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Cognition

collaboration

We’ve written 18 blog posts about collaboration. View all topics »

  1. Going Off Script

    I have a confession to make: I was a theatre nerd in high school. The heights of my nerdom were reached when I joined an improv troupe that was aptly named “Awkward”—a ragtag bunch of 16-year-olds literally making it up as we went along. Perhaps you remember our renowned performances at the local Chick-fil-A?

  2. What Will They Say About Me?

    For most of my life, I’ve subscribed to the #zerof*cks mentality. I rarely cared about what people said or thought. I was a real maverick. Ahem, jerk. I broke rules, I did whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and nothing got in the way. Nobody mattered but me and the awesome things I wanted to do. Anyone who did get in the way got trampled (sorry about that). It worked out pretty well – for a while. I managed to align myself with a group of similar people who all wanted the same things out of life. That all changed when I got a ‘real’ job and began taking life seriously

  3. A Tale of Two Launches

    We’ve launched two projects with NYIT and Philly.com in two weeks and it’s got me feeling reflective. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of a launch, especially when I’m so very pleased with the results, but a faithful launch isn’t always certain.

  4. Distributed yet synchronized

    I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Brooklyn with four of my coworkers. An all-day client workshop was the reason for the visit but we also squeezed in my first employee review (over tagliatelle, no less) and a team dinner. I spend most of my days away from the Philly office, working in my studio in Baltimore. So it’s refreshing (and fun) to see my colleagues in person.

  5. Cautious collaboration

    I’m back in the office today with my head aswim with ideas after attending Owner Summit in Atlanta this past week. One of the topics on everyone’s mind was collaboration.

  6. From the Classroom to the Office

    10/15/15

    by Amanda Buck

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    As a new Happy Cogger (today is my four-month workiversary), I am slowly but surely adjusting to my new role and schedule. Before joining Happy Cog, I spent two years as a Graphic Design MFA student at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Two years of trying new things, advancing my skills, and writing and researching. Despite now working outside of an academic context, that doesn’t mean my education has ended. It’s just shifted focus. The following are ways my education has evolved during this transition from graduate school to professional practice.

  7. Coglaboration

    Like many agencies, Happy Cog works with strategic partners and freelance professionals to supplement resources or to utilize their unique skills for internal or external project work. Finding people you can trust is not always easy.

  8. Channeling Your Back-end Developer

    You’ve heard the assertion before: Designers should learn how to code. Reading through the many articles and comments on the topic, this discussion has focused predominantly on front-end development. Yes, comps fail to capture behavior and the in-betweens that bring your responsive designs to life, but crucially, front-end code isn’t the only step to actualizing your designs. Even if your coded styles remain faithful to your design intent, it’s your content that will put that design to test. If you care about the way content should look in your designs, you should also care about the logic that powers it.

  9. The Detail-less Project Plan

    The meeting started 15 minutes ago and all I can think about is how humane cyanide might be at this point in time. If the look in our project team’s eyes are any indication, oh wait, I can’t see their eyes, because they’re rolling back into their heads as the project manager calls everyone’s attention to task 231, WBS ID 2.3.5!

  10. Leaving the Nest

    A few months ago I was asked to assist leading some moderated qualitative usability testing sessions. I’ll be honest: I had little-to-no experience speaking with users, so at the start of the project I didn’t feel like I was fully equipped for the task. The idea of being in a room with someone I didn’t know for an hour and guiding them through a handful of scenarios to validate our design didn’t sound as good as one of my typical design days. However, I knew it would be a good learning experience and said I’d help out.

  11. Switch Design

    On almost all projects at Happy Cog, there is usually one design lead who oversees the work from the initial concept to the QA’d, browser-tested, final product. Other designers may step in to help with production or provide guidance, but for the most part, one designer owns it.

  12. Artful Matchmaking: Client to Process

    9/18/14

    by Abby Fretz

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    Over the course of hundreds of projects, project managers develop a very real sense while trying to build a perfect project plan that we are architects pulling from a tried-and-true collection of building blocks. But, (and this is a big but—I cannot lie) tried-and-true can be blinding. Though some client teams and projects seem to closely resemble past experiences, every client is unique, and there are countless combinations of project requirements and team personalities.

  13. 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:

  14. 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.

  15. Taking the Local

    A prospective client recently raised the (periodic) concern that our team wasn’t in close proximity to their headquarters. My reply was thorough: “We have two locations ourselves; successfully working remotely is in our DNA.” “We have a track record of working with clients all over North America and abroad, and a laundry list of client testimonials and references.” “Even when we work with a client in Philadelphia or Austin (where we’re based), those projects behave the same way as when we work with a client in South Dakota. Our process is location-agnostic.” Etc. etc. etc.

    The client seemed to appreciate my response, but in the end, they chose a local firm instead. I missed my opportunity to win that particular project, but the next time our proximity to clients comes into question, I’ll have a different response. My answer should have been simple, concise.

  16. Designing with a (Performance) Budget

    Lately, the web industry has been focusing on ways to improve performance—specifically, by applying the idea of a “performance budget.” A performance budget involves establishing a target page weight (usually in kilobytes), and then making sure no single page exceeds that value. While sticking to this number may seem like a developer’s burden to bear, as Mark Perkins puts it, “performance is everyone’s problem.” As a designer, it’s important to keep your budget in mind throughout your entire process—all the way from discovery through implementation. When both designers and developers work closely to set and stick to a budget, a sweet spot will emerge where neither performance or design will be compromised.

  17. Why Developers Need to Learn Design

    A couple of years ago at Happy Cog, I transitioned from my position as a designer to a developer full-time. Up to that point, I had been a hybrid designer and developer, splitting my time between the two responsibilities. The truth is that it was a long-overdue transition. My passion lies in the development side of the spectrum, so I am glad to be in a role where I get to express that passion full-time.

    I no longer design all day every day, but my experience as a designer taught me that developers should learn and practice design. The trope is often that designers need to learn to write code, but in working as a developer on the web, I’ve learned that the value of a design education pays dividends beyond being able to mock up a page in Photoshop.

  18. War on Spec

    Some agencies adhere to the mantra “you get the clients you deserve.” If that’s the case, clients also get the results they deserve—especially when they hire based on spec. This past year, I watched two projects implode after they landed with other agencies who provided spec work in the sales process. I’m not typically a sore loser, but if you hire a partner based off of spec work, you’re digging your own grave.