Tyesha Snow is an experience design consultant who works with startups and small businesses to make them more successful.

Show Notes

Recorded Monday, June 17th, 2013, and this is episode number 18. Follow Ray, Kandace, Dan, or Needmore on Twitter. Please rate our show on iTunes!

The Interview

So, hello Tyesha.
How are you today?
I’m pretty good. Yeah, I went this morning and tried to watch my daughter in swim class because I’ve been missing it every time and she couldn’t do it with me there. She just cried so I had to sit outside.
It was still cute.
How’s that going? Is that like … when Zoe was in swim class she would throw up like every time.
Oh no. No, Ellington loves it. She jumps off the side of the pool now and everything.
Pretty cool. I don’t know.
Then we did the right thing, taking her out of it. That was harrowing. We’d just be like, “Okay, we’ll put her in the car seat.” We’d put her in the car seat and it was like blegh.
Aw, sad.
Right in the car seat. That car seat was just pale from being washed so many times.
I’m good, I’m great. Just closed yesterday with a big job so that was fun.
Why don’t you tell me about that? That’s a great place to start.
Okay, yeah. I’ve been working as an on-site in house designer/mentor at the Nike Plus Techstar’s accelerator. That was 10 teams for three months working on various products. Some of the people came in with just an idea, some people had a product already in the market. They came to accelerate their business.
is that local people or people from …?
It was a global search and most of the companies were from the US, one from Hong Kong, one from Canada. Then across the country.
Are these people making products to work with Nike stuff, the Nike Plus line?
They were provided access to the Nike Plus and Nike Fuel API. These are the first companies to get access to it and Nike just completed it the day that everyone arrived. Pretty cool opportunity to see how they might leverage that data and sort of a …
They could be making like, just theoretically, they could be making an iPhone app, that you said do.
Absolutely, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. There’s everything from a tool for employees in a workplace to track and compete and get more healthy together to a game that you build a fighting robot with your fuel and then fight it with your fuel.
That’s a cool idea.
I know. That’s a fun one. Just those whole idea if you’re going to be quantifying yourself like what do you do with that data, that information and right now there’s not a lot to do with it. A piece of the idea of the program was let’s put it out there and see what ideas people have to utilize this new currency that Nike’s developed called fuel.
Very cool. How did you get involved in something like that? Maybe we should backtrack.
How did you … where are you from?
I am from … well I like to say my formative years were in Mill City, Oregon, which is east of Salem. A town of 1,500 people. Up in the mountains just hanging out with my friends and running around. Then I went to high school in Salem.
Yeah, so Northwesterner.
It seems like you do a lot with … I mean do you do other work with start up thing?
Well, you know right now I am doing primarily early stage companies, which is awesome. I’ve done everything from working in house before on products and then most of my careers been in agency. This is a nice shift for me and it’s really kind of … there’s so much excitement right now around building new products and inn ovation. It’s nice to be a part of that.
It seems like it’s happening a lot in Portland lately.
Yeah, right.
Yeah definitely. It seems like your skills are varied. Where did all of this come from? Is it just hands on experience or formal education?
Yeah, good question. I would love to do a film someday about the stories of used experience designers and experienced designers and how they got there because we all have really varied stories that tend to be zigzagged and multifaceted, but for me I went to school for political ecology in art. Political ecology works in sort of a systems theory perspective and really a research driven discipline. That’s the realm I came from. Always been interested in design and art, but I don’t have a formal design background, more coming from just an informed thinking background.
With that interest and natural abilities I just started performing task on the jobs I was in that led to this and then being trained on the job. At classmates.com was sort of the first time I officially held the role. Yeah.
What is it about Portland that seems to be making setup in earlier stage adventures and these kinds of things so common place now? Not common place, but there’s the Nike thing you referenced, there’s the Portland Incubator and I’m spacing out the names now, but it seems like there’s others.
