Bio

I've been fortunate in my career to work on a broad array of projects, from studying in-vehicle navigation displays back in 1993, well before they became commonplace in cars, to studying situation awareness in US Navy submarine commanders, to studying and creating a cognitve model that instantiates a theory of how users come to learn the locations of items in a Graphical User Interface (Dissertation PDF). The recent projects have been more conventional in nature, but not without their challenges, and the challenges are the interesting part.

I've also been fortunate to work with some extremely talented and intelligent interaction designers, visual designers, developers and system architects. Building a UI requires a lot of collaboration and when you have the luxury of interacting with and learning from smart people, it's truly a pleasure.

I'm currently based in Boulder, Colorado, which I've concluded is a nice place to be (see pic of Flatirons at right). I say this after bouncing around from Ohio, where I grew up, to Northern Virginia, where I went to graduate school, to the San Francisco Bay Area, where I got my first real job. I love being able to work from a home office here so I can head out onto Boulder's trails with my crazy boxer to clear my head and break up the day.

If you want to get in touch, the best ways to contact me are via e-mail or through linkedin.

Flatirons Photo

FAQ

Yes, and no, not anymore.
It's an attempt to include "cognition" in the name since my background is in cognitive psychology and designing UI is an exercise in understanding human cognition and problem solving. Unfortunately, all of the cool variants containing "cog-" had already been registered by 2008, so I rolled with this. It isn't supposed to mean anything particular, but apparently it has some meaning in theoretical linguistics. I could probably attempt some post hoc connection there, but it doesn't seem worthwhile at this point. I could have used my last name in the company, like Ehret Consulting Services or somesuch, but I find most people have trouble pronouncing and spelling my name, so elected not to go that route.
Cripes, everyone's a critic. It's an abstraction of a sign my advisor at George Mason University, Wayne Gray, put on the door of our first research lab, the C-A-T lab. The 3 elements are Cognition - Artifact - Task and the idea is that we study how those elements interact during human problem solving. The original sign actually has a drawing of a cat on it, but I'm a dog person so I didn't incorporate it into the logo.
Basically, it's just figure out what needs to get done and then do it. Every team is different. Requirements run the gamut from wildly nebulous to overly specific. Timelines are sometimes realistic, mostly not. Data about target users is sometimes available, sometimes not. Once I get a handle on the various dependencies and constraints, I can propose deliverables and process.
Building stuff. Part of the reason I like building interactive mockups in html and css is that I've created something tangible, something that someone can interact with.
Marketing and self-promotion. There's a reason I didn't bother with a company web site for nearly 8 years. I like to just do a good job and have that work speak for itself.