Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re learning more about Paul Denton! Just a little background before we get started, Paul works as a Principal Software Engineer. He’s a humble master of front-end development, but capable of picking up any language, tool or technology you throw at him. Paul has been with Eleven Peppers for 5 years!
The holidays are a great time to reflect on how fortunate we are and to take time to help those that really need it. This year, we participated in the United Way’s Central MD Adopt A Family program.
Our team adopted four large families from the Ben Franklin Center in Brooklyn/Curtis Bay, a partner organization to the United Way. To make each of the 31 family members feel special and loved; we purchased, wrapped and delivered over 200 presents.
We wanted this to be a team-effort, so we split everyone into four teams to make sure everyone had someone to shop for and each item got checked off the list. Then, we all came together for a wrapping party, which consisted of eating Chick-fil-A nuggets, drinking adult beverages and perfecting the art of accessorizing with the perfect bows and ribbon.
Owner, Kristen Parks explained, “With a work culture already rooted around family, it was only natural for us to want to do something charitable, especially during the holidays. It allows us to not only spend quality time together outside of the office, but also to work together as a team to accomplish something bigger than ourselves. This year we decided to participate in United Way’s Adopt a Family program because we wanted to be able to give families in need one the many joys of Christmas, which is of course, opening presents!”
With two weeks left to get your holiday shopping done, we’ve put together some gift ideas that will be perfect for any type of creative person you have on your list! Happy shopping!
- Find Your Artistic Voice: This book is intended for every category of artist. Whether you are just starting your artistic journey, are right in the middle of it, or are rejoining after a hiatus, this book will provide encouragement and motivation.
- “You’ll Think of Something”: This decorative banner will serve as a reminder that when the creative juices stop flowing, or your back’s against the wall, don’t fret; You’ll think of something.
- Field Notes®: This latest innovation features tear-proof and waterproof paper so that you can take notes no matter where you are.
- Gig Posters: 18×24 limited edition posters from your favorite bands. Designed by DKNG, signed and numbered!
- Glass Ornaments: Take tree decorating to a whole new level with these Pantone collectible glass ornaments, available in a variety of colors.
- Wood Burning Kit: This collection of tools features a wood burning pen, 17 wood burning tips, a sharpener, a wood burning pen holder and 12 stencils to customize your DIY wood projects.
- Graphic Designer T-Shirt: A funny, cute t-shirt that will make any artist laugh. “I’m silently judging your font choice.”
- Custom Lettering of the 20’s: This unique publication collects over 4,500 examples of custom lettering from the heyday of Art Deco and the experimental modernity of the Futurists.
- 2020 Botanical Garden Calendar: A gorgeous yearly calendar featuring beautiful images of flowers that will brighten any workspace.
- Zodiac Bar Soap: Featuring luxe packaging designed by Danielle Kroll, these soaps features decadent scents of jasmine, rose, and sandalwood.
- Desktop Letter Board: Express yourself with this fun, functional, interchangeable letter board perfectly-sized for compact messages.
It’s time to throw some confetti and pop champagne, it’s Melissa London’s 5th Pepperversary!
Melissa London was recently promoted to Creative Director of our Commercial Team. Her ability to provide strategic art direction, encourage team collaboration, and promote project growth has created a stronger presence for commercial design at Eleven Peppers.
When Melissa’s not working, she loves spending time with her family and friends. She is always ready for a good meal and a great glass of wine.
Our team would not be the same without Melissa. Her presence makes everyone feel excited about the work we are doing, and we’re honored to have her as an integral part of the Pepper family!
To learn more about Melissa, keep scrolling to read our special interview and infographic!
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.
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.
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!
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!