What do you think is causing all of that? I mean, is that happening everywhere or is Portland just this nice …
Yeah, you know, I’m new to it myself in my own way. I chose to participate in the Incubator because I wanted to learn of the Accelerator, if there’s a difference there. I wanted to learn more, but I guess here’s one theory. Some of the agencies that are in town that have been growing really amazing creatives and then those folks are looking for additional things to do. Start building small agencies and then more people start getting inspired and they’re looking for some place to apply that beyond traditional agency style work.
I don’t know. That could be one sense, but that doesn’t explain some of the technology end of that. Although right now so many products don’t even have anything new related to technology. It’s more about figuring out interesting ways to leverage stuff that already exists. I think that fits pretty nicely with the type of creative minds that we have in this town, but that’s speculation, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the environment. The entrepreneurial spirit of just wanting to work for yourself. Sit in a cafe at two o’clock in the afternoon. Got to the mountain whenever you want. I’m not quite sure.

“…right now so many products don’t even have anything new related to technology. It’s more about figuring out interesting ways to leverage stuff that already exists.”

Yeah. How do you approach thinking about user experience yourself? Especially working with that program, the accelerators program, is it more of you just sit down and play around with the product and just give some feedback, some bullet points? Are you thinking it through from the start?
Mm-hmm. All o f that maybe.
Okay, okay.
I think of my job as making things make sense. That can happen in a lot of different ways. One could be just fixing something that;s literally confusing. Another could be that there’s an idea for a product offering and I need to figure out how that makes sense for people’s lives and how to graft it and position it in a way that people accept it, want it, and need it. There’s that piece of it.
I spend a lot of time in my work, and I think this is true even when I worked in marketing and advertising too, is sitting down with people who have some thoughts about where they want to go with something and helping them make sense of their own thoughts and ideas. Contributing a little bit of know how or knowledge to that either just based on my own experience or research that I do for the product.
A lot of times I sit with people and I listen to them, we go through all of the information, go away for awhile, do some research of various types, and then come back and say, “Hey, is this what you were thinking?” Just that act of representing it, repositioning it in a way that starts to make sense either for the business, for the people, the consumers. There’s that exercise.
Then there’s everything just down to taking a look at a current product and seeing how I might craft it slightly differently. For me, I really like the information architecture piece. Sometimes I think, especially with product design, that;s the one little piece that sometimes gets overlooked and if the bones of a product don’t make sense or you present them in a way that’s presently the architecture incorrectly, people don’t know. They couldn’t point their finger at why it feels funny to them, but they can sense it and then it starts to sort of crumple their understanding of how they should integrate in their life, what they’re suppose to know, what they’re suppose to do with it.
I know that’s abstract.
Yeah, no, no, no. Which is fine. I just am more curious building on that. Is it for you more of like a mental sort of abstract exercise or do you sometimes just sit down and use a paper prototypes or those kinds of tools? Do you have a favorite tool for just iterating or digging deeper into a problem like that?
Yeah. Well, I use spongey’s a lot, which is …
Okay, interesting.
Yeah. I love to dump a bunch of just content down on there and then just move it around. Then start to organize it in that sense. I don’t know, I’m the only one I know who does it that way, but I like that.
I am not a huge paper and pen fan so much just because my minds moving so quickly that I find just sketching an omnigraffle and moving. I can move around and duplicate and try it again, erase it and move it. I do exercise more similar to sketching, but I just do it digitally. It just is faster for me.
Yeah, that makes sense.
The ability to move things on paper could be cumbersome.
Exactly. I duplicate it and try a little alteration, a little alteration. I know there are a lot of paper and pen talk these days, but I don’t know. What do you use?
Yeah, sure, it’s all the rave. Well honestly I don’t think we do enough of what you’re describing, but in general I would say yeah, no we just sketch.
On paper?
Yeah. It usually is very integrative and I often force myself to just use a sharpie so I don’t waste a lot of time. At some point I was like, “I love sketching. I’m going to get a stencil set and a drafting kit.” Then was like, “Okay, that’s ridiculous. I just spent a whole day sketching on something that I could have done in 20 minutes in illustrator or omnigraffle or something.” I hid that so I wouldn’t use it.
