Interview with LaTiesha Caston
has been doing digital and experience design almost her entire career and has now started to delve into product and service design and she finds that she really loves and enjoys working on solving those types of problems; big, hairy problems that require lots of research, prototyping, and testing but ultimately lead to a solution that is useful, meaningful, and relevant.
As a person of color from a low-income background, LaTiesha has always had a passion for solving problems in a way that makes life easier for anyone with any background. At this point in her career, she knows that it matters less how beautiful something is, and more if it solved a problem in a feasible, useful, and most importantly, inclusive way.
Hi LaTiesha, would you introduce your design practice? What got you interested in UI/UX design?
So I'm a product designer, and I've been a product designer for a few years. What got me into UI/UX design was the first job I had in New York. They weren't calling it you are UX design at the time they were calling it "experience design" but it was the first job where I was sort of challenged with making something not look just visually appealing which I was pretty good at I thought I had been to art school and I was just fresh out of art school. But there was this extra layer of complexity which had to do with the layout of a page, or the layout of an experience, the flow of an experience why you place a button in a certain place why you make it a certain color. And I was just really intrigued by that extra layer of complexity and I thought it was a challenge and I really liked that and I responded well to it.
What are your preferred tools? Pens? Pads? Programs? What do you design with?
OK so I love this question. Preferred tool definitely a Pen and a Pad, specifically Muji pens and Muji pads because I'm a stationary freak but we won't get into that. Yeah definitely Sketch first for anything it's mostly for myself because a lot of people can't understand my sketches so it's really just to get like the groundwork down. Then once I move onto the compute,r of course I'm a product designer, Sketch is the industry standard. And I just love how easy it is to just move things around very quickly and duplicate things to just get your ideas out there for prototyping. I love Principle and I love Framer and just the classic Adobe programs as well. Sometimes I use Illustrator for like icons and sometimes I even use InDesign. If I'm laying out like something that's supposed to be printed. So yeah.
What are you currently working on now? Are you part of a team?
So I work for a social media company and I work for business customer. So just working on different ways to connect businesses with their customers. I am on a team. So pretty big team, but there's only two designers. Me and another designer and it's mostly engineers and so there's a lot of collaboration with engineers but they're all super great. So it's a very fun place to work and I really love what I'm doing.
What industries have you typically designed for? Are there any you would like to focus on? Any industries you would like to break into?
So I've actually designed for a few different industries. I had to make a little lift here if I could remember but yeah retail, food, B2B, entertainment and media and now work for a social media company. And the one industry that I want to get into is Education. I am obsessed with the intersection of technology and education and what the future is going to bring and I'd really love to be a part of something like that.
What's some advice you would give yourself as a fresh graduate looking for their first gig?
Words to a new grad, so first off. Hi! Welcome, especially if you're a person of color. We definitely need more of you. The second thing is so if you're looking for company make sure it's something you really enjoy working on. It's really easy to just get stuck in a job and just doing sort of work that you don't really believe in. And it can really affect the output once you found some companies that you really like and you want to start applying to and you get those interviews. Definitely make sure you talk a lot about your ideas. I know it's good to go in and to show that you have like visual scenes and that you can do the work. That's definitely what they looking for but they've also already looked at your portfolio so don't spend too much time on the visuals. Talk about your ideas! That's the best part of working with new grads and younger people is that they offer a fresh perspective on things so maybe you have a project that you don't consider it your strongest visually but you just approached it from a way that's different from anything you've ever seen or you approached it with a different perspective. Consider adding it to your portfolio because that's what people are really looking for. They want to know that you can do the work, they want to know that you have good visual sense, definitely but they also want your ideas.