Starting with a design thinking framework, we assemble the best tools and process for each engagement. These methods have been tried, tested and refined. And allow us to rapidly deliver user-centred insights, prototypes, products and services.
All teams at Portable are multi-disciplinary, comprising researchers, producers, designers and developers. Service delivery occurs in the most agile way possible. When a team structured and working like this takes ownership of a project from start to end, the outcomes are desirable, viable and feasible products and services.
Our client work and internal R&D are backed by our own commitment to innovating our processes. We support the Australian Government’s Digital Service Standard with its focus on open-source, accessible, user-focused design and development. We’re a proud B-Corp. We’re ISO9001 compliant and certified.
The methodologies that guide our practice
Design is the process of solving problems with strategy and creativity. Human-centred design just means we consider people's needs and behaviour a higher priority than other objectives.
Co-design can be a philosophy, a practice and an event in time. We define it as an approach to design that actively involves all stakeholders — employees, partners, customers, experts, end users — to help ensure the result is feasible, viable and meets their needs.
Agile project management
Portable is adept at using agile project management techniques, and we regularly adapt them for fixed-cost projects. Clients take part in sprints, standups, showcases and retrospectives, and communication channels are always open.
Portable has procedures and principles to promote the highest standard of accessibility in our projects. Research and design activities aim to co-design the most inclusive products possible by consulting people with diverse backgrounds and abilities in the process.
Certification to the ISO 9001 Quality Management System standard means Portable has put an international-standard quality management standard at the core of its delivery, with a strict approval and testing framework, and full-time software QA team.
Monitoring and evaluation
Addressing social need and policy challenges means starting every project with a goal, a user and overall indicators to measure its impact. When designs go out in the world, we collect quantitative and qualitative feedback on its use and impact.
We tackle projects in three phases
The Define phase at Portable is where our design strategists, experience designers, and technologists look widely to explore problem spaces for the most important issues to solve, or evaluate user experiences with existing products or services. Even if we're not doing a 'Define Phase', these tools and activities are used at the start of pretty much all the work we do.
At Portable, the Design phase is where things really start to take shape. By putting the end-user at the centre when designing products or services, we get a community-driven and participatory approach to solving problems, which not only results in better solutions, but creates ownership among customers and internal stakeholders.
In the Deliver phase of our work, our in-house team of creative technologists and software engineers comes to the fore, using DevOps practices to collaborate and continuously integrate and deploy. Even before this stage, Portable's technical experts consult on projects from the start, in order to design systems, assess existing infrastructure, and select the best tools and languages to fit user needs, business requirements and budget.
We learn from an active internal R&D program
Self-initiated research and development in areas we care about
We have an active program of self-initiated research and development in areas we care about, think we can make positive change and use design to speculate on the future and create discussion. We use our R&D activities to hone our skills and capabilities in strategy, design research and emerging technology. We've worked in:
- access to justice
- government innovation
- death and ageing
- future of work
- rethinking not-for-profits
- taking back retail
- the new infrastructure