Well, I’m a big fan of sort of … well, I guess you’d do it both ways. I’m a big fan of being able to step back and seeing where I came from on a thought or an idea because sometimes you toss something and actually maybe it was a good thing.
I guess a lot of times we’ll do, and this is probably particular to websites, but I guess is just use three by five index cards.
I love the three by five cards, yeah.
A lot of times I’ll just sort of stack them to figure out how to tell a story as a page progresses or spread them out to start thinking about what content we have and how to organize it. I guess that … I should have said that’s the first answer.
Yeah, yeah right. Little mini cards so it’s understood.
Yeah. Then I’ll just stick a photo of it and put it right in the project and …
I am kind of anti-white board right now though. Particularly I saw this a lot down at the Accelerator, was as long somethings on a white board it can be quickly erased, it’s not really down. It’s not really on paper and so people don’t record it so it can just go away so quick. Really great ideas just can disappear in a second.
That’s true.
The other is people don’t feel committed to it if it’s not written down and they can’t seem to sort of go beyond it. When you get it off that freaking white board, sketch it out and omnigraffle or whatever your program is or even on paper, then all of a sudden it becomes a little bit more real and people can sort of … especially if you’re working in a team environment. Everyone can start working on their own little piece of it. As long as it’s something that can just disappear with a, you know, wipe of the hand … I don’t know.
Yeah. The closest we’ve gotten is sometimes I write on the window, but I don’t want to put up an actual white board because something psychologically about a white board that I don’t like.
Yeah. You don’t like it either.
Yeah. Just when I see a white board …
Is it too businessy?
Yeah. I feel like I got to put on my suit and tie to use a white board and it just seems … Just sketching on paper on a table with a couple of people around is nice or if you work on your computer and you’re in a group you can always take turns putting something on air play and just clicking it on the screen seems also useful, but …
I sen some weird power play stuff going on with the white board too.
I’ve heard famous stories of like Steve Jobs firing someone because they erased something on his white board or something. I’m sure that goes on all the time power plays over white boards. Like, “This is my white board, bring your own white board.”
I know.
Everyone has their own tripod with a white board.
Yeah, there’s something about just whoever makes it into the white board forces controlling the meeting.
Right. Then on the other hand we were talking about paper prototypes I think the book was like Bill Buxton, is that the guys name? Who wrote a book about sketching, but he has photos too of this elaborate book of doing paper prototype where it’s like … he’ll stimulate user interface by stacking notes and cutting out holes so you can slide things. It’s just ridiculous. It’s like couldn’t you do that more easily just on an iPad.
Well, I guess whatever is going to keep you happy in your job.
Yeah, that’s true.
Whatever feels good.
Keeps your brain moving.
It’s just are so hands on maybe that’s the only way that they can really think through a problem.
Absolutely. That’s what I think. You got to figure out how to do this work in a way that keeps you happy.
Yeah. Good point. One of your towns, I think this came from your website, I’m not sure. This was a question from the audience, but one of your towns was developing strong interested relationships with clients. I’m curious, what advice you give other creatives on developing that skill, developing those relationships?
Yeah. Okay.
That’s a big question right there.
Yeah. Can kind of wrap it back to a little bit of what we’ve already talked about and mirroring back what people say, which is a form of listening. I think you can’t really move further and move in unique and interesting directions and start to take your client in the direction you’d like to without first sort of acknowledging where they’re at and trying to understand where they’re coming from.
For me, I think, when I’m done with a presentation and people are like, “Oh my goodness. You actually heard us. We’ve been trying … and you figured out how to do something with what we’ve been thinking about.” That’s the best moment right there.

“I think you can’t really move further and move in unique and interesting directions and start to take your client in the direction you’d like to without first sort of acknowledging where they’re at and trying to understand where they’re coming from.”

You never want to sort of walk away from a meeting feeling like you just blindsides them or that they weren’t part of the journey to get there. It is their business. It’s their idea. They’re the ones who are going to work at that job forever. Well not forever, sounds awful. It’s their world so you’re there to sit and make it better and to help them grow. For me, yeah, it’s about being very kind and acknowledging their contributions in a really strong way.
