26 Nov

Designing With Accessibility in Mind

As part of our work with the Small Business Administration, Eleven Peppers Studios recently had a great opportunity to partner with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) to recruit non-sighted users for testing purposes– more specifically, their Blind Users Innovating and Leading Design (BUILD) program. Volunteer testers in the NFB BUILD program assess numerous websites, products and services for usability and accessibility.

Being able to test with non-sighted users gives us a first look as to how they might interact with the design compared to a sighted user. This opens the door for possible behavior patterns and practices that might affect their usability of the product we’re designing that may not have been obvious before testing with sighted users.

As we rely on our sight to design beautiful and complex interfaces, it is important for us to keep accessibility and inclusion in mind in order to maintain diverse perspectives. Wondering what exactly that consists of? Here are a few things we’ve been able to gather from our testing sessions:

1. Keyboard Accessibility

Non-sighted users utilize screen readers in order the assess a webpage. Incorporating keyboard accessibility is among the most important aspect of accessibility design. As non-users scan a webpage, they rely heavily on their keyboards to quickly navigate through each control sequence. This is why it’s very important to incorporate the ability for our users to “Tab” through content and implement “Skip to Content” links.

2. Descriptive Layouts / Structure

A structured layout on your website is primarily what screen readers will focus on as you tab through a layout using a keyboard. Understanding how screen readers interact with HTML elements on a website will assist greatly in creating layouts for easy navigation for non-sighted users. For example, Landmark Elements (like headers, main nav and footer) allows a screen reader to easily jump to important sections of the design.

3. Color Contrast

Deficient contrast between foreground and background colors make it hard to see for users with low vision. It is extremely pertinent for all text, icons and focus indicators to meet a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1. We were able to use this neat site to check contrast ratio.

4. Alt-Text Descriptions

One of the things we’ve noticed while testing with non-sighted users is the importance of Alt-Text descriptions for graphics! Not only does every graphic on the page need to be linked with descriptive Alt-Text, but they also need to be described in a certain way that speaks to the information behind the image and not the image itself.

“You almost never describe what the picture looks like, instead you explain the information the picture contains.”

Five Golden Rules for Compliant Alt Text (AbilityNet)

Overall, there are moments in which design and research disregards the experiences of people who require assistive technologies. If we involve users with varying disabilities into our process, we come closer to creating design that everyone can use.


WRITTEN BY
Ashley Philip

Ashley Philip has worked as a Commercial Designer at Eleven Peppers Studios for over three years. She has over six years of experience in graphic design and is currently pursuing a Master’s in User Experience Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Ashley has a profound interest in solving user problems with a focus on the development and design of products themselves. 

20 Nov

Celebrating 5 Years: Jeff Fisher

Help us celebrate Jeff Fisher on his 5th Pepperversary!

Jeff Fisher is a Senior UX Designer who spends his days applying his honed design skills tackling complex UI/UX problems and designing interfaces that are beautiful and intuitive. Needless to say, he’s a talented guy!

Despite being a self proclaimed “solitary animal”, Jeff loves being a part of the team, and considers himself lucky to work with such talented people.

When Jeff’s not working, he loves spending time with his wife and children. Whether they are playing board games, going for a hike, or watching a good movie, it’s always a good time!

We couldn’t imagine a team without Jeff on it, so we’re very grateful he’s a part of the Pepper family!

To learn more about Jeff, keep scrolling to read our special interview and infographic!


1. Best part of working at Eleven Peppers Studios?
I think the best part of working at EP is, hands-down, the people. Of course they are all very talented, but they truly are a great bunch. And I’ve appreciated that EP has always taken such care to hire quality people.

2. If you were a pepper, what type would you be and why?
Sadly, I am at a severe disadvantage in answering this question. My knowledge of peppers is pretty limited, but if I had to choose, I would say a banana pepper because they are such a welcomed addition to an otherwise bland sandwich.

3. What is a favorite 11P event?
The obvious choice is the trip to visit The Mouse, but from year to year I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas parties. They have been held at great venues and it’s always a good times catching up with folks. And it cannot be overlooked that I’ve come away with some fine whiskey.

4. What is your favorite Christmas present ever received from 11P?
The aforementioned whiskey – Irish whiskey – is always considered a win.

5. What is your favorite 11P memory?
As inconvenient as it was at the time, the flight delay at BWI was a good time just hanging out with everyone.

6. Name a Pepper you can always lean on for support or advice:
Oh…hmmm…being somewhat of a solitary animal and a homebody, I truthfully look to my wife, Jenn, who is a Pepper by extension, I think.

7. Name a Pepper whose work or work ethic inspires you:
Being that I went to school for illustration, I’ve always been thoroughly impressed with Kate Rodman’s work.

8: My spice meter :

  • Complete wimp
  • Will proceed with caution
  • A subtle flame
  • A little sweat never hurt
  • The spicier, the better!

Get to know Jeff a little bit better…

1. What is the one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Yikes. I never know how to answer these kinds of questions. Where do I start? Ya know, when I was in Ireland back in 2002 I met this girl who asked me a similar question. As I attempted to answer she soon pointed out how I had told her all about my home and my friends, but nothing about myself. And here I’ve done it again.

2. What hobby do you spend the most time doing?
These days I have been attempting to juggle a few hobbies if not simply to stir my kids’ creativity. Last year we started playing Dungeons & Dragons and I’m the dungeons master. And more recently we bought EVA foam to craft cosplay costumes.

3. If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My wife’s Toscana Soup never gets old.

4. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
I wish I had the power of Restoration — anything I touch would be restored to its original condition. And then I would open an antique store, not because I love or know anything about antiques, but because it would just seem right.

5. What’s your favorite children’s book to read to your little ones?
If only I had been asked this question a few years ago, I’m sure I could’ve named a few books. They are all reading on their own now and I’ve long forgotten what I used to read to them.

6. If you could illustrate and reimagine any classic book or comic, what would it be?
Well, with as many illustrators who have taken on The Lord of the Rings, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt if I threw my hat in the ring.

7. Any favorite artists whose work you admire?
Justin Gerard jumps to mind. Of course there have been a lot more artists I’ve admired who are lost to the murky depths of my memory, but Justin Gerard is an amazing fantasy illustrator.

8. What’s your favorite art tool?
The humble pencil.

9. What’s your favorite way to spend the weekend with your family?
Playing board games, going for a hike, and watching a good movie, all in the same day.

18 Nov

Pepper Talk with Brian Crane

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re learning more about Brian Crane! Just a little background before we get started, Brian currently works on designing government training resources and leading a creative team of multimedia designers. He’s been with Eleven Peppers for 5 months!


1. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Cry. Just a nice, therapeutic, purge of metaphorical tears to get the blood flowing. Afterwards, I usually focus my energy on stubbing my toe, in the dark, while silently gallivanting to the shower, without waking up my wife…like some sort of sympathetic ninja.

2. If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Ireland, Germany and Italy are all on my wish list.

3. How would you describe your design style?
Adaptive. In our field, we deal with MANY different customers, all with THEIR own vision; therefore, one “design style” may work for a current task, but it more than likely won’t carry over to the next. So, while I certainly inject my own personality and flair into all my projects, I focus on adapting my skill set to fit the particular job at hand.

4. What do you draw inspiration from?
It’s probably cliché to say, but I draw inspiration from almost everything. Whether it be a transition in a movie, a billboard I see on my commute, a GIF on social media, a concert poster, a song someone is humming in the elevator, brainstorming with co-workers, an elaborate doily on Pinterest, a masterpiece my 8 year-old crafts in his art class, a screen print on a shirt that the guy in front of me at the Hollywood Video is wearing. You get the idea.

5. What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Favorites? Post-It notes, Sharpies and working on a computer that doesn’t enter into a state of rigor mortis, from having more than one design program open at a time, are all intoxicating. I’m also a Wacom tablet mark.

Worst? PowerPoint…all of it. Also, the Papyrus typeface.

6. Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
1) Customer/Client Interrogation…with a smile.
2) Copious amounts of research.
3) Doodles, sketches and word play.
4) Swan dive into Adobe’s fluffy Creative Cloud for a little comp action.

7. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas.  It’s not even close. The lights, smells, decorations, music, generosity… It’s all amazing. Plus, people are happier, the food is better and the beer is stronger.

 8. Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Is that a trick question? Wait…do people really answer “no” here? They clearly can’t be trusted, right?!
Sweet or Savory: Tacos
Favorite Movie: This is super tough; because there are so many I love. Push comes to shove though, I’d say my favorite movie of all time has to be A Christmas Story, with Beetlejuice nipping at its heels.
Favorite place to travel:

Local? A tie for both North and, South Carolina…but I guess that’s a vanilla answer.
My passport is fairly barren so I don’t have a ton of comparable experience. That being said, I’ve been to the Dominican Republic a handful of times and love it. Perfect place to unplug, stare at glowing cyan waters, sip a cold drink and let the day pass.

Hobbies:

Campin’, brewery visitin’, movie viewin’, music jammin’, Xbox playin’, American-muscle car admirin’, Dorito eatin’, Baltimore Ravens game yellin’, Big O and Dukes listenin’ and family-time spendin’.

read more

12 Nov

Celebrating 5 Years: Rebecca Rice

And just like that, it’s been 5 wonderful years! We’re thrilled to celebrate Rebecca Rice’s 5th Pepperversary!

Rebecca Rice is a Senior Designer whose tackled both commercial and government clients while working at 11p. She is truly a queen of all trades! Her vast skill set (illustration, design, UX, web and video) makes her a huge asset to any team she’s on. She’s sort of like the Bo Jackson of the design world… Not much Rebecca doesn’t know.

Speaking of sports… She’s also a fierce competitor on the ice. In her spare time, she competes on multiple co-ed hockey teams and has been known to win a championship or two. Other (less intimidating) hobbies include: wedding videographer, fine art illustrator, house fixer upper and bunny Mom. We’re so grateful that Rebecca Rice chose Eleven Peppers to grow her design career!

To learn more about Rebecca, keep scrolling to read our special interview and infographic!


1. Best part of working at Eleven Peppers Studios?
Everyone is always there for one another, whether you’re close with certain individuals or not. I think the tight-knit culture is something that all small business strive to have, but I have yet to see a company that executes it as well as 11P.

2. If you were a pepper, what type would you be and why?
My hair is red, my truck is red, the best hockey teams are red, my favorite wine is red. I think I’d be a red pepper.

3. What is a favorite 11P event?
Going to Circles in Texas during my 30th birthday was off the chain.

4. What is your favorite Christmas present ever received from 11P?
The Disney trip was an amazing gift!

5. What is your favorite 11P memory?
All the Xmas parties are great memories. It’s the one time of year when everyone can get together and catch up on life.

6. Name a Pepper you can always lean on for support or advice:
Lauren Fulp. I sit on contract with her where she’s blowing design out of the water without much prior experience.

7. Name a Pepper whose work or work ethic inspires you:
Melissa London. Whether it’s about work, design, fashion choices, men, mixed drinks – girl knows her stuff.

8: My spice meter :

  • Complete wimp
  • Will proceed with caution
  • A subtle flame
  • A little sweat never hurt
  • The spicier, the better!

Get to know Rebecca a little bit better…

1. Who is your favorite hockey team?
The Jersey Devils!

2. If you could meet any hockey player, who would it be?
Taylor Hall – my current favorite player.

3. What is your favorite happy hour drink?
Moscow mule. Cosmopolitan. Lemon drop. Anything with Vodka.

4. Guaranteed song to get you movin’ and groovin’?
Get Low’ by Lil Jon.

5. Any pets? If so, do they do tricks?
I have two precious house-bunnies, Guinness and Stoli <3 <3 <3 <3 They come running when they’re called or when they hear a treat bag crinkle.

6. If you could put any painting in your house, what would it be?
I really like Monet paintings. His light studies of The Houses of Parliament are probably my favorites.

7. Proudest fixer upper or DIY project in your house?
I’m most proud of redoing my entire kitchen!

8. Any secret talents or hobbies? If so, what?
When it’s 1am and I get home from a late game of whooping-ass on a bunch of old men in the beer league, I lay on the floor with my bunnies and cuddle them as I whisper sweet-nothings into their ears.

16 Oct

Pepper Talk with Halie Wickiser

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re getting up-close and personal with Halie! Just a little background before we get started, Halie works on the Commercial Team tackling projects that need user experience solutions. She’s been with Eleven Peppers for almost one year!


1. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
Any European countries, I love their cultural balance of work, family, and community. However, I don’t know if I could handle being so far from family for too long.

2. How did you get started in UX?
I originally planned on going to Savannah College of Art and Design to study 3D Animation, but as I researched their other programs, I found they had a Concentration in Interactive Design that really sparked my interest. It’s pretty much history from there, as I continued with my study, I became more and more interested in the UX process and how it impacted the design of all products and tools.

3. What is your favorite thing about your career?
UX allows me to branch out into countless industries and gain endless knowledge. Ideating, creating, and learning with experts of all types is personally very rewarding.

4. If money was no object, what would you do all day?
I’m always doing new things, so I don’t think there’s one thing I’d like to do every day, but I would probably travel to as many places as possible and learn as many languages as I could. I believe there is so much to gain from understanding and experiencing other cultures.

5. What’s your favorite holiday? Why?
I come from a family of 10, so any Holiday where we all get together is the best for me, typically that’s Christmas, but Thanksgiving is also great because it’s generally a lot less work than Christmas and we get more time to just enjoy each other’s company.

6. What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?
Julie Andrews hands down. She is one of the classiest women in Hollywood and has given us so many classics to appreciate.

 7. Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: In tea? Yes, please. Coffee? I’ll take decaf.
Sweet or Savory: Sweet. I wouldn’t mind eating fruit salad for every meal.
Favorite Movie: Movies I can watch anytime on repeat is ‘The Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’ – I guess I am a James Cameron fan!
Favorite place to travel:

My favorite travel experiences have always been more about who I’m with than where I am. My most recent travel to the coast of Italy proved to be one of the best. I was with my best friends and got to meet and spend time with a hilarious and welcoming Italian family which made it even more spectacular than just the gorgeous views.

Hobbies:

Anything that allows me to be crafty or solve a puzzle. You can typically find me with knitting needles or my book of crosswords. I also enjoy Music festivals, gameboard nights, yoga, dancing, and backyard volleyball.

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07 Oct

Celebrating 5 Years: Paul Denton

Time flies when you’re having fun! We’re excited to celebrate Paul Denton’s 5th Pepperversary!

Paul Denton is 11p’s humble master of code—the very first Software Engineer to join 11p–and he sure did set the bar. Several peppers had the pleasure of working with Paul at previous companies, and we were delighted to finally bring him aboard. In the last 5 years, Paul has earned the respect of his clients and peers, so much so that he has recently been promoted to a Principal Software Engineer. Paul has always had an appreciation of UX and design, making him a perfect addition to our creative team.

Fun fact: We have had the pleasure of witnessing Paul’s adorable family expand throughout his tenure at 11p, from his first little boy, to a second little boy, to his third baby coming soon (a little girl!).

To learn more about Paul, keep scrolling to read our special interview and infographic!


 
 

1. Best part of working at Eleven Peppers Studios?
Working with and for friends.

2. If you were a pepper, what type would you be and why?
Scotch Bonnet, because Scotch 🙂 

3. What is a favorite 11P event?
Anything at Dave and Theresa’s house is fun.

4. What is your favorite Christmas present ever received from 11P?
The strawberries left in our room for the 2018 Christmas party, simply because I’ll never forget my kid getting into them and leaving red and brown streaks all over the hotel’s white bed sheets. The cleaning crew had to love that.

5. What is your favorite 11P memory?
I tend to fondly remember the times I’ve done something super awkward, and being a nerd it seems to happen a lot. I’ll always remember the time my wife and I were leaving a company outing at an O’s game and instead of doing the handshake/ bro hug/ whatever, I went in for a regular hug with Bryan Parks. I still remember it in slow motion, thinking in my head, “Uh yea, am I really doing this?” Good times.

6. Name a Pepper you can always lean on for support or advice:
My best friend, Matt Castle.

7. Name a Pepper whose work or work ethic inspires you:
I know it takes a lot of time to run a company and not everyone can do it, so this HAS to be Kristen and Bryan. I’ve even had other business owners comment on how hard they’ve seen Kristen work.

8: My spice meter :

  • Complete wimp
  • Will proceed with caution
  • A subtle flame
  • A little sweat never hurt
  • The spicier, the better!

Get to know Paul a little bit better…

1. Favorite type of coffee to drink?
No clear favorites, but I always really enjoy the cheap coffee at diners.

2. Where is the best place you’ve ever traveled?
Arches National Park

3. What’s your favorite book of all time?
In answering this question I realize I need to find more time to read. The last thing I really enjoyed was Ender’s Game.

4. What hobby do you spend the most time doing?
Sadly, the same thing I do at work, coding!

 
30 Sep

Celebrating 5 Years: Jill Nemec

We’re thrilled to celebrate Jill Nemec’s Pepperversary!

It’s been 5 wonderful years since she took a leap of faith on us! Jill left the comfort of her home in Savannah, Georgia to move to Maryland and join 11p, in its infancy stages. Over the years, Jill has leveraged her awesome design and typography skills, and has now even broadened her skills into UX.

