We work from concept to specification, and all that tough stuff in between. We’re only satisfied when we have helped people  realize their goals.



We define and design products, systems, and websites for consumer and professional use, as well as websites both complex and simple. Our ethnographic research methods reveal what’s at stake for user populations, executives, marketers, and technologists—fueling insight into product strategy, system architecture, interaction design, visual design, and content strategy. We come up with plenty of big ideas, but we also know it’s all in the execution. Our experience with agile and hybrid programming organizations helps get the job done. We can also come to the table with our own development resources.



Catabolic defines brands and designs identity systems for organizations, products, and networks. Our brand service distills customer expectations, product roles, and service experiences into meaningful action. Our identity services include logos, websites, and collateral, as well as messaging platforms such as audience differentiation, elevator pitches, and lexicons that provide frameworks for content strategy.



We excel at developing multitalented design teams that are creative, systematic, and productive. We work with managers to grow design departments so they can better define and meet the design needs of their organizations. We have also spent considerable time with scientists developing new ways to blend design thinking with clinical research methods to yield valuable insight.

Economic cultivation of the perfect stretch of grass

The best superintendents have a near mystical sense of the potential every moment holds for the health of their golf courses. Turf management is as much science as art, however, requiring mastery over several layers of physical and virtual technology that help ensure beautiful and highly playable grass.

When Toro decided to radically improve its industrial-strength irrigation control systems, the company knew its software would have to be as intuitive as the superintendents who would use it. We designed tools that not only make it easy to use information about past, current, and prospective conditions, but that also permit minute-to-minute control and “what-if” planning.

The new desktop and mobile design was created to help turf managers lay down the right amount of water anywhere on a massive golf course through efficient use of thousands of electronic sprinklers, sensors, and other infrastructure elements. This made possible a control system that can be used to manage year-round growth of lush and resilient grass in harsh climates over varied terrain with little waste. Performed as part of Cooper.

North Shore Jewish-Long Island Health System
A new digital experience for a dynamic health system
North Shore Jewish-Long Island Health System North Shore Jewish-Long Island Health System North Shore Jewish-Long Island Health System

Like many large businesses, North Shore Jewish-Long Island Health System had outgrown their web presence. Catabolic, in partnership with Cooper, designed a new digital experience for NS-LIJ’s fifty thousand staff and the seven million people in its service area. Research taught us that clarity and calm are what people need most when weighing treatment options and sorting out bills. These insights, and those shared by NS-LIJ’s Digital Marketing team, now underpin a new content strategy, information architecture, and page design that serve visitors while radically simplifying navigation options. On top of it we created a new visual design that expresses the health system’s brand in a compelling and engaging fashion, even as it better frames answers to the important questions people bring to the site.

The result is a new website that works as great as it looks, designed to satisfy those who turn to the system for healthcare, employment, and business opportunities.

Helping doctors, health seekers, and researchers learn together

The Collaborative Chronic Care Network is a learning health system with design at its heart. By making it possible for care providers, health seekers, and researchers to create and share new knowledge in real time, the C3N is what the new model of care looks like.

With five-year funding from the National Institutes of Health, we helped ensure that C3N’s online and offline elements promoted meaningful relationships between those working in clinics and pediatric patients and families at home.

Among other initiatives we designed Orchestra, which helps care providers and health seekers connect and share data between appointments. This mobile and web-based system makes it easy for patients to collect and visualize health information over time, while supplying clinicians the tools they need to understand patient populations and identify opportunities for improving care.

A care management system for driving down costs and improving outcomes

OPENHealth Central provides health seekers and care providers alike with an effective means to organize and use healthcare information. Having earned an honorable mention in the government’s Blue Button Challenge, this service concept helps patients make and prepare for medical appointments, keep track of prescriptions, and decode lab results. It also encourages patients to work with care providers to set and reach goals through tailored care plans that offer both medical and lifestyle recommendations.

The result? Health seekers become more active participants in their own care in close collaboration with their care providers. OPENHealth Central also helps doctors and nurses provide better care to each patient while also doing more effective population management. Performed as part of Lybba.

Shedding light on vital decisions at the heart of patient care

Healthcare is too vital to leave entirely to doctors and researchers. After all, patients with complicated diseases often possess data and insights nobody else has. What if it was easy to collect, display, and share such information?

Sage Bionetworks turned to Catabolic to make the web-based FA Health Tracker to help people with Fanconi Anemia track and visualize measures and trends in their test results, and to participate in periodic health surveys. The objective? Improve individual outcomes while ultimately informing clinical research.

Bone marrow transplants are of primary concern to those with Fanconi Anemia, a condition that is rare as it is grave. Catabolic designed and built the FA Health Tracker so patients and caregivers can better anticipate the need for such procedures. Caregivers already collect a tremendous number of health measures from sources in a rangeof data formats. 
By making it easy to collect and organize these historical data, the first version of FA Tracker will shed light on decisions critical to Fanconi Anemia care.