That’s one way.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, how about you?
Yeah we struggle with that sometimes. I think it’s just I’ve seen lots of questions and what you were saying making sure, going out of your way to give them credit for ideas because you really do want buy in. you really want people to feel like we’re solving this problem that you have together and you we’re probably going to say this, but here’s my idea. You were probably going to get there anyway this is just putting it out there.
Yeah, and not in a pandering way. It’s believe it because they’re the ones who are living and breathing that subject matter every single day.
It can definitely be a struggle.
It cane be, but I guess that’s the skill is figuring out how to really utilizing them as a resource, which is usually how I try to think about clients. As a really good subject matter resource. Also the people who have to take care of it for the rest of it’s life, whatever it is.
I guess that’s a big incentive to do a good job on keeping them on board.
Right, because you don’t want to log on six months later and cry.
Right. Right. Yeah that’s a good point. They have an immense amount, usually, a domain knowledge of the stuff that they are coming to the table with whether it’s running a restaurant or they’re running this crazy online service or something. I feel like there’s a lot of compromise involved to find a place where they’re comfortable. When I approach something I’m always like, “I had these great ideas for how far we can push this.” You have to split the difference or something. Like, “Well, how can we still bring you the benefits that I’m excited about without scaring away people who are in your demographic or something.”
It’s hard.
It is hard.
I’m a designer and maybe designers famously tend to wards thinking that they’re artist sometimes.
Well, there is some artistry in there.
A little bit.
A little bit, yeah.
How would you, let’s take a step back, how would you define information architecture?
Well, I mean it’s a piece. It’s a tool you have in your kit to do good design work in my opinion. For me it’s just about how you represent content and ideas that you’re trying to express. It’s the structure of that representation. For instance, you might put something and say you’ve got a page and you’ve got three equal columns. You put information in those three equal columns with the same three headers, styles, and there they are in front of you.
If really one of those is actually a sub content to one of the other ones, but your placing it on the same exact level as the other two. Then they immediately starts to confuse somebody and they’re not sure. Those are just subtle little things in terms of digital design.
It’s a great example, yeah.
Yeah, right?
That’s a good example, yeah.
Then they dive back and step down and they start to … it just starts to collapse from there. It’s really subtle. I don’t know.
Mm-hmm, yeah. Talking about where you’re at right now, you finished this accelerator program. All right, what is it that you’re going to be doing now, for instance?
I’m working with two companies right now. One is a micro payment, or a mobile payment solution, that will be launching a pilot in Mexico soon. That ones been really interesting. I’m working on that with another agency in town.
Then another product I’m working on is called Co-Patient and you essentially send them your medical bills and they identify the errors and help you reduce them. They found that 80% of the bills they see has savings of 30 to 80%. It’s quite interesting space to be in. I’m working on the front end consumer products and trying to figure out how to make this … in my mind if a service like this exist it should just be like due diligence for your family.
You don’t have to do it, but if you do then you’re saving some money for your family and that’s awesome. Trying to figure out how to sort of wrap a really fun consumer experience or easy habitual experience to create that, but then there’s this also rally fun piece on the back end, which is supporting the people who are actually finding the errors and doing the work and helping figure out really interesting input methods for them to share their knowledge with the rest of the people so that can become more efficient.
I’m working on sort of developing different mechanisms to get that stuff out of their head and into a system. Along with matching that up with the technology in terms of pattern recognition and really smart databases.
Okay. How do you find projects like this? Do you just know a lot of people or is it … I’m just curious.
Oh yeah. Portland’s just a really wonderful place to be. I got laid off right at the beginning of the year, down economy, right after I moved here. I just went freelance. You go to lots of happy hours and lots of events and you meet everybody.
Like think and drink kind of thing?
Yeah. I’m an original think and drink member actually.
Yeah, yeah. Do you go?
No. I’ve been meaning to for like ever.
It was kind of a cool special thing. Actually I was thinking the other day and there are about five people who when that started did not call themselves UX. People that are now practicing UX people so I feel proud.
Yeah, there you.