Jill loves traveling near and far to hike or ski. She’s also an avid coffee drinker and rock collector.

To learn more about Jill, check out this infographic and read our special interview!


1. Best part of working at Eleven Peppers Studios?
Great people, good leaders, and flexible hours.

2. If you were a pepper, what type would you be and why?

Mini bell pepper… minimal and sweet!

3. What is a favorite 11P event? Of course the holiday parties, but more recently I really enjoyed the Baltimore Coffee and Tea morning. Such a great way to start off a Friday with all those smiling faces!

4. What is your favorite Christmas present ever received from 11P?  The Duchess a.ka. The Roomba.

5. What is your favorite 11P memory? Any and all snow days!

6. Name a Pepper you can always lean on for support or advice: It’s hard to pick one… Kelsey has been a great desk mate for a “take a break” stroll and convo. And, Kathryn and Theresa are great listeners and advice givers!

7. Name a Pepper whose work or work ethic inspires you: Easy, it’s Kristen. She has inspired me since grad school when she decided one day she would start her own business. She didn’t know what it would be then, but she made it happen! You can always count on her to come through and show up. And, I don’t know how she does it with minimal hours of sleep and a smile on her face. She also exhausts me.

8: My spice meter :

  • Complete wimp
  • Will proceed with caution
  • A subtle flame!
  • A little sweat never hurt
  • The spicier, the better!

Get to know Jill a little bit better…

1. Any secrets talents or hobbies? Rock collecting. And, I can still do a back flip on a trampoline.

2. Favorite type of coffee to drink? First and foremost a Nespresso. Second, a fresh cup of coffee from Albert. But, mostly sneaking sips of Joey’s vanilla lattes because it’s more fun sharing!

3. Where is the best place you’ve ever gone skiing (snow or water)? I don’t know that there is a best… but when it comes to snow and some crazy slopes I’d have to say traversing the mountains of Alta (no snowboarders allowed!) and Snowbird (most expert skiers I’ve ever seen) in Utah with my nieces and brother.

For water it has to be where I learned to slalom… the bitterly cold water of the Columbia River in Washington. Of late it’s Norris Lake, Tennessee for my old bones. The water is amazing and the perfect temp!

4. What’s your favorite book of all time? If it’s favorite of all time then it’s “Green Eggs and Ham” hands down.

5. What is the furthest you’ve traveled from home? Dubrovnik, Croatia

6. How many trails have you hiked? Geeze, who counts! I’ve been hiking the Appalachians and Cascades since I was a kid plus all vacations include a hike… probably 50+!?!

24 Sep

Pepper Talk with Krista Cochran

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re getting up-close and personal with Krista! Just a little background before we get started, Krista works on a wide range of applications for the government in cyber knowledge. She’s been with Eleven Peppers for 4.5 years.


1. Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you.
I love to fish. The calming sounds of the water mixed with the thrill of the catch create a very peaceful yet exciting experience. It brings me back fond memories of fishing at my aunt’s pond and local rivers.
2. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Well for years, I slowly stumbled to the shower to wake up. Now that I have a new puppy, I always have to stop and give her lots of belly rubs and love.

3. How do you balance being a mom while working? I do my best to keep work and home life separate. I feel blessed to be a mom to two amazing girls and work. Having two teenage girls requires a lot of attention, listening and patience. So while I’m with my family, I try and give them my full attention, just like I do at work.

4. How did you get started in UX?
I was sort of forced into it. As most government contractors are aware of, contracts end and you must move to other jobs or opportunities. My company at the time lost the contract I was supporting so I found a position as a graphic designer on another contract to support Usability Engineers. I was NOT happy to take this position as I loved my old work and team. After a few weeks working with my new team, I came too really like working with users and truly understanding what they need. Over the next year, I became certified in Human Factors and my passion for UX kept growing and growing.

5. What does your day-to-day look like as a UX designer?
I currently spend the majority of my time understanding the pain points of various types of users across a multitude of applications while also understanding the complexities of the systems that support them. Once that is understood, then I work with everyone involved to come up with solutions that the user can understand and the applications can deliver.

6. Do you have a UX design philosophy or guidelines that you live by?
Truly listen to your users and work with your team. Sure, I have some core guidelines that are my foundation, but if I don’t understand the true needs of the users and technical restrictions from my team, then I can’t deliver work that is useful and useable.