Taming Big Data for the Industrial Internet

Long before the promotion of the Internet of Things, the process industries were deploying software to depict the most complex of operations. This Industrial Internet is now getting a boost by companies like Seeq Corporation, which accelerates industrial process analytics in support of better strategic and tactical business decisions.

Seeq’s first release makes available vast troves of heterogeneous time-series data with a click of a mouse. The product’s primary value comes into focus when users realize the grace with which it tames these complex, dynamic, and interdependent data landscapes, making interrogation of processes possible in ways never before imagined.

Seeq turned to Catabolic to help shape the software, with the objective of making it useful and compelling to users and potential purchasers alike. Working closely with Seeq product leaders, Catabolic framed the solution so that users have a coherent, valuable, and easeful experience. We worked out interface and interaction patterns through rapid design sprints and defined a visual style that makes it easier to gain, retain, and share insights.

Interaction design

At the core of our approach is Goal-Directed® design, an interaction design method we sometimes practice in partnership with Cooper. Equal parts methodical and creative, our design teams work closely with executives, marketers, and technologists to ensure broad-based support for new directions.


We start by immersing ourselves in your domain, business drivers, and technology. We conduct qualitative and quantitative research into the needs and situations of those who will use our designs.

From our research we develop personas, which reveal the values of people and the goals that drive their behavior. The big wins come here: developing product and systems strategies, and creating products, systems, and websites around what people really need, in light of advances in technology and business concepts.


Here we generate scenarios that point toward new and better ways for people to realize their aims. This approach shapes the product concept in ways that involve all stakeholders, while bringing to ground behaviors and requirements that meet and anticipate business and user needs.

We then organize these requirements around situations in which users will find themselves, which helps ensure products deliver pleasurable and powerful experiences.


We use our design talents to translate requirements into elegant, effective, and appealing solutions. We iterate the design until it satisfies functional and content requirements, business objectives, human goals, and brand values.

Depending upon the capabilities of the software development team, we specify the appearance and behavior of the product in detail so they have a blueprint from which to work. We love collaborating with product managers and engineers all the way through testing and launch, and we can bring to bear our own development resources in some cases.

Brand & identity

We conjure the essence of brands through a creative process that starts with discovery and synthesis. Then we create an identity system comprising visuals, content, and other design elements that are distinctive, compelling, and authentic.

Brand represents the personality and character of your organization, product, or service. Like people, brands change over time as a result of hard-earned experience, shifts in culture, and new ideas.


Whose attention do you wish to attract? What do they see in you? Where do relationships start and where can they go?

We begin our work by learning how you see the world and where you’re headed. We want to know what you stand for, what your brand promise is, and how that promise influences decisions, communications, and action. We conduct immersive interviews with insiders and outsiders. We dig into analytics and pore over documents, websites, event plans, and the rest. We look for communications complexities, visual and messaging incongruities, and new patterns of audience engagement.


Symbolic thinking is key to synthesis, which is at the core of brand and design. The symbols that represent brands are archetypal, drawn from a handful of recurring cultural motifs. We associate your brand with an archetype that helps unify voice, defines calls-to-action, and describes the brand’s essence in vivid terms useful for all brand touch points.

Key to our approach is a stakeholder brand workshop that employs images and associations to reveal the personality and character of your brand, qualities unconsciously held but rarely articulated.


Starting with a well-defined brand, we design an identity system that manifests the personality and values of the organization. We craft logos, color palettes, typography, photographic styles—whatever gets the job done. We go on to compose a messaging platform using language that people will value and use.

Finally, we create a beautiful and compelling identity system that includes websites, social media, presentation and documentation templates, business cards, meeting collateral, and the like.



David leads Catabolic. He started off as an interaction designer at Cooper where he went on to lead the consulting practice for many years, bringing the Goal-Directed® design method into the mainstream of software product development. Most recently he served as executive director of Lybba, a health-care design nonprofit.

He has created design organizations, trained and mentored designers, and led many successful consumer and industrial product and communications projects. He holds patents on an award-winning webbook, and he has a degree from UC Santa Cruz. He is a regular blogger for Interactions.

David lives on a creek in Oakland, and at the end of each day he walks along its banks hoping to spot a mountain lion.



Eden is a senior interaction designer and product strategist at Catabolic. She brings extensive experience in design research, as well as management and design of both web and mobile environments. She is conversant in fields such as healthcare, social networking, gaming, education, and entertainment. Before Catabolic, Eden led the Interaction Design and Product groups for Viacom’s social networking tier and served as User Experience and Product Strategist for Lybba.

Eden earned her BA in philosophy from Cal State Northridge and is a member of the American Philosophical Association, the Horror Writer’s Association, and the Scrum Alliance, where she holds a certification as Scrum Master.