Shanique Shields

Shanique Shields — Broker Genius

NYC based designer who loves startups, obsessing over cats, and smiling a bit too hard. She also fancies helping companies meet their full potential with user focused design.

What led you into design?

When I was younger, I always knew that I wanted to be in a field that allowed me to be creative. I used all of my free time to improve upon my drawing skills. When I was around 15, I purchased my first Wacom tablet so that I could draw commissions for users online. It was here where I connected to people who had a rich understanding of digital mediums and also shared many of my core interest.

Still wanting to enhance my skills, I decided to attend Rochester Institute of Technology. I decided to pursue Industrial Design since I love the thought of creating physical products that would be used by consumers. However, after graduating, I started doing freelance jobs for small businesses involving branding and web focused products. I knew I could not stay in this state of limbo forever. Therefore, I set out to find a new career path. I researched fields that I could apply my current knowledge towards, and I landed on UX design. UX felt at home with me because many of the principles that I had learned in my schooling could easily carry over to the digital workspace. I invested all of my money and efforts into learning all I could about UX design. After I had felt confident in my core skills and with -$1000 dollars in my account, I took a chance at applying to SoundCloud and the rest is history. :D.

What does a typical day look like?

Wake up. Grab Food. Run to Bus. Transfer to Train. Read a Design Book on the train. Get to office. Browse Muzli board. Work. Drink Tea. Take the Train. Bus. Play Binding of Isaac. Draw. Read. Sleep. