Responsible Design

Our Principles:

  1. Embrace a return to the true beginnings of human factors engineering: ergonomics. As defined by the International Ergonomics Association: Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.
  2. Emphasize the “human well-being” part of ergonomics practice and develop a systematic model of evaluating well-being that may work with commonly-used usability testing and interface development methods.
  3. Embark upon a skills-building campaign using this discipline for youth in both the developed and developing world.
  4. Evolve the disciplines and skills within the context of disadvantaged societies so that it becomes a practice inherent within their own product development life cycle.

Marine Craft


Coldwater Industrial Design is bringing the craft and lifelong skills it takes to build small watercraft to inner-city youth in Baltimore. Not only are young people learning about how to create a wooden sailboat, kayak or paddleboard, they will actually participate in the iterative evolution of designs, test their theories, and experience hands-on computer-aided design (CAD) methods.

We are using proven designs by some of the best (and local) naval architects, as well as prototyping and testing our own variations. Our own designs are open-source, and will be made available to schools that want to experiment and improve upon them.

Our Line of Wooden Boats

  • Kayaks
  • Dories
  • Paddleboards


Our Future

One of our goals is to open a waterfront shop in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor where craft can be purchased, rented or used in a time-share arrangement. Coldwater Industrial Design hopes to have a completely youth-run customer-facing operation that bridges communities in one of the most vibrant and expanding parts of the city.

Solar Innovations

Our Marshine Solutions is creating a program that will bring the wonder of engineering and interplanetary habitation to the developing world.  Utilizing STEM topics and 3-D printing, educational competitions will advance our solar panel cleaning prototypes. Next stop, Mars!


The Marshine system arose out of direct witness of solar panel systems in sub-Saharan Africa. There, solar panels are often situated atop high poles where cleaning from the ground is impossible. The inaccessible solar arrays, along with the prevalence of thick, red dust and scant rain, creates a situation where panels quickly become obscured. Dusty panels = lower electricty output. Automated systems that utilize electricity or a fixed water supply are not workable, and thus the idea for Marshine was born.

Why Marshine?

  1. The system is inexpensive and uses no electricity
  2. The system does not have to be connected to a permanent water supply
  3. The system can be expanded to use electrical pumps and water supply, in the future
  4. Marshine is meant to improve the lives of rural people in sub-Saharan Africa, while proving the concept in a dusty environment (like Mars!)
  5. Marshine is meant to foster developing world people’s’ interest in space habitation and connect them with the international goal of going to Mars
  6. Marshine is meant to fuel developing world’s interest in 3-D printed materials (such as the system’s nozzle), and allow for indigenous teams of students to experiment with designs for optimization
  7. Feedback from teams of students that optimize portions of the Marshine system is brought back to refine the overall product
  8. A wonderful reuse for plastic drink bottles has been found!

Student Involvement

The core of Marshine’s program lies in the STEM activities it creates through challenges at the local school level. Together with partners in the 3-D printing industry, students will be able to compete to create better system parts through the open-source library of designs. Winning submissions are printed and tested through a traveling workshop that provides 3-D printing and instruction. Best in breed designs make their way to Mars.

Technical Services

Human factors field testing of technical devices and processes.

“Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.”  – – International Ergonomics Association

Where’s the Love?

Love for a system that compliments your workflow is an output of optimizing human well-being and overall product performance. When you work with a system, whether it is through a control on a laser, or a text field on a form, you can come to love or hate it. The object, of course, is to love it.

When a product fits your workflow, becoming almost transparent, you explore more with it and find new and unexpected ways to integrate it into your life. Productivity increases. New and wonderful experiences emerge. Worlds can change.

The Serious Stuff

Humans behave in fairly predictable ways. Except when they don’t. That being said, given heuristic evaluation and applying “first principles” of design, systems must be tested with real people in their real environment. We want people to love our products, but we want to behave ethically, promote safety and improve decision-making. We can do this through the right application of interaction patterns, color, space, typography and information display.

Coldwater Industrial Design specializes in the field testing, user experience research, evaluation and design for the following:

  • Real and Near-Real Time Information Architecture and Display
  • Logistics and Supply-Chain Device and Interaction Design
  • Medical Software and Device Usability Evaluation and Design
  • Financial Systems Information Evaluation and Design


Requirements Gathering and Analysis

This is a critical stage of any project. Clients may have requirements “in hand” from various sources, or there might only be a notional concept of what is required. Coldwater Industrial Design will assist with determining what are the “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves,” as well as uncover some of the hidden assumptions from or about the end user. A small project such as a simple Web site or application can take from one to two weeks, and a detailed requirements analysis document (User Requirements Specification) will be presented, complete with Use Cases.

Rate: $150USD/hour

Usability Evaluation of Static Design

Typically, a Web site or series of prototype user interface screens, forms or wireframes is evaluated and detailed recommendations for interaction, transition and preservation of context are presented. At this stage, the client is usually in the Design stage, after Requirements Gathering and Analysis has been completed. Small sites or a few (4-5) screens take about one week for evaluation, on average.

Rate: $120USD/hour

User Experience Design

During the Design stage of a project or within an iteration (for you Agile teams), rapid prototyping of interactive patterns needs to be created. Usually, this takes the form of low-to-medium-fidelity screens and interactive presentations that mimic a user’s “flow” within a system. Higher-fidelity prototypes can be created, which can also be used for quick usability testing within this cycle. The length of time varies for this particular phase, and may be dictated by the engineering team’s constraints. Coldwater Industrial Design will work closely with you to keep end-user design a part of your development lifecycle.

Rate: $160-200/hour (depending upon desired fidelity of delivered design assets)

Ergonomic Evaluation

After Design, and sometimes before and during Implementation of any product, there may be a real need to see it in the hands of the end-user. This may be a series of forms on a screen or a handheld device in the outdoors. Regardless of the project, the best way to evaluate any user experience is in their environment, with real tasks. Detailed Requirements Gathering and Analysis, beforehand, is essential, as Use Cases are created to drive this task evaluation in the field. On average, an ergonomic evaluation can be done in a week at the end-user’s location or even remotely using various methods.

Rate: $200/hour

Use Case and Test Case Evaluation/Creation

Typically, during the Requirements Gathering and Analysis phase, Use Cases are created. This can actually happen at any time, and in the current Agile climate, it might occur during an iteration or sprint. The central idea is to create logical courses of action that accommodate a reasonable set of “what-ifs.” For example, a Basic Course of Operations might detail how a Web form will respond to user inputs; an Alternate Course of Action might outline what happens on that form when connectivity to the network is lost. Use Cases can often become Test Cases (hooray for recycling!); a very useful item for your Quality Control teams and testers.

Rate: $150/hour

Who We Are

We create a path toward STEM and trades skills for inner-city youth in Baltimore, Maryland USA and abroad. Coldwater Industrial Design is committed to not only creating purposeful products, but purposeful relationships as well. Our boat-building services, solar innovations and technical consulting is built upon doing what is right for the city and the planet. …And beyond.