I was just thinking about that the other day. Was like, “Oh, that’s so cool.”
It sounds like the type of stuff that your doing would touch a lot on what people call gamification. Is that a valid …
Is that a valid concept?
I guess that sort of concept is infusing everything we do these days isn’t it?
I think so.
Maybe, I guess, my role is to figure out what those game triggers are. Interesting. I haven’t thought of it that way.
I don’t know if that’s the right term. Sometimes I feel like that term is just … there’s probably a proper psychological name for it.
Maybe it’s just when it sort of …
The mechanism that hooks people, the mechanism that allows it to continue and grow that design process maybe.
Yeah. I don’t know … there’s a name for the thing where it’s intermittent reward that sort of hooks you to something. That online services has tried to successfully do a lot. I don’t know if it’s like with Twitter, periodically getting re-tweeted or maybe on Facebook getting … you know a lot …
Something related to a feedback loop of some sort.
Yeah, yeah. Where it’s like if you get a consistent reward you get board, but if you don’t know when the rewards coming and it becomes … hopefully some listener will call in.
Oh yeah.
Well, we’re not live, but … it’s someone out there what the name for that is. I know I should know.
I should know. I just sat down there and listened to a lot of speakers talk about gamification and those pieces that …
Like maybe that’s… yeah.
I’m really bad with remembering proper names and some vocabulary terms, but I got it in my head. Yeah. I think that’s an interesting way to look at it. Yeah because I’m not a visual designer. I’m not the one to take it to the place where the subtleties of expressing those methods, but more at the beginning where we sort of conceive of what they might be and how they might live and grow over time.
I was going to bring up the topical subject here or, you know. There was an event yesterday that Apple did, did you see any of the work that was down for iOS 7 or any of that? Did you watch that at all?
I didn’t because I was at our demo day.
Oh right.,
I took a couple of glances this morning on Twitter, but I didn’t have time to dig in. What do you think?
Oh, well …
I saw a blog or somebody put a tumblr together about all the designers complaining.
Yeah, I saw that.
Complaining tweets.
Yeah, yeah. I thought that was funny. I think probably when I look at it from a design perspective I like it, but I’m more curious. I feel like it might be, especially at first, people might be really confused. The user experience might … My whole take on it is that the original design of all this stuff was, I don’t know the term skeumorphic… Where you look at something and it looks like the thing it’s suppose to represent.
Oh sure, yeah. I’m sorry.
It went even beyond that with old iOS service like you’d see something and it would have a felt thing on it or stitching. It was much maligned, we’ll say, on social media and elsewhere. The new version of all of this just dispatchers of all of that. It’s all completely gone because maybe people don’t need that mental crutch.
I mean when the iPhone originally came out there was no reference point. There was no phones with no buttons and now many people don’t need that. I feel like it’s great, but a lot of people are going to be confused. There’s going to be a lot of tech support. I feel that from a users experience point it might be difficult for Apple.
I’m tired of making everything easy for everybody. I feel like at some point people need to be expected to learn something. I don’t know how far I’ll back that up, but that’s definitely sort of my gut feeling at this stage in the game.
Just that we’ve trained everyone to expect that if you can’t learn something in two seconds that it’s not wroth learning. When it comes to the digital I think it’s holding us back in a lot of ways. Now I will also say that I’m also highly passionate about thinking about the inequity that exist when people have to use tools that don’t work well and it puts them at a disadvantage. Somewhere in the middle of that there’s got to be some answer. Although I would say using an iPhone is not any sort of human rights so I’ll go ahead and take a moment to learn it.
Well this whole conversation came up to when the latest Windows came out. Have you played with that at all?
What do you think about it? Is it the same feeling you’re feeling about the new iOS?
It might well be. Yeah, it might well be. I think that … well, I mean, famously someone posted that video where it was he sat his dad down to use it and the poor man couldn’t launch an app or anything. People, they’re really hooked on the fact that there’s a start button and just familiar elements that they … I don’t know. I don’t feel like it’s quite to that degree with an iPhone because you still swipe your finger to the left and you still see the same grid of icons. You’re not going to have that problem.
