Catherine Farman of Happy Cog Talks Women in Tech

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If you know your way around good design and website development, it’s likely you’ve heard of Happy Cog— a web consultancy with a prestigious group of proven designers and developers.

It’s always impressive to see creatives break away from their respective crafts and engage with the larger community. The super talented folks at Happy Cog have a history of teaching, speaking and mentoring that makes them a truly unique firm.That’s part of why HOW, Print’s sister brand, has been drawn to the Happy Cog crew. In fact, in a matter of days Happy Cog developer Catherine Farman will take the stage at the HOW Interactive Design Conference Chicago, October 19-21.

We couldn’t wait until the big event to get a few minutes with Catherine, and she graciously let us pick her (big!) brain about the amazing work she’s doing within the design/development community …

Catherine Farman of Happy Cog Talks Women in Tech

Cat-Farman_HIDC_628; Happy Cog

So great to chat with you, Catherine. Happy Cog is sort of known for encouraging the pursuit of passions. Is there a project you’re feeling especially jazzed about these days?

I work as a teacher for Girl Develop It, a national non-profit that teaches adult women to code through hands-on instruction. It also provides fantastic learning and leadership opportunities for local communities of women developers. I’ve met many fantastic women interested in web design and technology through this community, and I even volunteer at meetups and classes in other cities when I’m out of town.

I’m hoping to attend a Chicago event when I speak at HOW Interactive! Girl Develop It is a great group of like-minded people working to help develop, and retain, more women in software and web development.

Are there other creative people–inside the design world or beyond it–who are really impressing you right now?

I’m impressed by my Happy Cog colleague and designer, Sophie Shepherd. I’ve worked closely with her on a handful of projects since joining Happy Cog, including the Ben and Jerry’s international website redesign and Coldwell Banker’s Previews Inside Out publication, which just won a W³ Award! Sophie is a hugely talented visual designer who is also happy to jump into the code, sketch up an idea for me, or tweak an interaction at my request.

My coworker Sophie has been an inspirational designer to learn from in this new wild west that is responsive design and development in 2014.

I’ve learned the value of flexibility, prototyping and most of all, close collaboration by working with her.

What inspired you to choose the topic of your presentation at HOW Interactive Design Conference? Did it come from a lesson you learned or experience you had?

Working on responsive projects for clients like Ben and Jerry’s, Coldwell Banker and our own internal Happy Cog projects inspired me to document my experiences collaborating with our talented designers. Responsive design has upended the typical web design workflow, meaning we can experiment and figure out what works best for each project we begin anew. All our experimentation has taught me some lessons about what tends to work well and what doesn’t. I hope to share some useful lessons on collaborating in a responsive design project from a developer’s point of view, with insights from my designer colleagues and real project examples to visualize our successes (and failures).

13085Farman; Happy Cog

Catherine’s work echoes the core themes of the HOW Interactive Design Conference. Her work showcases how crucial it is for designers and developers to work together for the most effective web projects. That’s why we’re offering a special group discount, to help you bring your whole team to HIDC: register two or more people from the same company and save an extra $50 per person off the best rate. Or if time and budgets won’t allow you to attend the entire event, one-day passes are still available.

agile; happy cog

Are you an agile designer? Find out how agile development processes will help you and your team get designs out the door faster and into client hands. The Expert Guide, Becoming an Agile Designer, walks you through SCRUM and other iterative design methods, to streamline your workflow for greater efficiency and success.