As we’ve recently introduced Slack here, at Black Pepper, we’ve been thinking how to make use of its full potential. Granted, it’s both fun and useful for quick chats, but we wanted more.
So we came up with this novel concept of doing Q&A sessions with some of the guys and gals here in the team over Slack, so that we can then give you a glimpse into life at Black Pepper. We settled on one question a day, as most of us do tend to focus on programming, not answering questions asked by the nosy marketer.
In today’s interview, we are getting an exclusive insight into the life of an UX consultant.
Ronit Galer Kosloff is a digital designer and UX professional who moved to the UK from Israel a few years ago and Black Pepper were lucky enough to snatch her up, and her skills have already proven invaluable to both the company and our clients.
Sound interesting? Read on to find out more.
How did your story with Black Pepper begin?
I moved to the UK almost 2 years ago with 6 years of digital design experience under my belt - I had a bit of catching up to do in terms of the technical aspect of web design in the UK, since I had never been expected to do any coding before I started working here.
So I learnt how to code in HTML and CSS and started working as a UX designer for a large well-known company where I enhanced my UX and UI skills.
At some point, I started wanting a new challenge in my career; the fact that the team I was working with was planning to relocate to a remote new office gave me the final nudge to search for something new. Eventually, I was introduced to Black Pepper by a recruiter who found me on LinkedIn. He suggested I applied for a UX designer role with a company in Leamington Spa. It sounded like an interesting opportunity in a good company and since I live in Leamington Spa I thought I should give it a go and I’m very happy I did. After several conversations over the phone with the recruiter I had the first interview with Mark Stevenson over the phone and since that went well I was called to a second interview with Chris Lilley and Chris McCourt. By that time I had more of an idea about what the role was about and I was even keener to get it. The final stage was a short design and coding test. I worked on that during the weekend and sent it with a positive feeling. I got the job offer from Black Pepper by the end of the following week.
Now let’s have a bit of fun: if you were a gadget, what would you be and why?
The first answer that comes to mind would be a Wacom kit since painting and illustrating is a big passion of mine.
You’ve been with the company a few months now – enough so that you get the lay of the land. What do you like most about Black Pepper?
Setting aside the great atmosphere and people, what I like the most in Black Pepper is the variety of projects and activities I take part in during each week. Though it can be overwhelming sometimes, it creates a dynamic, challenging and creative professional environment for me and I could never get bored.
What skills and knowledge does a UX professional need to be successful?
UX design is still evolving and there isn't one single way to become qualified as a professional UX designer.
In general, the basic knowledge and skills that a UX designer should have in order to be successful are based on previous experience and common sense and these qualities enable them to ask the relevant questions, organise the outline and components accordingly and handle the product as a whole, as well as its individual parts.
Other than that, the UX designer can become involved in any stage of a product’s lifecycle, so they need to be creative and pragmatic, since there is a difference in the work process and approach between a completely new concept and an existing product that is being improved or altered.
How about we lighten up the mood with a series of quick questions? Pick your favourite without thinking too much, okay?
Windows or OSX?
Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook (I don’t have a Twitter account)
Android or iOS?
Superman or Wonder Woman?
Wonder Woman (the newest actress playing Wonder Woman is Israeli)
Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?
Lord of the Rings
Game of Thrones or Sherlock?
That’s a hard one. I guess Game of Thrones.
Fish and Chips or Sunday Roast?
I’m not sure I had a Sunday roast yet... So I’ll go for fish and chips.
Lager or ale?
Black pepper or salt?
Black pepper, of course.
Right, back to full sentences now. We have it on good authority that you’re also a painter in your spare time. Could you explain how traditional art is different than graphic design and UX?
Traditional art is different than graphic design and UX in its purpose and this is why they have different creative processes and effects. Traditional art is a means of expression and it always serves a conceptual and therapeutic purpose, while graphic design or UX are mostly used for functional and commercial purposes.
What are 3 of your favourite UX and/ or graphic design projects you wish you had designed yourself?
- Google doodles - I would love to experience creating some of these doodles and animations, because I love illustrating and because it is a powerful way to touch and move millions of people on a daily basis.
- The Guardian website - I think that designing a media website that has a lot of dynamic content is very challenging and interesting, especially in the current context, when everything is so visual and fast paced so you need to be concise to catch people’s attention quickly. I think that the UX team in the Guardian managed to do that quite well by creating a very intuitive website.
- Slaveryfootprint.org - this is an old website from 2011 but it is still relevant today with its important message and classic and clean design and illustrations.
Because we like to be transparent and take pride in how business as usual goes on in our office, we’ll post more of these interviews, trying to offer you a rounded view of how our team see Black Pepper and feel about coming to work every day. You can read our previous interviews here and look out for the next one!