Spotlight on: Rebecca Knowe

Name: Rebecca Knowe (aka @rebeccaknowe)
Professional Discipline(s): User Experience Design
Website | Portfolio

Why are you involved with AIGA Raleigh?
I feel it’s really important to be involved with your local design community. My AIGA friendships have benefitted me so much in the past, from helping me get work to helping me learn things I wasn’t taught in school. I know I’d find it very difficult to sustain any kind of creative output without a community of designers to draw inspiration from.

What is your overriding professional goal?
I’m really interested in combining research and design, mainly through talking to the people who are actually using what designers are creating. I’m very fortunate to be in a place where I can explore what form that work takes—I can try different research approaches and see what works best. In the future I want to find great ways of bringing designers and users together, and foster innovation by helping designers anticipate their audience’s needs.

How do you explain what you do to “regular people?”
Often if I say my job is to “make it usable” when talking to non-designers, the lightbulb goes on! User experience design (also called UX) basically means designing interactions to be as easy to use as possible. That means you have to really know your audience. UX can encompass visual design (which is closer to traditional graphic design—the look and feel of an interface), as well as interaction design, where you are creating wireframes and planning out what an interaction or “experience” with the end design will be. Right now I’m a UX generalist, doing some of all of those roles, along with user research.

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?
Making the transition from graphic design to user experience design. UX is a fairly new field, and most practitioners have come from backgrounds in research or programming. Graphic designers have so much to offer, and we need more of them in UX!

What is your non-work creative outlet?
In the past I’ve been really into independent/art house movies. And soon I’ll be working on a sibling’s wedding invitations and am excited for the chance to be ultra obsessive about the typography.

What’s your biggest design-related pet peeve?
Lately I’ve noticed myself getting really annoyed when non-designers talk about us “making things pretty.” Of course I want my work to look good as much as the next designer does, but we need to do a better job at helping others understand the depth of our roles in making things work well, communicate better, accomplish business goals, etc.

What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
Probably a recent SNL!

Who is your favorite cartoon character?
I have a love/hate relationship with little orphan Annie. I had her fro-like hairdo all through my childhood because my parents had no idea what to do with my hair!

What have you gained or what do you hope to gain through your involvement with AIGA Raleigh?
I’ve gained a great set of friends who are interested in similar issues facing designers today.


By Amy Lyons
Published January 1, 2013