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  • December 18, 2014


Happy Cog Reflects on 2014

2014 has been a year of big change for Happy Cog. We’ve had more than a year’s worth of adventures packed into a short 12 months. One thing that remains a constant, however, is our team’s continual quest to explore and hone our roles; process; project structure; and approach to clients, partners, and coworkers. Cognition serves as our way of documenting and sharing our thoughts and discoveries with the world. Decorative Illustration

As we call a wrap on 2014, we reflect on what we have learned. Below are some final reflections on several of the top trafficked Cognition posts of 2014 (and a word from the infamous Joe Rinaldi).

3. Behold the Fold, by Sophie Shepherd

Brenna Heaps:
Although there have been countless articles highlighting various studies showing that the fold is a mythical concept and that people are both comfortable and accustomed to scrolling on the web, the argument continues. Sophie’s article highlights some of the most common concerns that we hear from our clients and then provides a simple explanation for each. The point isn’t to invalidate these concerns, but to provide the “defender of the fold” with context so that they understand the concepts.

The web is constantly changing and it’s our job to keep up with the times. Our clients hire us for our knowledge and guidance, as well as our compassion and ability to provide simplified explanations. In this case I think Sophie was talking to herself in a mirror or something, but she does a great job of explaining things to herself.

2. Why Developers Need to Learn Design, by Stephen Caver

Sophie Shepherd:
Stephen makes a lot of specific points in this article that I love, but what they all come down to is empathy. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes doesn’t only make you a better designer or developer—it makes you a better coworker, friend, and person. I love this quote: “It is impossible to collaborate effectively without a sense of empathy. It provides a sense of fellowship and enables better teamwork. Designers and developers should understand each others’ perspectives. With that understanding, we can work better together, sharing a single path to success.” Just replace the words Designers & Developers there and it relates to any industry or life situation. It’s a lesson we should all revisit again and again.

1. And They All Look Just The Same, by Greg Storey

Allison Wagner:
Ticky tacky web design. Too often, we as web designers scrape bells and whistles from “X Best of Y” linkbait articles and hot glue them to the web. As Greg so eloquently puts it

While our new post-Internet Explorer 6 world enables an amazing array of browser effects, the one tool we all need is constraint.

Designing for today’s zeitgeist is dangerous because things move too fast—pushing clients to think about a redesign before they’ve even launched. Do their content, business, and—most importantly—users a favor: honor their message on the web with carefully crafted design, not ticky tacky web design.


2014 has been an educational journey for Happy Cog and we’re excited to apply what we’ve learned in the next year. Leading that effort moving forward will be our own Joe Rinaldi, as he moves into a new position as President of Happy Cog.

“I’m grateful that my mentors Greg Hoy, Greg Storey, and Jeffrey Zeldman have prepared me for this opportunity. Without their support over the last four years and endorsement moving forward, I wouldn’t be ready to lead the Happy Cog team here in Philadelphia, and Austin, and Brooklyn, and Portland. Uncharacteristically, I don’t have a lot to say right now.

It is my responsibility to create an environment where our team can do their best work, with the best possible partners and colleagues. As a longtime student of Happy Cog I hope to draw on lessons learned from Happy Cog’s amazing alumni. As our current team’s biggest fan, I hope to squeeze every great idea out of them to evolve our organization in their image moving forward. Success in 2015 is a Happy Cog that is the sum total of the best we’ve been, added to the promise and potential of our current and future team. That’s what I’ll be doing instead of flapping my gums.

Lastly, I’m humbled by what the idea of Happy Cog means to many people in our industry. It’s a responsibility our entire team takes seriously. We benefit so much from our ongoing dialog with our friends and peers. We hope you’ll continue to share your ideas and opinions with us, and keep telling us what you think about ours.”

-Joe Rinaldi

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2015!

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