trust is the legacy of the brand. Our goal was to modernize the look and feel of Genie products with timeless designs. The new machines needed to look even more capable and trustworthy than the last Genie product they used.
The new visual brand language represented a major aesthetic shift. For the first time, black—not blue—is now the standard color of each machine’s base. Blue is Genie’s signature brand color, and to strategically protect their legacy, it meant removing the blue color from the area that receives the most wear, the base. By incorporating blue in more strategic, intentional areas, it would become more prominent. We kept blue on the logo and the arm to reinforce the brand and symbolize the Genie mantra: Blue is the color that lifts.
Intellectual Ventures Laboratory
Intellectual Ventures Laboratory (IVL) discovers, invents, and develops advanced technology, bridging the gap between early stage ideas and proof of concept demonstrations. Their Global Good team partnered with Tactile to further develop a more effective means of delivering vaccination services to outlying communities in developing countries. A thermos container system (nicknamed Cold Chain) is capable of storing and maintaining vaccines for transport at proper temperatures for as long as a month. Underdeveloped regions with poor roads and no electrical grids will benefit greatly from this technology. Our role was to focus on usability issues that would advance design development and increase adoption in the field.
The functionality of the Cold Chain vessel will undergo further evolution in the lab, and in the field, before it ultimately fulfills its mission to effectively deliver lifesaving vaccines to those who need them most. Tactile is proud to have contributed to the development of this important innovation.
“A better vaccine container may be a Band-Aid to the real problem of poverty and under development, but it can make a huge difference to millions of children, alleviating the disease burden for entire generations that would otherwise fall sick while waiting for the wheels of progress to develop their society. That seems like plenty of reason to do it.” -Nathan Myhrvold, CEO of Intellectual Ventures
Microsoft Envisioning Center
We collaborated with a diverse team of software developers, engineers, interior designers, architects, contractors and project staff to implement Microsoft’s vision of a not too distant future. Our exploration focused on making thought provoking home, office and retail experiences come to life.
Tactile helped the Envisioning Center team to visualize future experiences for the home and workplace. We created large-scale functional prototypes that incorporated new technologies and interactions, while producing detailed designs of fully realized, interactive demo spaces.
Tactile’s relationship with Microsoft has evolved over time. Our designers help to create production products—from keyboards to Xbox hardware—and also to explore the future of computer technology and user experiences.
Verathon is a pioneer in the design and manufacture of medical devices. They provide reliable healthcare solutions that help providers in more than 60 countries and regions, delivering a higher standard of clinical and economic utility for those they serve. The Verathon BladderScan is a portable 3D ultrasound scanner that measures and analyzes bladder volume. It assists medical professionals in caring for postoperative patients and preventing unnecessary catheterization.
Verathon partnered with Tactile to help modernize the BladderScan form without compromising the product architecture and features by keeping the end user in mind throughout the design process. We made significant changes, such as updating the screen from a push button/soft key interface to a touchscreen. Environmental factors always play a big role in the design and use of a device. The varied ways technicians used the scanner informed the simplicity of the UI and focus of the image on the bladder. Throughout the process, Verathon conducted user testing. During the refinement phase, we incorporated actual use-case responses into the final design. The feedback we received led to improvements in the cart tray layout, the ergonomics of the scanner, and the hierarchy of information on the screen.
Shift Labs DripAssist
DripAssist is a portable IV flow monitor that makes infusion easier, quicker, and more reliable. The battery-operated alarm-enabled device is a fraction of the cost of an electronic infusion pump. DripAssist provides accurate monitoring of critical gravity infusions and also sounds automatically when the flow rate falls outside a safe limit or stops.
The Shift Labs team developed an engineering prototype in need of housing and UI design suited for emerging markets. Tactile was tasked with creating a durable, lightweight, approachable unit while keeping production costs down. The DripAssist had to be instantly usable by all skill levels in a wide variety of environments. Those in rugged clinical settings, with suboptimal lighting conditions, and across multiple languages need the units to be easy to use and more accurate than manual count IV fluid drips. Finally, the DripAssist had to fit standard drip chambers while accommodating slight variations across IV brands and types. It is currently used in veterinarian applications, with potential use for human health in emerging markets after approval.
Our experience designing devices for emerging health markets and American med-tech products was bolstered through Shift Labs’ user testing and research. Key design solutions focused on usability, understanding varied environments, and potential barriers to adoption.
Xbox Special Editions
For nearly five years, Tactile has partnered with the Xbox ID team to design limited edition consoles and controllers. Often, these products are for games with huge fan bases, so our mission is to design with as much authenticity as possible. There’s no faking it. The designer must become the fan.
