Hello! Who are you? Tell us about yourself. What are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing?
Hi, my name is Tony. I’m a designer from Albany, New York. I love to work with my hands, whether it’s renovating my house, fixing my truck, or a wood project. My love for building all started with my Lego sets as a kid. I also enjoy traveling, collaborating with friends/coworkers on projects and spending time with my family. Fun fact: I am looking for a van or small RV, so I can occasionally live the digital nomad life. 🚐
How did you get started in product design?
I was a business student for a couple of years in college but I took an Intro to Computer Science course and that changed everything. My professor (Dr. Johanna Horowitz) saw potential in me and encouraged me to change majors. Shortly after, I started as an Engineering intern at CSC (which has since merged with HP) and was the first hire for their new internship program.
I then got a job as the Student Manager for my college’s IT help desk. After I graduated from school, I was hired full-time to work on New York State’s Medicaid and Medicare system. I designed and built websites for organizations in my free time so early on I knew that my passion was in visual and interaction design.
In each subsequent position, my goal was to work closer to the user interface. In early 2013, I joined a project to build the Obamacare System (NY State of Health) as an engineer. After we hired a new director for that project, I asked him if I could switch to design and work with a design firm we hired called New Spin Digital. From then on, I either worked in a dual (design/development) product role or exclusively in design.
I always felt like I was behind because there was so much to learn in design, but I worked hard, read, and collaborated with folks much more seasoned than me so that feeling would start to fade. This approach definitely fast-tracked the learning process for me.
Where do you work today? What is your title?
I work at Auth0 as a Product Designer. Auth0 provides an easy way for developers to integrate authentication and identity verification. We’re a remote-friendly company based in Bellevue, Washington with offices in Buenos Aires, London, Tokyo, and Sydney.
How big is your company? How big is your design team?
Auth0 currently has about 460 employees and our design team is comprised of about 16 talented, humble, and fun-loving creatives. My team is extremely passionate about what we do. We are currently split into two teams: product design and marketing design.
What types of things are you responsible for day-to-day?
I am on two different product team triads. (Triad is a term that was started at Atlassian. It is a 3-person leadership team within the larger development team that helps create balance between the business, the customer and the product), our Operator and Administrative Experience teams. I am responsible for research, knowing our competition, building prototypes, creating new products/features, working with engineers, and designing UI components. Outside my normal role, I am working with a new project team and company leadership to demo some exciting stuff at our upcoming company retreat in Los Cabos!
What do you love most about your work?
- I love the freedom and flexibility that remote work can bring.
- Collaborating and sharing laughs with my co-workers. No one takes themselves too seriously, so we have a lot of fun.
- Auth0’s commitment to delivering customer value.
What drains you at work?
Meetings lol…I can be somewhat introverted at times.
Can you walk us through your typical work day?
|8:00am||Planning my day |
Make some loose tea. Fruity Pebbles is currently my favorite tea
Create a todo checklist, make sure all previous todos are completed, respond to messages, check email, calendar, update documents, and prep for meetings.
|9:00am||Sync Meetings |
My first meetings of the day are usual product triad sync ups. We meet daily to get updates on work and ensure the teams work matches the high-level strategy.
|9:30am||Project Work |
Individual work on in-progress projects
|11:00am||Project Meetings |
Entire product team meets to review, demo, etc.
|1:00pm||Design Team Collaboration |
We have one full design team critique session per week, product design team weekly meetings, 1:1s, and design pairings. This block is usually design team only collaboration.
|2:00pm||Customer Interviews |
I usually have a one or two customer interviews/usability tests scheduled per day. This discovery work feeds directly into on-going projects.
|3:00pm||Project Work |
Work on in-progress projects
|5:30pm||Winding Down |
I get ready to end my day by checking Designer News, Google News and sharing interesting articles, finishing up work for the next morning, and adding project documentation. Occasionally, I’ll have meetings or customer interviews during this time block because of timezone differences.
|6:00pm||Personal Projects, Volunteer Work, and Family time|
Where do you turn for inspiration?
I really enjoy getting inspiration from public spaces around New York City like Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum. I build things out of wood, renovate my home, or tinker with some tech to get inspiration. I also have a bookmark folder called “Favorite sites”. Whenever I find a site that I am inspired by, I add it to that folder. I also use Dribbble, CollectUI, Site Inspire, Nicely Done but sometimes inspiration just comes from taking a nap. 🤷🏽♂️
Walk us through the design process you used for a recent project (you can pick any project).
Typically, my design process begins with research. I comb through analytics, data, customer feedback, competitive analysis, and perform product thinking exercises like personas, empathy maps, and user story mapping. I then start on sketching and wireframes. Some of those wireframes may become prototypes that I will test out on customers. Next, the final designs and spec are created to hand-off to a developer. Lastly, once the feature is launched I’ll keep tabs on how it’s doing and iterate as needed.
What career advice do you have for product designers just getting started?
- Know thy users, their problems and pain points.
- Learn something about everything, and everything about something
- Train your design eye. You may be an amazing UX designer but without solid visual design chops people may be a bit skeptical of your abilities.
- Take all this advice as a grain of salt because experience is really the best teacher. Embrace that you can’t be in control of everything. You may not get hired. You may be fired. You may quit. Being driven, positive and happy despite external factors is pretty important. Just do your best. Jobs can kill you with stress if you let them.
Where’s the best place for folks to learn more about you or follow you?
I’m occasionally on Twitter. Instagram has photos of some of my travels. Also, Auth0 is always looking for great talent, so if you want to chat about the company or just send me a general question my email address is linked in the footer over at https://tonybagels.com. 😊