It’s no where near the problem that Windows created with Windows 8, but at the same time I assume … when I played with it I played with one that was already installed, as did that gentlemen, but I assume the first time you run it there’s some sort of intro or something. Not that that’s an excuse for it being difficult to use, but I assume there’s something like, “The start menu is not here you do this instead,” or something.
Yeah right, maybe we just need to get a lot better at training people how to use things.
Yeah, maybe.
I don’t know. I mean a lot of people will disagree when they hear that. They’ll be like, “Blasphemy.” “We were trying to get zero training.” I don’t know though. Knowledge is gained through work and time and I guess …
It’s hard for me because I’m so old that when I was young if you didn’t read a book you could not use a computer. Like get out of town, there was no such thing. Even playing music was something you probably read a manual to do, like to operate a stereo.
Yeah, you don’t necessarily need a manual for your iPhone. You know you could take a moment watch a video or something. I’d like more customization and more awesome tools with something that I carry around with me all day. I’m constantly frustrated by my iPhone. I mean it just, there’s so many things that waste my time when it takes like five taps to get some place that I got regularly, shouldn’t I just have like a shortcut.
For example, what’s an example of that? I’m curious.
Well, you know, this isn’t the phones fault, but some blue tooth devices are just kind of lame. You know how long it takes to access your blue tooth? To select it. The way you have to force connect them?
Let me get this straight because I installed the beta …
You’re in your car …
Yeah, exactly.
… and you’re going through six tabs unsafely while driving down the road trying to … just a second I’m listening to my podcast. It was like crazy.
It’s funny. I installed it because I’m a risk taker and they did solve a lot of problems because it was in Beta there’s some real obvious problems that have come up. One of which was I was using it for directions to go to a meeting today and it popped up some alert asking for a WiFi password and then the whole thing just crashed. I couldn’t get … I was lost and it wouldn’t give me directions. It needs a little bit of work, but …
A lot of work.
… yeah, enough about that. What do you do besides what you do for work to get inspirational form you or make you a more well rounded person?
Yeah. Let’s see. I do love listening to radio and podcast. It was kind of fun to be here because my dream is to get interviewed by some of the greats because it would be so cool, like Kurt Anderson. I love him. I love to listen to stories. I love to hear how people craft things together. I love to hear little tidbits about new stuff I’ve not heard of. I love to hear people talk about their art and why and how they do it. That’s a big part.
Yeah, a lot of sitting around and chatting and talking with people, exploring ideas, saying the most ridiculous things and seeing how it sounds out loud. Conversation. You’re from Minnesota, right?
That’s right.
I thought I heard that. I think they have the best conversation in Minnesota. There’s this, I call I t an intellectual asshole, it’s this banter you just don’t get around here. I don’t know if it’s from being cooped up most of the year inside that you just become a good conversationalist.
That’s a great period. I’d like to hear that.
No, I mean there’s something so wonderful about it. It’s just so funny. Everybody went to liberal art school and I don’t know what I t is.
It’s so funny that you say that when my wife and I and our kids went to Minneapolis recently. We get to our hotel and I think three people started a conversation with us like we were in an elevator. You concentrating, being quiet, instead the person starts a conversation with Candace and she’s like looking at me nervously. Oh, this is the Midwest, everyone will start a conversation with you here.
I totally explain things. Around here I feel like people will just assume that you don’t want to hear it or that you might already know it. Well, I do this, maybe I’m not the one to talk on the subject so I don’t know. There’s something funny about that., Anyways so whenever I can find a good conversation that to me, I think, the most inspiring thing for my work, listening to other people and seeing where they’re coming from. Seeing how they’re formulating things because my whole job is about anticipating how peoples brains are going to work. The best way to do that is chatting with people.
Right. Do you have any … is there a TV show you’re in love with right now?
I’m one of those people who’s like behind by two seasons and watch it on Netflix.
No that’s totally valid, I am too.
Is that valid now?
I don’t actually get TV other than Netflix.
