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Defining our industry's methodologies, standards, and culture have long been a part of Happy Cog's values.

We started Cognition as a product to offer advice, create a dialogue, and serve our industry and clients to help them with their goals and aspirations.

Learn more about Happy Cog at happycog.com.

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    Writing to Remember

    Headshot of Ryan Irelan

    10/27/11

    by Ryan Irelan

    For the last 5 ½ years, I’ve worked from home. So except for the occasional on-site meeting, almost all of my meetings have been done on the phone. If you were a fly on the wall in my office during a phone meeting, you’d see me with my head down scribbling notes while listening, scribbling notes while talking, and even asking for a moment so I can take more notes.

    During in-person meetings, I also try to take as many notes as possible. I often scribble notes while others are talking, and if I’m the one doing the talking—or if the discussion is a fast paced back-and-forth—I try to jot down as much as I can during breaks in the conversation. Sometimes I’m able to pen a few keywords in the middle of conversations that I can go back to later (during a break, perhaps) and elaborate on so as to not forget the most salient information.

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    Jared Spool: The Cognition Interview

    Headshot of Kevin Hoffman

    10/20/11

    by Kevin Hoffman

    Jared Spool is one of the most influential design research professionals working in the field of user experience design today. I first saw Jared speak about his work at the SXSW Interactive conference five years ago, and I haven’t thought about my work the same way since. I’ve seen him speak at dozens of events and I find myself rapt with attention every single time. His brilliant insights have transformed the way many think about designing digital experiences and his ideas always seem to occupy a jovial environment that balances sound research with a sharp wit. He is a one of a kind mix of entertainer, academic, and pragmatist. I’m incredibly grateful for his contributions to the field and consider myself very fortunate to enjoy his company from time to time.

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    Knowledge is Power

    Headshot of Mark Huot

    10/13/11

    by Mark Huot

    Earlier this year I started the P90X workout regimen. The program is 90 days long and emphasizes “muscular confusion” through a variety of cross-training exercises. Throughout the program, Tony, your lovable yet demanding trainer, reminds you again and again to write down how many reps you do. Whether it’s 10 pull ups, 30 squats, or 15 push ups, you’ll be reminded to “write it down” each and every time. It gets monotonous, sure. It seems silly at first, yes. But in the end it’s probably the single best way to ensure you get the most out of the program. The worksheets are designed for quick comparisons of your success. With these worksheets, it’s easy to track your progress over time and see that your upper body is getting stronger or that your lower body is remaining stagnant, for example. With this information, you’ll know what areas need work and what areas need rest.

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    Follow That Requirement

    Headshot of Dave DeRuchie

    10/6/11

    by Dave DeRuchie

    If you’ve taken part in any sort of web project, you have hopefully defined, referenced, and/or tested a requirement. You’ve also felt the impact of requirements gathering on your work. A good requirement can make your job easier by taking the mystery out of what is needed. A bad requirement can lead to more work, or even wasted effort. I explored how to mine for detailed requirements in Questioning (the) Authority. In the year since I wrote that article, I’ve wrestled with how to manage the natural evolution of business requirements to functional requirements as you progress through a project. How do you create traceable requirements?

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    Escape the Fear Factory

    Headshot of Chris Cashdollar

    9/29/11

    by Chris Cashdollar

    With my Pittsburgh roots comes a 30+ year fandom of the NHL hockey team the Pittsburgh Penguins. But one of my favorite Pens memories didn’t happen during a game; it was actually a text message. A message sent by owner and legendary player, Mario Lemieux, to the team and coaches before decisive game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals.

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    Patience and Fortitude

    Headshot of Jeffrey Zeldman

    9/22/11

    by Jeffrey Zeldman

    A short dozen blocks north of Happy Cog’s New York studio, two famous stone lions sculpted by Edward Clark Potter guard the entrance to The New York Public Library at 42nd Street. The lions were originally named for the library’s private backers, the Astor and Lenox families. But in the 1930s, New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia renamed the two lions “Patience” and “Fortitude,” because those were the qualities New Yorkers would need to survive the Great Depression. This was back in the days when elected officials gave a damn about the people, and when they could use a three-syllable word without fear that citizens would brand them as over-educated or French. But I digress.

  7. Shiva

    Turn On the Da Kine, Yeah?

    Headshot of Greg Storey

    9/15/11

    by Greg Storey

    In the last six years I’ve done a fair amount of business travel. On occasion, there have been a few memorable trips due to the flight (Nashville, I don’t know how you deal with that kind of turbulence), the destination, the clients (like good old “Poet’s Eye”), or just the circumstances of our meeting. The last two years have been especially busy and I’ve built up a good catalog of stories from experiences on the road from Lansing to Birmingham, Bend to Boston, and beyond.

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    Flattery is overrated

    Headshot of Greg Hoy

    9/8/11

    by Greg Hoy

    My business partner Jeffrey Zeldman once said, “Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop.” I smell what he’s cooking, but on a practical level, people who build websites should start taking the protection of their work seriously and stop complaining on Twitter when they find out someone ripped them off. Myself included.

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    Fix Recruiting

    Headshot of Joe Rinaldi

    9/1/11

    by Joe Rinaldi

    A recruiter emailed me recently. I was selected for a role because I had experience with the software “Adobe”… Recruiters. Such a disaster. AMIRITE?!?!?

    Hold on there, let’s pump the brakes on the generalizations a bit. Recruiters, like designers or developers or content strategists, hail from a variety of backgrounds, have a wide range of capabilities, and deliver varying degrees of value and results. For many people, a relationship with a recruiter is the catalyst for opportunities that reshape a career.

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    2011 SXSW Panel Picker

    Headshot of Joe Rinaldi

    8/25/11

    by Joe Rinaldi

    The South By Southwest Panel Picker has launched for SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX from March 9-13, 2012! Happy Cog and our panelist partners are thrilled to offer nine panels for your consideration. From design to project management and client services to user experience, there are wonderful conversations across a broad range of topics waiting to be had.

    User voting has a tremendous impact on the panel selection process. Our panel proposals are outlined here for your consideration. If you see something you’d love to explore more with us and our panelist partners in March, please follow the links provided and let the Panel Picker know what you want! Voting ends 11:59 CDT on Friday, September 2.