Our expertise in color, material, and finish development results in products that feel like they fell right out of the game. We work closely with Xbox ID, engineers and manufacturing partners to push the very limits of the CMF industry. When two major brands—Xbox and the major game titles—share the same stage, both integrity and performance are paramount.
We worked closely with Xbox ID and game developers to bring the very soul and passion of the games to the devices that control them. This is our opportunity to say thank you to the fans, and create something they would love—something they would wait in line for—and we take that very seriously.
Every detail—no matter how small—is painstakingly refined by hand. There’s an art to making a one-of-a-kind concept that retains its magic when mass produced. And we’ve perfected that art through continual iteration, from kickoff to the factory floor. It takes a team of designers, engineers, and manufacturing partners to align on a single vision.
Planetary Power HyGen
Planetary Power HyGen is a hybrid generator that combines high-efficiency technology with integrated lithium-ion batteries, providing a vital communication link to outlying populations. It is a cost-effective, sustainable, and reliable alternative to conventional generators for use at off-grid telecom towers. HyGen’s engine runs at variable speeds and only operates to charge its batteries, making the batteries the primary power source. Fuel consumption is reduced by 60%, extending the refueling interval to 45 days. The design incorporates extended capacity oil and fuel systems, enabling HyGen to operate without maintenance for up to four months.
More than 1.8 billion people live beyond the boundaries of a power grid and depend on off-grid power generation. Planetary Power sought to provide a cost-effective, sustainable, reliable solution to provide power for a communications link for the off-grid population. Planetary Power reached out to Tactile to help address the following challenges: (a) size of footprint, (b) shipping and transportation access (refueling, maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair), (c) security, (d) protection and venting, (e) installation and lift points, and (f) aesthetics.
Designed specifically for use at off-grid telecom towers, HyGen combines a modern aesthetic with long-lasting and innovative features. Susceptible to theft and heat, HyGen needed to withstand uncertain outdoor variables. HyGen’s compact design integrates the fuel tank, batteries, and engine into one cohesive unit. The engine enclosure is easily removed with internal fasteners for complete access for refueling, maintenance and repairs.
EAWmosaic™ Mobile App
The first of its kind, the EAWmosaic™ mobile app offers a comprehensive portable solution to optimize live audio setup of RADIUS speakers. The app streamlines the setup process by using intuitive 3D room design and sound prediction techniques accessible from anywhere in your venue. The easy-to-use controls allow for sound adjustments before and during the event.
As one of the first 3D venue prediction pieces of software available on a mobile app, our main challenge was to design a simple tool that transforms complex modeling data into an intuitive mobile user experience. Our objectives were clear: (a) simplify and reduce the number of controls that maximize flexibility and power, (b) provide a self-explanatory flow—from square one to completion—with the flexibility for adjustments, and (c) create a modern and informative design with no distrations.
Not only is EAWmosaic™ the best way to optimize the live audio setup of RADIUS speakers, it’s intuitive and simple to learn. A simple PDF can be exported from the app with all the setup information to help guide production crews in the physical setup process. The easy-to-use controls within the app allow for constant oversight, so users can make adjustments before and during the events. Additionally, EAWmosaic™ can be paired and used simultaneously with a Mackie Axis mixer and master fader app.
Intel RealSense™ Foot Scanner
The evolution of online shopping brings about continual improvement in customer service. Logistics can make or break the customer experience and it’s important to get consumers what they want. In the case of footwear, it’s the correct fit the first time. With this in mind, an innovation team at Intel (a team that evangelizes Intel products by seeking partnership opportunities to disrupt new markets) wanted to develop a customer measurement tool for shoes and boots. Intel teamed up with Tactile to conceptualize a four-camera foot scanner using Intel’s RealSense™ camera technology. It would be used to obtain foot and leg measurements within a retail environment.
Intel wanted a functional proof of concept to demonstrate the RealSense™ technology at trade shows. Tactile designed a fully functional prototype, which needed to provide the proper strength and overall design validation, while minimizing the weight for transportation to retailers and exhibitions. Tactile’s deep expertise in engineering and design led the team through building product mock-ups, structural analysis on the proposed design—to ensure it would be safe for a retail environment—and used CAD simulation to accurately position cameras to capture a 360-degree image of a customer’s legs from the knees down and feet.
Intel aims to disrupt the retail industry with the foot scanner. The data is meant to inform and streamline purchasing for customers while lowering return rates, thereby decreasing the overall environmental impact of the online retail experience.
