Human-centric Systems for Tomorrow's Technology
Uncorked is a strategic product design studio based on Portland, Oregon connecting people, technology, and context to create meaningful change.
We are thinkers, builders, writers, developers, and designers who evolve ideas into reality and thrive in the space between the experimental and the habitual.
Google, Facebook, Diageo, Nike, Samsung, NEC, adidas, Carnival, Care.com, LEGO, Simple, HP, Intel, Skype, Comcast, Daimler
In the fall of 2018, Facebook came to Uncorked at a critical juncture. It was preparing to build a home for its 2019 Diversity Report, a highly-publicized document showing the company’s progress toward diversity and inclusion in its workforce, and helping people from under-represented communities learn about careers in tech.
During the initial strategy development phase of the work, the project team came to a key insight: Showing ongoing institutional progress on diversity and inclusion while honoring employee commitments to support their colleagues was critical. Building this trust was more important than merely presenting demographic data that was impersonal, and that would be judged by the press and forgotten in a news cycle.
Incorporating over 40 separate groups and initiatives—both inside the company and in the community—meant we needed to give the site a lucid design logic. Diversity Report content is intermingled with Efforts and Initiatives, both inside Facebook and in communities. Visitors can navigate directly to topics they’re interested in.
A subtle pattern language is incorporated into the site’s design, and will continue to evolve and form internal collateral to accompany employee stories.
We learned early on that the site’s foundation would be built on WordPress and VIP, its de-facto enterprise platform. We dove into the VIP documentation, quickly learning we would have to do things a bit differently than we have before. With limited third-party plugin support and pre-defined development workflows and configurations, it was important to divvy up lanes for capability and continuous integration and deployment exploration.
Uncorked has completed a half-dozen collaborations with Creative Lab. The most recent, Just a Line, lets users draw a line anywhere, in AR.
Launched in March 2018, Just a Line showcases and dramatizes Google’s ARCore. ARCore is a flexible and extensible Augmented Reality framework.
Based on a the simple premise of drawing in augmented reality, Just a Line is an experience developed to give people their first taste of creating in the new medium.
Later in 2018, Uncorked and Google Creative Lab updated Just a Line to include Cloud Anchors.
Just a Line features an Uncorked-authored Java library, RecordableSurfaceView, that streamlines video sharing in Android. Creative Lab chose to release the software as Open Source.
ARCore is implemented as a special case OpenGL stack — a well known method of rendering graphics to the screen. However, recording a video of a GL Android app, either as a user or as a developer, can be challenging, until now.
Continued support for emerging Android devices, including tablets, has kept Uncorked busy since Just a Line’s major cross-platform launch in Q2 2018.
Your health adds up to much more than just your daily activities.
When Uncorked and adidas partnered to create All Day we began by asking fundamental questions about the role technology has played in health services to date.
All Day automatically tracked steps, calories burned, and sleep. Users could also log activities, like a gym session or a spin class, to help paint a complete picture of their fitness journeys.
Uncorked had a full-fledged team across several disciplines working on the product.
The studio conducted research, and developed a set of design personas used to guide product decision making. The studio built key pillars for the app based on these real-life personas. It also built a series of cross-platform templates to automate asset processing, and orchestrated a robust content strategy to accommodate a growing number of Discoveries.
Uncorked development teams built a host of software systems for a distributed auto-scaling infrastructure.
Studio engineers handled comprehensive consumer-facing mobile application development for both Android and iOS. The All Day tech stack created an ecosystem to support users of all activity levels around the globe at high volume from app launch and performed flawlessly.
adidas sunsetted All Day in winter 2018 after a strategy shift, but not before Fast Company lauded the effort in naming the brand to its 2018 Most Innovative Companies in Marketing and Advertising list, “For challenging itself—and customers—with the All Day lifestyle app.”
For Tentrr, closing a Series A meant it could begin to grow while eradicating any legacy technical and design debt. Those key upgrades meant it could come into the next season with a business ready for scale.
Tentrr‘s core business connects private landowners with campers around a beautiful canvas wall tent on a custom-built platform. Uncorked endeavored to make its dual-sided marketplace and brand platforms just as well appointed.
Over the course of several months in mid-2018, Uncorked worked with the Tentrr team as a stand-in for yet-to-be-hired product leadership, creating a new and improved design system and a streamlined dual-sided e-commerce back-end.
The engagement began by conducting basic research, carving out personas, and mapping the core experience of both sides of this dual-sided marketplace.
Our core strategy balanced speed and effort. To bolster Tentrr’s design foundations, Uncorked’s Style Tiles create a sustainable brand behavior and voice and tone system, as well as a design pattern library.
It was important to give Tentrr the tools it could adopt, own, and grow into. The studio fine-tuned Tentrr’s product roadmap and e-commerce framework to the business’ key constituencies and rhythms.
Together with Tentrr’s engineering team, Uncorked’s developers built an architecture to grow with the company and provide tangible business insights along the way.
For Diageo, the world’s largest spirits producer, the primary route of innovation is through its product. Evolving the liquids, formats, and packaging of its spirits drives business growth.
In parallel with its liquid innovation and M&A ventures, Diageo is evolving digital capabilities, partnerships, and processes across its portfolio of brands, and in 2017, partnered with Uncorked to further grow this capability.
Uncorked works together with Diageo’s Culture & Partnerships group as an innovation strategy partner, helping Diageo evaluate, pilot, refine, and share data from startup partnerships, as well as monitoring the changing spirits landscape for opportunities for Diageo and its brands to build competitive advantage.
A key startup partnership can impact many facets of the Diageo business, from supply chain optimization and changing consumer habits to new metrics for consumption and the creative excellence of marketing assets. Uncorked’s job is to help the Culture & Partnerships team give the data coming from emerging partnerships meaning inside broader brand and business roadmaps.
"Uncorked helped provide us with a foundation and framework for studying how technology can deliver the future of consumer attention for our brands. As marketers of some of the most iconic spirits brands, we'll continue to experiment with new technology and add scale when we see success." - Devin Nagy, Director of Technology and Emerging Platforms, Diageo