Thursday, April 26, 2018

Interested in our advisory, training and coaching services for critical thinking, strategic thinking & collaboration?


Founded in 1983, Cognetics offers world-class expertise in usability, user experience, interaction design and information architecture.

Anne and Charlie Kreitzberg, the principals and co-founders of Cognetics Interactive, founded The Center for Agile Thinking to provide resources and online development for companies, leaders, teams and individuals who want to be better prepared to take on the challenges of the 21st Century workplace. 

The Center provides an innovative and engaging way for teams to apply critical thinking, strategic, collaborative and creative thinking skills in very practical ways that make sense for their particular work environment and goals. Built on our Agile Critical Thinking Framework, we provide tools, techniques and job aids that will help you to save time, energy and 'churn' when working with imperfect information and limited resources, across disciplines or with multiple stakeholders - both inside and outside the organization.

Agile Critical Thinking is being taught internationally, including China. In 2013, The Center for Agile Thinking - India was launched.

We understand the delicate balance of business, technology and people. Our unusual skill sets in user and customer experience, product conceptualization, business strategy, human resources, organizational development, new media, web and mobile technologies have enabled us to serve as trusted advisers to business, technology, marketing and HR leaders. We accomplish this through an extremely talented team, well thought out frameworks, meticulous attention to detail, and solid business acumen.

Anne and Charlie Kreitzberg, who co-founded and lead the Center for Agile Thinking are highly regarded thought-leaders in the business and academic communities for their creative and innovative contributions that further business, technology and people integration. They are enthusiastic and engaging speakers, avid promotors of big ideas and deep thinking - and help clients set the bar for best practices in user experience and dealing with emerging business issues.

They are also the thought leaders and designers behind Critical Thinking University, an online social learning environment for critical thinking published by Pearson Talent Lens. 


Building a Web 2.0-Friendly Culture

In this article, Anne discusses the impact of web 2.0 on organizations and how to meet the challenges and opportunities it presents by  building a web 2.0-friendly culture.

Microsoft's MSDN Magazine Column

Check out Charlie's new usability column in Microsoft MSDN Magazine. Targeted at developers, Charlie is writing this column with Ambrose Little of Infragistics Corporation.

Six Degrees of Social Computing

Published in Website Magazine (August 2008) this article discusses ways to create and build relationships on the web from initial attraction through newbie to mature and comfortable.

Charlie on User Experience and Agile Development

Charlie was interviewed by John Chin, Ph.D about how to integrate user experience into Agile development.

The First 10 Seconds

Charlie's article in the May issue of Website Magazine discusses how to engage users when they first visit your website.

The Evolving Web

Whose idea was the web, anyway? Charlie outlines - in layman's terms - how the Internet and the World Wide Web came about. He distinguishes between what people are now referring to as Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, offering a peek at what many believe will evolve into Web 3.0.

Web 2.0 Made Simple

Charlie explains the basics: what Web 2.0 is, why it's important, common tools - blogs, wikis, discussion forums, social networks and media repositories - and ways businesses can get started using them.

Blog: Lucid Thinking
Lorum Ipsum? Not! by Charlie Kreitzberg

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet...

This familiar Latin phrase has been used by designers since the 1500's. According to (a site I use rather frequently to get text passages to paste into screen designs) the text comes from "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil) written in 45 BC by Cicero (two years before his murder by Mark Antony). That's probably more than you wanted to know but I'm a sucker for trivia.

The rationale for the text, according to the site, is that it has "a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using 'Content here, content here', making it look like readable English."

Like many designers, I often use lorum ipsum text when presenting screen designs to clients. The idea is to keep them from getting distracted by the content. No matter how often or strongly I point out that the text on the screen is simply a "placeholder," some people are drawn to it and seem compelled to focus on the content to the detriment of the screen design.

But recently, I've become less happy with lorum ipsum as a solution.

What I've found is that screens with meaningless text often lose the impact that they would have if they sported real content. Perhaps the fact that some people find it almost impossible to disengage from the content indicates just how powerful content is in shaping our reaction to the designs.  So I’ve started to wonder if showing screen designs without content is likely to bias their response as well.

Remember that lorum ipsum started as a printer’s convenience. It is easy to see how a page layout can benefit from it. But printed pages are static. Readers don’t have to decide where to click. And while they may scan for sentences of interest, the text (at least in English) starts at the top left and progresses to the right and down.

Screens are not static and it’s a bad assumption that users will read them as they do books. Instead they will scan the screens to identify areas or objects of interest. And content plays a large role in determining what is interesting.

Did you ever visit a housing development and look at the "model houses?"  If the models are unfurnished, they look cold. If they are furnished,  buyers may be swayed by how well they like the furniture and decorations.

I don’t have an answer to this dilemma (sorry). It seems as if you are damned if you do and equally damned if you don’t.

But the conclusion that I am drawing is that when it comes to screen design, content and structure are not as independent and separable than we might at first think. And evaluating the true impact of a design on users may require the presence of meaningful content, not just text filler.

Web 2 and You

Social computing is changing the way business is done. Web 2 and You is our community for people interested in creating and growing successful Web 2.0 communities. You will find thought leadership, deep discussions and lot's of useful resources to explore.

It's free. It's deep and it's useful.

Coming Soon!


In the Know! Logo

 In the Know! is a tool to help leaders keep track of their group's activities. It's easy, economical and effective.

Learn More

Promo for Anne's Blog at

Leaders in the Know is Anne's Blog. It provides thought leadership and practical advice on on leadership in the age of social computing.

Visit Leaders in the Know

Thanks for contacting us. We'll be in touch shortly. Charlie & Anne

 What Makes Web 2.0 and Social Computing So Difficult?

  There are Ten Barriers to Web 2.0:

  1. Fear of hostile or embarassing postings that can damage your image.
  2. Concern that staff may act inappropriately or disclose proprietary information.
  3. Cost and time required for content development and maintenence.
  4. Compliance, regulatory and legal issues.
  5. The Generation Gap: employees have different expectations and use technology differently.
  6. Requirement for deep competence in usability and user experience engineering.
  7. Cross-departmental, cross-functional, cross-hierarchical, unfiltered communications.
  8. Concerns about security.
  9. What you don't know about how the competition is using these tools to their advantage.
  10. Balancing control with transparency.

  Web 2.0 is defined by agility, transparency, empowerment, user-centricity and creativity... not words typically used to describe most organizations. Managers are not prepared to manage in this environment.


Picture of Charlie Kreitzberg

Charles B. Kreitzberg, Ph.D.

is founder and CEO of Cognetics Corporation, a company that, since 1982, has created award-winning interactive designs that connect people and teams with computers.

Dr. Kreitzberg has designed the user interfaces for websites, software and rich internet applications for clients all over the world.

He developed a pre-web browser, is author of LUCID – the a widely used interaction design framework, and most recently In the Know!™ -- a software knowledge and communications tool for teams and their leaders.

Dr. Kreitzberg has lectured and consulted at corporations and universities worldwide. He has served as an expert witness in software interface patent disputes. He is Founding Editor of User Experience magazine; he has authored numerous articles and has served on the national boards of the Usability Professionals Association and the Society for Information Management. He holds advanced degrees in computer science and psychology. Dr. Kreitzberg serves as the Technology Director for Einstein’s Alley.

Download Charlie's Detailed Vita

Vista users -- if you are using an older version of Adobe Reader, you may have a problem with the PDF. The solution is to upgrade your version to version 9 (or better). This is an Adobe problem and we appologize for the inconvenience.

Download The First 10 Seconds as a PDF

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