Exygy is a San Francisco-based digital innovation studio on a mission to build healthy and resilient communities. For over a decade we have been using modern digital approaches - including human centered design, iterative product development practices, and deep technical expertise - to better the world around us by empowering philanthropies, government agencies, researchers, institutions
of learning, and other socially-minded organizations. Our team includes product strategists, designers, engineers, and subject matter experts. Our engagements with clients fall broadly into four categories:
1. Generate and validate ideas: We quickly generate and test lightweight digital solutions in order to solve pain points or reach organizational goals. Through rapid-prototyping experiments, we work with our partners to identify and validate assumptions, user-test multiple ideas, and identify the most promising solutions. By validating an idea with users and stakeholders early on, we help resolve uncertainties, reduce technical waste, and decide how to effectively invest time, effort and budget to reach your goals.
2. Bring an idea to life: Once you have a solid direction in mind, our team of product strategists, designers, and engineers will work with you to bring the your vision to life - whether you’re revitalizing your brand, building an app, or creating a new platform, service, system or website. Through human-centered design and agile development expertise, we will iteratively build a product that is tailored to your users’ needs and helps you achieve your organizational goals.
3. Improve your product: Our custom, comprehensive audits provide immense value If you already have an existing product you want to improve, or a service you want to streamline. We conduct technical audits, design audits, and data audits on your product to answer questions such as: How well built is your product? How are users engaging with your product today? What opportunities exist to improve your users’ experiences? Through our audit scorecards, we provide insights into what the major pain points are and provide clear,
actionable recommendations for a path forward.
4. Empower your team: In order to accelerate digital transformation we help our partners build the capacity to be, on their own, more human centered, more technically adept, and more agile. We conduct a variety of trainings to upskill your team and your organization - across all facets of human centered design including research and observation, roadmapping and product management, as well as in software delivery models including in iterative product development methodologies and in engineering team organization and leadership.
Featured portfolio items.
Hopelab: Digital Storytelling to Make Health Research Accessible
Our team recently completed a digital storytelling project with Hopelab, helping share their recent research: Digital Health Practices, Social Media Use, and Mental Well-Being Among Teens and Young Adults in the U.S.
Hopelab is a San Francisco-based social innovation lab focused on designing science-based technologies to improve the health and well-being of teens and young adults. This cutting-edge organization brings together evidence-based research, intentional design, and strategic partnerships in order to support a new generation of healthy, thriving young adults. From the development of Goal Mama, an app and companion nurse dashboard co-designed with moms and nurses to help set goals, track progress, and celebrate success, to the launch of Vivibot, a story-sharing chatbot for cancer survivors that teaches evidence-based positive psychology skills, Hopelab works tirelessly on projects that matter.
Problem: Mental illness is often silenced within larger conversations about health. While it is still largely socially taboo to have honest conversations about mental health—at home, in the workplace, or in the political arena—the everyday life of those experiencing mental illness can be overwhelmingly lonely. Many teens and young adults experiencing depression often turn to social media to connect with others.
In an effort to understand the ways in which teens and young adults experiencing depression use social media, Hopelab, in partnership with Well Being Trust, sponsored their first independent national survey. Once it was ready, Hopelab faced a time-sensitive challenge: translating the report into an easily readable format in order to reach as many people as possible. In the spring of 2018, we partnered with Hopelab and their design partner, Landscape, to transform the report from a traditional, printed survey to an easy-to-read digital experience.
Approach: Six weeks to launch a digital experience is challenging, but we were confident that our agile approach would allow us to meet Hopelab’s needs with functionality, reliability, and creativity. While traditional software development entails minimal flexibility and focuses on end-of-the-line results, we value lean, iterative product growth. After prioritizing “first things first,” we implemented small, calculated enhancements to incrementally move the product forward. This approach also allowed the the Hopelab team to quickly add content and test the report, while we continued developing new features.
As a result, we created:
A user-friendly, easy-to-navigate interface that transforms empirical data into a story Technical innovations focused on improved organization and user readability A template to replicate this publication format for Hopelab’s future research reports
Impact: Hopelab’s cutting-edge research has gained mobility—transcending the academic community—and reaching those invested in the well-being of teens and young adults. Since the launch of their digital health report, Hopelab’s website traffic has increased 260%. They’ve gained momentum in social media engagement as well, with spikes in mentions, follows, and likes after the report went live. In the future, Hopelab can use this updated format as a working template for communicating innovative research.
Hopelab’s study emphasizes the power of social media to both uplift and tear down the mental health of teens and young adults. By understanding the complex effects of social media, stakeholders can more effectively and empathetically come together to change how we engage with each other online. As more academic research is communicated to the wider health community, knowledge is spread in ways that give power back to those most affected.
“I was very impressed with Exygy’s work on the web production of the Hopelab national report. We had a tight timeline combined with an ambitious design and I honestly wasn’t quite sure we could pull it off. My fears were alleviated quite early on; Exygy came up with a plan that included site development in tandem with content entry and design review along the way. This sort of agile development was exactly what we needed to hit our deadline. I’m really proud of the work we accomplished together. There’s really no one I’d rather work with on a project like this.” – Robin Raskob, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications at Hopelab
THE ROBERTS ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT FUND (REDF)
Project: A Workforce Development Platform Link: redfworkshop.org
PROBLEM REDF is a pioneering venture philanthropy that creates jobs and transforms lives and is a leader of a national movement of employment-focused social enterprises. REDF is the only philanthropy in the United States that invests exclusively in social enterprises focused on employment. They advise and connect enterprises, and help them measure their impact so they can grow to serve more people. Before our work together, REDF already had existing expertise, tools, and resources that help social enterprises create jobs. However, REDF’s practice - funding and consulting with individual capacity building organizations - wasn’t a scalable model. They needed a way to help their target market, the social entrepreneurs starting and running these organizations, acquire the skills, knowledge, and resources they needed quickly and easily.
APPROACH We started our work with REDF with a research and planning phase, followed by an iterative and agile design and development process.
We first surveyed and built an inventory of the services and tools that we could consider digitizing. Many of the services and tools were ill-defined, so we spent time with REDF prototyping many of the services and tools as Excel spreadsheets. We then identified commonalities among the services and tools, and catalogued and prioritized the tools by difficulty and importance. Moving into the process of building, we wrote user stories and began user experience design, interface design, and development. Our UX, UI, and development teams, designed and built the system together - iteratively and in phases. Our designer team researched and user tested features all along the way.
We co-created a beautiful, responsive mobile optimized web app that is equipped with tools, shared resources, and community features. Some key highlights of the platform include:
Mobile First Given that over half of browsing occurs on mobile devices, we focused on making REDF Workshop a fantastic experience across devices. We carefully considered each design element across platforms to create a single, unified result - no matter the device. We used a “Pattern Library” - a deconstructed set of design elements that allow us to easily prototype out new features or elements. This allows us to move quickly while maintaining consistency and quality across the platform, since every little design detail has been thought of already. We would be happy to further demonstrate how pattern libraries work upon request.
Dynamic Community Our platform for REDF allowed users to share their needs and interests, search for other users who shared a similar profile, and then connect. The target user base for REDFWorkshop.org is aspiring social entrepreneurs who require access to foundational tools, knowledge, and community in order to realize their vision for change. Since our users come from various demographics, we also extended the platform to accommodate multiple languages.
Engaging Educational Content We created a front-end design framework to showcase many different types of content, including articles, speakers, downloads, and videos. We designed and built this content library on the robust and scalable Wordpress CMS.
Custom Backend We then integrated the CMS with a Ruby on Rails backend to create a custom application that allowed users to associate their favorite pieces of instructional content with their account.