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Cognition

Prototyping

We’ve written 8 blog posts about Prototyping. View all topics »

  1. Rethinking Our Prototypical Process

    When I started working at Happy Cog three years ago, deliverables fell neatly into two categories: design or code. In the design category, there was another clear division: UX design (wireframes) or graphic design (page comps). But then RWD came in and threw a spoke in the wheel. Since JPEGs only show a fraction of a responsive website, we needed to figure out new ways to communicate the design to move the project forward. We introduced HTML prototyping to replace traditional wireframes, and the lines between UX, graphic design, and front-end development blurred.

  2. Coding is Believing

    There’s something that’s hard for some of us web designers to just flat out admit: we stubbornly hate to code. I’m a designer, dammit. I live and breathe Creative Suite. Give me Photoshop or give me death. My former coding knowledge included two things: what a div is, and how to stylize my MySpace page (circa 2004).

    And without even realizing it, my attitude has changed, seemingly overnight.

    Within the past month, I have learned to build responsive, HTML wireframes using Foundation and Compass. The initial setup was enough to make me want to run away and join the circus. With the added confusion at first, it seemed like everything broke if I merely looked at my code the wrong way. But, with patience, coaching, and helpful documentation, it soon clicked—and with only a few tears shed along the way.

  3. Why We Prototype

    Making a website is more complicated than it used to be. We have to work around unanswerable questions, like at what dimensions the site will be viewed or how many pages it will have. As websites evolve and their list of variables and technical requirements grow, they become harder to define. Static wireframes and site maps can’t always capture this necessary level of detail without mountains of paper or endless annotations. Enter—stage left, waving like Miss America—the HTML prototype.

  4. The Happy Cog Way

    When Jeffrey Zeldman started our studio in 1999, he established an ethos of openness, sharing, and teaching. Since that time, Happy Cog practitioners have spoken at conferences, written articles, authored books, and published code for others in the industry to learn from our experiences—good and bad.

    Earlier this year, Happy Cog partnered with my publishing business, Mijingo, in an effort to share the knowledge of Happy Cog’s many team members and to teach, enable, and empower professionals in what we practice every day.

  5. The Design Cocoon

    Website redesign projects are not for the faint of heart. The path is filled with dangerous pitfalls and scary things—but also great wonders. Critical junctures in a project’s timeline can slow or even possibly derail. I’ve worked on small but smart ways to improve these periods from being abrupt stops and starts to being more seamless transitions.

  6. Re-cognition

    As we near the end of December, it’s pretty natural to begin to reflect on the past year. Cognition is the place where we share new processes and create a dialogue around new ideas. In the spirit of reflection and end-of-year lists, here are the top five trafficked Cognition posts of 2012 and some parting thoughts from an alternate point of view.

  7. Times, They Are A-changin’

    The process of making a website used to be like an assembly line. It was a series of hand-offs with each team member contributing his/her part before giving it up to the next person. Like a game of telephone, the same content was passed from person to person, and, at each step, it took a slightly new form. What started as a glimmer in a client’s eye became a sitemap, then a wireframe, then a Photoshop file, and eventually it became code that went to live in its final resting place, the browser.

  8. It’s Alive: Prototyping in the Browser

    In 1998, I built my first website. I hadn’t gone to college yet, and my professional goals had little to do with pursuing web design and a lot to do with playing in a rock band. While my peers were mowing lawns, washing cars, and frying things, I was curiously learning about HTML and attempting to share my efforts with the world. As my skills got sharper, I quickly realized that there were businesses out there that would actually pay me to do this… and it certainly beat having to get an afterschool job.