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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
Thanks for meeting Krista. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!
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.
Thanks for meeting Audra. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!
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!
Thanks for meeting Matt. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!
I remember graduating from college in 2014 and while Graphic Design was a hot commodity at the time, there was another fad I remember starting to emerge in full force– User Experience Design. While I was aware that this was something that has always been around, there weren’t *many* positions open for it and the title itself, was still a little taboo. Now, thanks to major tech giants like Apple, Microsoft and Google, we have a mainstream idea of what UX is and the importance it brings to any company– big or small.
If you’re interested in breaking into this lucrative field, I’m here to give you some tips as to what that experience is like and what are some of the best practices to stay AHEAD of the game:
There is no “one way” process. Depending on the needs and goals of the project and your stakeholders, it’s important to know that there is no “one way” of starting a UX project. Sure, you’ll outline needs/goals and conduct User Research– but when it comes to thinking through user journeys, will it make sense to create a User Flow or a Task Flow for this project? What about both? and yes, there’s a difference. Point is, what I’ve come to learn is that there is no specific way, and this is OK. It all depends upon the stakeholder needs, budget, timeline and of course, the users needs.
It’s all about how you think. Do you know what is going to set you apart from those wireframes and mockups you spent all week churning out? Your design thinking behind them. If you’re able to identify a problem, come up with a solution and defend those solutions supported with evidence in a succinct way, you’re already more than half way there. In the beginning of a project, UX managers are actually not all that concerned with your solution just yet, but more so how you got there. If you’re able to explain your rationale and show how it falls along user goals and needs, you’re bound to be successful!
Storytelling is your secret weapon. It’s important to be able to frame a situation/task/problem to someone who isn’t as familiar with design thinking or terms– which may be 90% of your stakeholders. Putting a “human face” to the analytical data makes it easy enough for everyone to put complex design ideas and decisions into perspective. It’s also a great way to understand existing scenarios and test the potential of any others. You can even kick it up a notch and use rough sketches and illustration to Storyboard. This can give you and your colleagues a low-level visual of the idea of each frame of the customer’s journey, but supported with a high-level narrative. This is a great way to keep iterating until every task is accounted for!
User Needs vs. Stakeholder Needs. While the needs of both users and stakeholders are incredibly important, you’re eventually going to find those needs conflicting. A great way to prevent those needs from clashing in the first place is to always keep them in the loop. Stakeholder participation can help remove any obstacles early on while user research could assist stakeholders in putting the goals and needs of the product into priority/perspective. Aligning your user research with stakeholder goals is crucial in product success and overall effective communication. Happy stakeholder + Happy user = WIN/WIN!
Always be ready to learn. Now that the supply of UX design has reached the demand, there is no excuse for not keeping up with the latest news, resources, toolkits and programs relating to UX. A genuine interest in the topic, outside of work, is important to have. We now live in a time where free, downloadable UI toolkits and Podcasts with industry experts are within our fingertips. So, be ready to continuously learn! This field is always evolving and it’s really important to stay on top of it all– from design programs to emerging experts, I’ve learned that while I am able to understand a lot of what I do on the job, it’s also important to learn the theory behind it all. This is something that will always resonate no matter what stage you’re at in your career.
So… to help you get you started, here are a few of my personal favorites to get those wheels turning:
Recommended Programs / Plugins:
Sketch (Industry standard! You know Sketch, you know them all!)
Sketch Craft Plug-In (Easy to update designs for InVision prototypes in real time)
Recommended User Flow programs:
Miro (formally known as RealTimeBoard)
Recommended programs for Development collaboration:
Recommended YouTube channels:
Lean UX: Designing Great Products with Agile Teams by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
The Hacking UI Podcast
Product Breakfast Club
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.
Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re getting up-close and person with Kate. Just a little background before we get started, Kate is one of our Senior Designers, and has been with 11P for 4 years. She’s worked on a wide variety of print and digital projects and specializes in being an illustration chameleon and incorporating artwork into a lot of her design solutions. Read her Q&A below!
Thanks for meeting Kate. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!