Milwaukee Tool is a worldwide industry leader in manufacturing heavy-duty power tools, hand tools, and accessories. For more than 90 years they have innovated trade-specific solutions with advanced technology and unprecedented durability. Milwaukee Tool reached out to Tactile to help design the user interface for two of their products: the M12™ M-Spector Flex and a new product offering for Milwaukee, the M12™ 102 X77 Infrared Camera. In keeping with their brand characteristics—appealing to the working professional, rugged, heavy duty, and reliable—we worked alongside the Milwaukee Tool team to architect products that aligned to user personas.
A new addition to Milwaukee’s family of products, the M12™ 102 X 77 Infrared Camera is a handheld temperature measurement tool. It visually detects temperature variations in applications such as building construction and inspection, electrical, HVAC and plumbing, and mechanical uses. The tool features straightforward, simple iconography, allowing users to easily navigate and focus on the infrared view without visual interruption. Transition animation and motion design was integrated to increase user experience and ease of use.
The M12™ M-Spector Flex is a handheld visual inspection tool for areas that are hard to reach, too dark to see, and in cramped spaces like plumbing lines and HVAC systems. A detached screen allows for very challenging and inaccessible areas to be visualized; iconography and layouts are optimized for screen resolution. Image improvements increased efficiency in capturing images, how they are viewed, and adjustment settings. Added motion design helped reduce user error.
Dynon Avionics SkyView™ HDX
The Dynon SkyView™ HDX is a premium flight display that integrates into electronic flight instrument systems of experimental and light sport aircraft. SkyView™ HDX boasts improved displays, unprecedented control ergonomics, and an enhanced touch interface. Utilizing both the touch user interface and physical controls, SkyView™ HDX is offered in both seven and ten-inch displays and is compatible with all of Dynon Avionics’ existing SkyView™ components.
To remain competitive in the electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) product category, Tactile was challenged with designing a next generation cockpit display that is both ergonomic and intuitive. In collaboration with Dynon Avionics, we conducted research that led to a fundamental change of the input features and how the physical controls impacted the user interface. These design changes are critical for pilots to feel safer and more confident in flying the EFIS.
The overall design solution was based on user testing and the ability to withstand the test of time. We chose to constrain and make the new displays backwards compatible, exposing the hardware. Since aircrafts have varying cockpit interiors, SkyView™ HDX can accommodate any custom cabin; we designed seven and ten-inch displays. SkyView™ HDX offers a higher-resolution touchscreen display, wider viewing angles, and improved anti-reflective surfaces that provide a better on-screen user experience. Additionally, the angled control panel improves hand positioning. All controls are backlit for night flight, and the touchscreen is backed up by manual controls.
The Steth IO is a smartphone-powered stethoscope that captures heart and lung sounds and converts them into a spectrogram, a visual representation of sound frequencies. The hardware resides in a smartphone case that modernizes centuries old stethoscope technology into a handheld device. It was invented by 15-year-old Suman Mulumudi and his father, cardiologist Mahesh Mulumudi, founders of Seattle-based medical device development company StratoScientific Inc.
StratoScientific approached Tactile to help bring their concept architecture to product development. We helped navigate the refinement process, which included design, CMF work, and coordinating the tooling and manufacturing processes. The aesthetics of the case needed to reflect the quality, abilities, and sophistication of the powerful medical device.
The iPhone 6 will be the Steth IO’s flagship phone case, with update potential for future phone releases. Our input set the tone for the current and all future iterations of the device. For the first time, the stethoscope would be able to progress in form and function alongside emerging technology. The result of our collaboration is a truly groundbreaking device. The stethoscope is perhaps the most ubiquitous and essential medical built in the 21st century and we’ve taken it even further.
Cerevast Neurosonx™ SR
New to the medical technology industry in 2015, Cerevast develops groundbreaking medical products to treat neurologic disorders. To help with stroke recovery, Cerevast developed the Neurosonx™ SR, a transcranial ultrasound device used to reduce long-term disability symptoms and enable patients to improve following a stroke. Neurosonx™ SR delivers ultrasound through the cranium to interact with the neurons of the motor cortex region of the brain to induce a neuromodulatory effect. The breakthrough technology of Neurosonx™ SR will provide more accurate and improved results for stroke patients.
To offer a more competitive product and better assist the primary users—doctors—Cerevast called on Tactile to help deliver an intuitive, modern user interface for Neurosonx™ SR.
2013 4th Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
Contact: Josh Kornfeld
- Industrial Design
- Design Strategy
- User Experience Design
- User Interface Design
Microsoft, Xbox, Panasonic, Samsung, GE, Milwaukee, Ekos, Intellectual Ventures, Genie, Tektronix, Clarisonic, Mitutoyo, Genie, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Intel, Amazon, Physio-Control, OutBack Power Technology, Blackberry