7. Where do you find inspiration for your work in user experience design?
 I have a couple mentors that I follow that give great advice and inspiration. They have worked in this field for over 20 years. Not only do they stay on top of how UX and Human Factors is changing, but they also stay rooted in core values.

 7. Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Yesssss….everyday
Sweet or Savory: Savory. I’ll take chips and dip over cake any day!
Favorite Movie: Any Jurassic Movies
Favorite place to travel: No favorites. I enjoy any adventure whether it’s cave tubing in Belize or chilling on a beach.
Hobbies: Baking, working out and spending time with family


Thanks for meeting Krista. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!

28 Aug

Pepper Talk with Audra Harvey

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re getting up-close and personal with Audra! Just a little background before we get started, Audra works as a Senior Designer on our commercial team. She’s been with Eleven Peppers for 9 months.


1. What is your favorite part about being a designer?
I love problem solving, art, and psychology. I feel like as a designer, I can touch on all 3 of those areas. I’m also a “big picture” kind of person, and am happiest when I’m working on a project that is supporting a mission I believe in.

2. What resources are your favorite to stay up to date on the latest design trends?
Coolhunting.com is a great online publication for creative inspiration. It showcases innovative thinking in products, music, fashion, culinary arts, technology, public spaces, etc. I like seeing the intersection of form and function, and how design really does have an impact on pretty much everything.

3. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
I check Slack for any work messages, drink a glass of water, feed the cat, and decide if I want cold or hot coffee that morning.

4. Who is your favorite designer of all time?
Chip Kidd. In college, I wanted to be a publication/book designer. I saw Chip Kidd speak at a design event, and loved his light-hearted approach to coming up with great ideas but never getting too attached to them (since they would inevitably get picked apart by clients and publishers). His designs have so much wit and charm. Years later, I ended up being in the same elevator as him at a HOW conference. I managed to squeak “I love your work” and he graciously said “Thank you” while I tried not to melt into the floor.

5. How would you describe your design style?
Simple and organized with attention to detail. I’ve had to be reminded by colleagues throughout the years that it’s okay to break the rules sometimes, and when I allow myself to do that, it often leads to some of my favorite work.

6. Do you have a set design process when starting a new project?
Ask lots of questions! I always want to get as many details as possible so I can begin to wrap my head around the project. After that the process can very depending on what’s needed (sketching, doing research, etc.).

 7. Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Caffeine
Sweet or Savory: I have a dangerous sweet tooth.
Favorite Movie: The Princess Bride
Favorite place to travel: Anywhere that’s new
Hobbies: Baking, Yoga, hiking, audio books, puzzles

8. Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
Any movie poster by Saul Bass.


Thanks for meeting Audra. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!

15 Jul

Pepper Talk with Matthew Castle

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re getting up-close and personal with Matthew. Just a little background before we get started, Matt is one of our software engineers, and has been with 11P for a year and a half. He works on software development for our commercial projects. Read his Q&A below!


1: Do you have any nicknames?
Nothing exciting, just Matt!

2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?Say hi to my dogs, then check Slack and my e-mail. And get myself some mildly coffee-like drink.

3: How would you describe your design style?
I’m not a designer, but I try to keep my code style efficient but readable. I am drawn to simplicity and form that doesn’t impede function.

4: How did you get started?
Our fellow pepper Paul Denton was a huge factor in driving me to take on being a Software development. I enjoyed the problem solving aspect of it, and I guess I thrive on the constant micro-failures of developing so it seemed like a good fit!

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Visual Studio Code has easily become my favorite code editor. Nothing comes to mind that has been the worst for me lately.

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
I like to spend some time to get the general outline of how the code project structure will be, but for me it’s more important to get over the hurdle of actually starting to get some code written to get that momentum going. Getting started is the hardest part for me, so once I get moving, I feel better about things.

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
Developers smarter and more experienced than me. I’m always looking to improve and it’s always nice to have something to strive for.

 8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Caffeine
Sweet or Savory: Savory
Favorite Movie: The Empire Strikes Back
Guilty Pleasure: Video game collector’s editions
Hobbies: Gaming and gardening, mostly

9: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
Not a design per se, but I think it would have been awesome to have written code for the Opportunity Mars rover. I love anything space exploration related, so it would be amazing to be involved in things like that.

Couple picturecat picture

snowy dog picture

indoor wedding picturedog profile

smiling couple


Thanks for meeting Matt. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!