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We’ve written 23 blog posts about Community. View all topics »

  1. Creating Things Just for Fun

    It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of researching and strategizing wonderfully thought out websites. Sometimes, it’s nice to cut loose and create things just for fun, away from the computer screen. Thus, our monthly Happy Cog Handcrafted Challenge (HCHC) was born.

    February was its inaugural month, and I led the effort. I wanted to take things back to elementary school and do an anonymous valentine exchange (though, I used the term “valentine” loosely—really just any card stuffed in an envelope would do).

  2. You Might Need jQuery

    2/27/14

    by Cat Farman

    0 Responses

    jQuery: Maybe you’ve heard of it. If not, may I welcome you to the internet and introduce you to some cool websites? jQuery is a hugely popular JavaScript library that gives you an API to manipulate DOM elements easily, handle events, AJAX your content, and create all the other cool features that make the web go ‘round. The scale of jQuery’s popularity is incredible; it’s used on over 80% of the most trafficked websites, and its CDN serves up over 500 million files a day.

  3. Chairman’s Message

    Never look back, Steve Jobs said, or maybe it was Bernie Madoff. But at this time of year, it is customary to look at where we’ve been, and take educated guesses about where we’re going.

    As web designers, we are in a time of new patterns. But we are making sense of these patterns and naming them. I traveled the world this year. Everywhere I went I heard the same four or five ideas.

    From Cardiff to Costa Mesa, in every business meeting and at every conference I attended, we all spoke of responsive websites, finding new design and approval processes, and the challenge of delivering great design and appropriate content to a continually expanding universe of devices.

  4. Re-cognition 2013

    It’s been a memorable year for us at Happy Cog. 2012 was big, but 2013 was even bigger, so we’re taking some time to reflect—both in our offices and here on Cognition.

    We welcomed 14 new people this year, making Happy Cog the largest group of talented, fun-loving folks it’s ever been. Some highlights from this year: launching websites for AMC Theatres, Black Hills Corporation (and its trio of utility sites), Yale School of Management, Harvard Business School, and Longwood Gardens; working with Iron Chef Jose Garces’ team to create a design system for its restaurant websites—and breaking into an industry we’ve been a fan of for quite some time; working with our friends at MTV on our third O Music Awards site and celebration; and collaborating with talented folks at Crush & Lovely to create a video about our work with Ben & Jerry’s.

  5. Doing It Our Way

    11/21/13

    by Greg Hoy

    0 Responses

    Ever since Jeffrey Zeldman founded Happy Cog in 1999, educating our industry has been a cornerstone of the company. Taking Your Talent to the Web, Designing With Web Standards, and A List Apart started this heritage, and over the years, Jeffrey has continued it with An Event Apart and the A Book Apart series. Happy Cog practitioners have built upon this foundation by teaching, speaking, and writing about web design.

  6. Progressive Enhancement: It’s About the Content

    In case you’ve missed it, there has recently been a lot of discussion in the web community around whether Progressive Enhancement, a cornerstone concept in web development, is still relevant. The discussion has been largely sparked by Sigh, JavaScript, a tumblr by Happy Cog alum (now of Super Friendly) Daniel Mall that showcases high-profile websites completely breaking when JavaScript is disabled. Screenshots of websites from brands like CNN, McDonalds, and Instagram are completely blank. Their content isn’t just unusable, it’s completely absent.

  7. Crossing the Threshold

    We’ve added a few new faces here at Happy Cog, and though I just recently celebrated my four-month Coggiversary, our rapid growth has me feeling a bit like a veteran rookie. Working without the “this is my first job!” crutch can be terrifying. So, I can’t help but wonder: Where’s the advice for us post-post-grads?

    There’s a slew of great industry articles aimed to help concerned college students or recent grads with how to “land that first big job” or “get your foot in the door,” but what happens once you’re already inside? Luckily, you are more prepared and confident this time around, and can apply the experience you’ve gained over the past few years.

  8. For Shame.

    Our profession’s affection for public shaming is well-documented.

    Following morning exercises atop the Bauhaus, Johannes Itten lined his students at rooftop’s edge, held aloft their previous day’s work, and, before a gathered crowd, publicly humiliated each of his young students. While students showed significant improvement and other instructors adopted Itten’s pedagogy, the practice came to an official end in 1928. Tragically, a student stepped over the edge when Itten, still storming through a particularly scathing admonishment, thundered that the boy “lacked contrast of soul.”

  9. Stand on One Foot and Other Public Speaking Tips

    7/11/13

    by Jenn Lukas

    0 Responses

    This is my last week at Happy Cog. I’ve coded a lot of websites in my six-plus years here, but I’ve also written and spoken a lot about coding websites. At Happy Cog, you are encouraged to put yourself out there and share what you know, which can be totally awesome, terrifying, and sometimes confusing. When I first started speaking, I, like many others, was in the “terrified” camp. I told this to my then-HC-co-worker, Dan Mall, and he said something along the lines of: “If you get nervous, stand on one foot.” Of course, I thought this was some kind of sure joke, but then he continued, “You’ll have to focus all of your efforts on not falling over that you’ll forget to be nervous.” Some of the best advice I’ve ever received.