No, me either. I just do all the regulars. I love Friday Night Lights. I just watched that again. That was fun. Then everything else might, you know you could tell by looking at me what I would watch. I don’t like much violence so I got kind of far on the myth show, what is it? Breaking Bad.
Oh, Breaking Bad, yeah.
It just started getting too yucky so I had to stop.
Yeah. I don’t watch any of those shows.
Tyesha: I didn’t watch Dexter anything. I just can’t do it.
Ray” Right, right.
I’m too sensitive. That stuff just haunts me forever.
Me, too. I got halfway through the first episode of Dexter and I was like, “Oh, terrible!”
No, why?
Give me Friday Night Lights.
Yeah, yeah. I’m just a sucker for dumb comedies. Do you have any advice you’d like to leave folks with who are interested in doing the type of stuff that you’re doing?
Yeah. Well, somehow I feel I didn’t really explain what I do very well. That’s unfortunate, but I think all of us who do what I do have that fault.
Yeah. Well okay, on that subject I’m not sure. It seems like you do a little of everything. A round like really exciting new venture type stuff. That’s about the best I would be able to explain it to someone from my view.
Yeah, that’s right. I know. I help figure out exactly what the business should be and how to design a product that’s going to make it a super successful business. Then I do everything to the wonderful wire framing process and collaborating with visual designer to conceive wonderful interactions, both small and big.
All of those wonderful UX things, but I guess for me personally, the front, the beginning processes, the work shopping and brainstorming and organizing all the little bits of information to define what’s going to happen is really what I do.
I guess advice for people is I think if you have a natural talent for this type of stuff, if you’re always trying to make things make sense, if you’re always sort of identifying how something might be a little bit more graceful or feeling like products are ignoring actually human need and human behavior and you’re often trying to solve that, then sort of following that gut instinct… this might be a job for you.

“…if you’re always sort of identifying how something might be a little bit more graceful or feeling like products are ignoring actually human need and human behavior and you’re often trying to solve that, then sort of following that gut instinct… this might be a job for you.”

In that case then start putting the work in. If you’re a visual designer and you want to start get into this world of work then start documenting how you inform your design. Come up with different visualizations to visualize the process you took to get there rather than just doing it in your head and then just doing the design.
Going through those exercises will help you start to explore new questions you should be asking yourself. New research past that you might want to open up to have a more informed design. I think that’s probably my contribution end to the project. Of course lots of projects go forward without my type of position and role.
Lots of visual designers are amazing at doing a lot of this type of stuff themselves, but the UX designer brings an informedness by spending a lot of time by digging deeply into certain pieces and to finding out the answers. I guess as a visual designer or developer if you’re trying to make that transition it would be start to spend a little bit more time there. Then challenge yourself to figure out new and interesting ways to define projects before you actually start building them.
I don’t know. Yeah. Find someones shadow and work with.
Tyesha, can we expect anything exciting from you personally in the future? Are you working on some top secret projects you want to reveal here?
Well you know …
Someday someones going to have some amazing thing like, “Oh my gosh, I’m excellent in curing cancer, but …”
I know. Right, I want to. The Gates Foundation keeps putting out these wonderful grant proposal for really wonderful ideas that they want to through tons of money at. I keep looking at them and starting to jot down ideas and stuff. Nothing has stuck yet, but I got a lot of ideas.
I just recently, I think the last thing I wrote on my blog was about this idea of that having a desk job rules. How we need to sort of shift the attitude about a desk job so that people coming into the workforce who are in high school, who are transitioning careers actually see these as viable positions for themselves because amongst a lot of different either sub cultures or class of people or just personal experience the idea o f a desk job is not that great.
People are immediately counting that out when really that’s where the new economy is taking us. They need to sort of put a better picture in and show how really wonderful it can be. I have a desk job and it is amazing.
This is one of my new projects which I got to get some energy behind, but I want to start highlighting people doing amazing desk jobs and shift that. I think, I just think back to high school and it’s almost like a dirty word. People want to do more exciting things. Do you sense that?
What would you rather do then? I mean that seems like all the interesting stuff happens at desk. Maybe that’s at a standing desk maybe as an alternative.
