In short, Peter Knocke positions himself as a UX Director and Digital Strategy Consultant. He continuously works with a variety of organizations, ranging from small start-up groups to larger, multi-brand companies. The main selling points that he stresses in his description are that he provides product and business strategy and collaborates with many teams to build and refine digital products.
Peter Knocke completed his initial studies in Business Management with Entrepreneurial specialization at the University of Central Florida. Along the way, Knocke exercised his skills managing systems traffic analysis and research teams.
When he recalls how he first became involved in interaction design, Knocke refers to becoming interested in the specific role that design plays in the functionality of products. This interest grew into a plan that led him to Milan, Italy to fulfill the Interaction Design Master’s program at Domus Academy. Following this, he primarily worked at consulting agencies aligned with business clients. Eventually, Knocke admits to gaining enough confidence to go independent. At this point he stresses that, to be successful in this arena, he has to maintain several aspects: A critical perspective, a professional outlook, an adaptable skillset, and transparency in the services he provides.
As you delve a bit deeper into Knocke’s professional life, you get to recognize that his services mix modern UX and traditional UI roles, and span across a blend of product management and product strategy. While it matters largely on the clients’ or organizations’ needs, Knocke’s engagement involves having input into the direction of many teams. He highlights that he must always maintain a good grasp on the road map for whatever product or strategy he may be helping to build and develop. If his client or the company gets off track, it’s his duty to redefine the structures and set them on the right path.
As part of his mission, Knocke is invested in setting up a design system for his clients. His focus is to give companies the toolsets and define the best patterns to sustain internal departments and public-facing products. Design projects vary from the likes of translating a website into an application, transposing old applications and breathing new life into them, to working with back-end developers to build a new product. His special blend of director–consultant can mean he is involved with UX teams and web developers, while at the same time maintaining the business goals in perspective.
And though he advocates for adaptability in any career involving any type of skillset, he does emphasize that designers should draw the line at defining their specialty.
When asked what software tools he prefers to use, he mentions Sketch, InVision, Principle and rounds off the list with an experienced and resounding,“The tools always change.” Knocke also stresses the importance of lo-fi sketching and wire framing. To add to this, he emphasizes that the organization of content is more important than visual style. And to sum it all up, he reminds me that the design process is a cycle. Analysis is inevitable at every phase, which also gives way to chances for refinement. UX is about striving to understand. Try everything, develop your own natural interests, stay figuring things out, do small projects, and, most importantly, don’t worry.
Besides showcasing your best personality traits, Knocke reminds anyone entering the UX world that you have to show others that you care. This advice is especially true in an interview! This is what he had to say when I asked him what advice he has for students:
Don’t worry that you have to know everything and don’t think that you have to be able to do everything.
Companies and clients are looking for excitement, natural interest and someone who shows a a passion for figuring things out.
Peter Knocke is also a teacher. He helped to develop Huge UX School—an agency-backed internship intended to, not only satisfy the demand for UX designers, but to give those in the working industry a practical approach and entry into user experience design—and spent time teaching at General Assembly. Naturally, in his last piece of advice he mentions that if you want to learn something, try your hand at teaching it.
If you want more tips on the UX interview, or just in general, read Peter Knocke’s blog post “Any interview tips for the kid before he goes in?”