  10. Those who teach, learn.

    At Happy Cog, we take pride in our work teaching others and sharing what we’ve learned. Whether by speaking at a conference, leading a class, or writing on this very blog, we’ve taught or shared our knowledge on best practices for web design and development, user experience design, business advice, and even the occasional informal primer on animated GIFs.

    When someone at Happy Cog tells me that they’re teaching a class for Girl Develop It or a local university, or a workshop at a conference, my first response to them is one of encouragement. Then, I say: The best way to get better at what you do is to teach others how to do it, too.

  11. Making Front-end Development a Team Sport

    “All code in any code-base should look like a single person typed it, no matter how many people contributed,” is one of the many ideas behind documents such as Rick Waldon’s Idiomatic JS and Nicolas Gallagher’s Idiomatic CSS.

  12. Invention is slow.

    By now you’ve probably seen Noah Stokes tweet assailing responsive web design’s command over aesthetic:

  13. Good work isn’t enough.

    When I was a young designer, I always asked other people how they got noticed for their work. The answer I most consistently received was “do good work.” Now, when people ask me the same question, I respond with the same answer. Good work always speaks for itself. It’s a self-promoting robot.

  14. Blue Beanie Day – Celebrate You!

    A funny thing happened on the way to the multi-device world we design and live in. The web standards movement happened.

  15. Elevating the Podium

    Design conferences are complicated beasts. They are weeklong marathons and single-day sprints. They are hotel ballroom affairs and intimate gatherings. They teach new skills and polish old ones. They appeal to the novice, expert, academic, and hipster alike. And, to add to their intricacy, depending on the marketing angle, we call them symposiums, conventions, festivals, and even the casual [insert word here]-cons.

  16. If you could learn anything, what would it be?

    9/20/12

    by Jenn Lukas

    8 Responses

    This can be absolutely anything. Go ahead and think about it for a minute. I recently posed this question at my dConstruct talk (slides / audio) a couple of weeks ago and received a variety of answers. Learning a new language was a popular response. So was learning how to cook, garden, ski, and do “The Robot.”

  17. On Forgotten Alumni and Cold Pleas for Cash

    Like many of you, I’m a busy person, yet it’s important that I find time for the occasional phone call to Mom and Dad. A typical phone conversation with my Mom starts like this:

    Me: “Hi Mom, it’s me. How are you doing?”

  18. Please Put Down the Device & Let’s Just Talk

    Warning, if you are reading this in a meeting STOP! Put down your mobile device or laptop and slowly lift your head and eyes upward until you see (and hear) the person speaking!

  19. The Gift of Giving

    12/15/11

    by Jenn Lukas

    8 Responses

    One of the interesting things about being in front-end development and the open web is that once you publish your website, anyone can see your work. Whether you use Firebug or Web Inspector or good old View Source, you can view everything I do in a quick click. This has always been one part terrifying to me (I swear those extra spans were the CMS WYSIWYG’s idea) and three parts awesome. As someone who loves web standards and the idea of creating a better web for all, I think it’s radical to share what we do with each other. If you threw all of our code from the interwebs into one big room, it would be one heck of a learning party.

  20. Attack of the Client Services Zombies

    Khoi Vinh recently shared some inspiring insights on the evolution of opportunities for design professionals in the digital realm in a post entitled The End of Client Services. He has, as of the time of this publishing, since revisited and revised his thoughts. If you haven’t read these posts, you should, because it’s good stuff. I’ll wait.

  21. Building Community

    I have the very great fortune to review and discuss some amazing client projects in my role with Happy Cog. In my short time here, I’ve seen some truly ambitious community-based initiatives proposed. Across the board, they each seem to identify an interesting need in the market; but the projects that stand out are those that have thought through cultivating the community they hope to build. A community without members is sad.

  22. Wish Upon a ★

    The year 2010 was a wild one for the web. It saw the release of the iPad and all of the subsequent great ideas and discussion about flexible design approaches. HTML was cool again (the cinco!). Twitter got a major overhaul and Facebook got between 35 and 268 small facelifts. It was as if millions of bookmarks cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced when rumor had it delicio.us was disappeari.ng. In fact, someone apparently took the web’s pulse and pronounced it DOA!

  23. Happy-Libs: We’re All In It Together

    12/16/10

    by Jenn Lukas

    23 Responses

    No matter what field we specialize in, each of us faces common day-to-day responsibilities, tasks, and expectations of awesomeness at our jobs. Sometimes we might assume that people in different roles don’t face the same challenges; however, when we break it down to the basics, it might surprise us how much we all have in common. See for yourself!