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  • December 20, 2012


Happy Cog reflects on the top 5 Cognition posts of 2012

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. Decorative Illustration

5. Ruh-Roh, I’m in a Design Rut. by Yesenia Perez-Cruz

Joe Rinaldi:
The point I think gets lost in YPC’s fantastic article is not waiting until you recognize you’re in a rut to do something about it. The trick is to always question why you’re doing something, ALWAYS. Even when you thinking you’re killing it. Especially when you think you’re killing it.

This lesson applies widely and liberally. In business development, I employ proposals, pitch decks, estimates, interviews, and various methods of correspondence to communicate with prospective clients. I could get cocky and start to think I’ve arrived at a successful process—that I have things “figured out.” The trick is not waiting until it’s too late, until you get stale.

Always question your own results, always improve, or die the death of a thousand paper cuts.

4. Before You Hit Send, a Few Honest Tips for Job-seekers by Chris Cashdollar

Brett Harned:
Finding a job can be really difficult, but being on the hiring side can be just as challenging. Chris’ article rang true for me as I continued on a year-long quest to build a team of top-notch project managers.

What’s funny is, I felt like I was dealing more with people “Underdoing it” when wading through emails upon emails of resumés. Honestly, I wanted to see a bit of character in emails and cover letters. The written word can be an important tool in reflecting your personality. After all, we’re hiring for skills and fit. If you’ve got a great personality but less experience, I’d be more willing to take the leap. Project Managers can be the shy guys or gals sitting behind the desk. In 2013, they should take the leap and get out there.

3. It’s Alive: Prototyping in the Browser by Patrick Marsceill

Anthony Colangelo:
As a developer, I love what prototyping has done to our project process. In the wireframe-led days, the process was a series of hand-offs, from wireframes, to design, to development. This divided, waterfall process led to gaps in communication between phases, mostly because there was no singular place for all phases to meet, collaborate, and plan. Sure, it could be done, but it could definitely be done better.

Enter the prototype: an iterative product that lives in our work’s natural environment. A prototype is the perfect blend of design and development thinking. It is a well-known, shared place for designers, developers, users, and everyone else involved to collaborate and communicate. It allows for easier communication between all project phases, and it will do wonders for your process.

2. The Four Stages of Giving up Photoshop by Sophie Shepherd

Kevin Sharon:
A cornerstone of our process at Happy Cog is that we have no cornerstone. From project to project, we approach things with an open mind about experimenting and trying out new things when it’s appropriate for the client.

Sophie’s article does a wonderful job of capturing one example of this approach. Keynote was a great tool for creating quick and dirty layouts for a variety of small and large screens for a project. Would I suggest using it again? I have, several times. Have designers told me, “Heck no. I have a better idea… “. Absolutely. And that is just one example of what makes this such a great place to work and collaborate.

1. Preprocess THIS by Allison Wagner

(part of a series that includes More or LESS)

Chris Cashdollar:
Evolution in our business is critical to success. It just so happens that 2012 was a drastic year of change in our industry and our agency. Consequently, not many stones in our quarry were left unturned–why should our CSS be excluded from the fun?

One thing I appreciated about Allison’s article was that no “adoption of the new” comes without a serious amount of deliberation. Her honesty and openness regarding her experience with preprocessors is refreshing, and the methods in which she is employing them in our agency are cross-discipline and collaborative. That means better communication. Less back-and-forth on internal QA? Check. Less hours spent on a project? Check. Happier developers and designers? Check.

Ah yes, I believe in evolution.

Why take the trip down memory lane? A second look at some of these posts can help determine what worked and what didn’t. If you missed one of these articles this year, we hope some of these ideas prove useful. If you’re interested in seeing specific topics covered next year, let us know – we’d love to hear from you.

Happy Holidays, and we’ll see you in the new year!

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