I don’t know. I just look at growing up I always heard a lot of this and I still hear it today. I think there’s a segment of society that doesn’t quite understand what happens up in those big tall office buildings. In order for them to order have access to the middle class and to participate in the new economy that needs to be an available option to people.
I think that this perspective about the desk job is on of those perpetuating issues. It’s just a theory I started looking at. I’m just looking into that and thinking about it could be neat to go in and talk to high school students and show them sort of what are all those people doing in those big high rises and what could be really interesting are those little offices. I don’t know.
I guess I see what you’re saying. I think that my view is you just see some random massive office building and you just assume every one in there is still sitting there with punch card with those visors on as the thing.
Sharpening their pencils on a little pencil sharpener.
Yeah and that there’s no creativity there.
The economy has changed so much that’s not what … there’s probably no one in that building with a visor on and a pencil. They’re all like … that type of part of the workforce doesn’t … you don’t need massive numbers of people to sit there and work with spreadsheets. It’s more like that stuff is being automated so much that most of those jobs are becoming creative jobs.
I’d be like this is the best time in history to be a designer. It’s like the new booming …
Absolutely. I would say it took em until a number of years after college before I even realized designer was a job. That wasn’t even that long ago and I even went to college. It’s just …
Right, right, right. Yeah, yeah.
It’s just interesting to think about. I’m just wondering if there’s some way to contribute in a creative designerly fashion and sort of like some sort of campaign type of thing to sort of level the playing field. Just right out of the gate for peoples minds to shift and think, “You know what? I can’t wait to get my desk job. I want to punch the clock at my desk.” Because that’s where all the awesome stuff happens.
Yeah, yeah. There’s this keno expression in my mind with all this stuff that Apple put out. They had this thing where they showed this inspirational video. It was what they were selling was really not a product or anything. It was the phrase made by Apple in California. Well you need to make one that’s like made by person at desk.
Right, exactly. There’s some fun stuff…
Made by person …
I don’t know. I just think it would be interesting if people talk about their stories. Then just additionally on that point I remember being in the workplace when I first got out of college and seeing this really big discrepancy between male and female performance with the entry level folks. Also the lack of en at the entry level jobs in the offices.
Part of that had to do was when I, because I also was reviewing resumes in that job, guys would get these construction jobs and these other sorts of jobs that paid good money like in high school and right out of college. Then the girls would go and get these low paying administrative jobs where they actually started build skills. Whereas the men would come out of college and would just have this resume that would have like all these high paying labor jobs on it, but no office skills whatsoever. Which is quite interesting.
I know that we definitely haven’t, it hasn’t shifted to the point where women are way more successful in the workplace than men, but it was an interesting thing to think about.
Yeah, it is. It’s true.
It starts right there just like the skill levels and experience.
It’s a very good example, but a relative of mine had a son and he was really frustrated because he was like … I was off trying to do all these entrepreneur things and his son like wouldn’t. He was like, “I’ll give you this money to start a business,” and he was like, “Yeah, but …” He literally got a job hauling trash because it paid so much more quickly.
That’s right, absolutely.
I was like, “You are insane.” I’d click on the site are you crazy this guys offering you seed money to start a business doing anything, so many possibilities.
I know that, I could never relate to that kid.
Yeah. There’s something in there. I’m just touching the iceberg of what I think the problem is and to tell you the truth I haven’t really, it’s totally antidothal. I think there’s something about crafting a story about how amazing the new economy is and how to get into it. What the opportunities are. That starts to appeal on all levels. Also just celebrates this interesting time we’re in. I don’t know. We’ll see.
Well, you know the world needs ditch diggers, too.
Cool. Thank you Tyesha. Where should people find you online to learn more about what you do?
I am the OG Tyesha on pretty much every social network. That early adopter Tyesha, except at Twitter. Well, I do have Tyesha at Tyesha, but I’m TyeshaSnow on Twitter. TyeshaSnow.com and Tyesha on Instagram if you want to look at my super cute baby.
Thank you.
Yeah, thanks so much for coming down.
Yeah, awesome.