Interview with Wes Martin, UX Designer at Shiftgig

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Wes Martin is an alum from the Kobi Cohort. After over ten years in creative production, Wes came to Designation to develop a more complete approach to user-centered design.


Where are you now working, and what is your job title?
Shiftgig, a later stage startup in Chicago. UX Designer.

Tell us a little bit about your new job!
Utilizing web and mobile technologies, Shiftgig provides on-demand temporary staffing for service and entertainment events, customer service, warehouse, and call centers. My role is to unify our digital and service experiences so our clients can easily find the talent they need and workers can find jobs they want.

How would you describe the Designation experience?
A tidal wave of knowledge, immersion, and emotions.

What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort?
That all roads lead to service. You can have the smartest and funnest technology, but if it doesn’t have a service experience built within it, or is not being itself a service solution, or does not provide an extended experience of service beyond the technology, then it will probably struggle to be compelling.

“You can’t be in this industry and not care about all touch points of human engagement.”

What are the people at Designation like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)?
Accessible mentors. Staff are teachers, while still being very warm and present, generally always up for immersive geekery conversations and always approachable. After the program, staff worked hard to help me find opportunities that were a good match for me. With fellow students, the mentoring and reflection has a similar rapport, just with a little more closeness, greener passion, learner’s naivety, and occasional innocence of not having the exact knowledge.

What were you doing before you came to Designation?
I worked in creative multimedia production and marketing for 10 years. I had brushed UX and in fact built quite a prolific amount of interactive products – just had never had formal training in UX, HCI, and visual design principles.

How did you hear about Designation, and why did you decide to come?
My old friend Google pointed me in Designation’s direction. I had looked at and been accepted to a coding bootcamp, and I decided studying and working in an area that was more (directly) people-facing was more true to my core talent, so started looking for UX/UI bootcamps. Designation had the most legit “appearance” through an excellent website and a high sense of organization. Designation also seemed like a good combo of that freshness and passion that accompanies a startup, the sense that they are leading the industry and providing a thorough yet fast alternative to traditional education.

How did Designation help prepare you for your new role?
Designation armed me with so much that I would probably have to be in the absolute perfect world sunnyday work environment to be able to use it all. If I ever work at a place where I will be able to use all the process and techniques I learned at Designation, I will be in a place with lots of time capital and probably at the forefront of building the utmost products and experiences. That being said, I feel well prepared for my current role, and very importantly, Designation helped me cement a habit of continuing self-education moving forward.

What was your favorite part of the Designation experience?
All the different people who came to learn and study, their different motivations, personalities, strengths, quarks, types of humor, their back stories, motivations and dreams for moving forward. I found it invigorating to be around those diverse types of energy and drive. Also have to say, the diversity of the knowledge base – it’s all spectrums of UX (research, strategy, architecture, interaction design, prototyping, implementation, measurement), plus UI in visual and beyond visual practices and tools, plus a bit of front-end coding.

What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
The experience people have of working with you is their “UX” of you. If you are positive, flexible, open minded, creative, present, and involved, then you produce a facilitative inner-team “UX” that leads to ultimately discovering and orienting the best experiences for your clients, constituents, and your own organization. You can’t be in this industry and not care about all touch points of human engagement.

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