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Cognition

Articles

Past + present.

  1. The Latest

    Cognition Roundtable

    We’re bringing you this special edition of Cognition Roundtable, where Assistant PM Mica McPheeters speaks with our VP of Design Chris Cashdollar about the client’s role in design projects. Spend the next half hour with Chris, as he pulls inspiration from his upcoming presentation at HOW Interactive Design Conference in Washington, DC—“Reevaluating the Role of Your Client in the Design Process.” Specifically, he’ll cover:

  2. Fortitude 101: Surviving Deadlines and Protecting Passions

    I should have an office pony. Something straight out of Thelwell, with a bushy mane as wide as its body, sparkly-painted hooves, and short enough to use as a portable laptop stand. I’m convinced that this should (and will) happen one day. Just ask my coworkers how often “little horses” come up in conversations with me.

    I have a long list of “shoulds.” Most are pony-delightful, but not all of them; some like to sneak in and push my limits—the devious suckers. Those shoulds are the kind that adore instilling doubt, delaying decisions, and convincing us we need to incessantly reach and achieve and exhaust. It takes guts to tackle that kind of should. They play the long game, and they always seem to crop up during tests of our fortitude. They love to mess with our heads.

  3. Plan for the Unplanned

    Leading up to the design phase of a project, we devote a lot of thinking to setting the project’s core goals and requirements, as well as establishing a basic plan for how the project will flow. During this time, on my team, we ask as many questions as possible and learn as much as we can before we present a strategy to the client. In the end, everyone agrees on what the goals are, but how those goals will be realized is yet to be determined.

  4. Developers and Communication

    The ability to communicate well with non-technical people is what separates star developers from the rest. Star developers understand that other team members don’t need to know about implementation details. They’ve developed an understanding of the non-technical aspects of project work—things like requirements, risk, scope, client concerns, project timelines. They handle more than just the technical parts of a project with ease.

    It’s no secret that most developers have room to grow in the communication department. Even within the development world, back-end developers and front-end developers’ communication skills can range. We have a hard enough time communicating with each other about things like CMS implementation, template integration, CSS best practices… and we speak each other’s lingo! Forget about trying to explain things to non-technical folks. (By the way, you may know Happy Cog only for exceptional designers and front-end devs, but it’s worth mentioning we have a brilliant back-end development team too.)

  5. We know where passion comes into play and where to put it in check.

    One day a phone call came in from a large, amazing hospitality brand. They were preparing for their annual shareholder meeting and needed some environmental and wayfinding work done in a hurry. It was 2004 and I was a designer at a studio in Southern California. The studio was small, and the team was small, but we had a big passion for great work and cool brands. There wasn’t much that we couldn’t handle.

    Our passion for this particular project was pretty intense. We were collectively excited; not only by the type of work, but for the brand as well. Nights and weekends be damned, this project was going to kick ass. And it did — but not without its bumps in the road and small anxiety attacks. Communication started to breakdown and frustration started to take over. The client’s trust in our ability to see the project through started to evaporate.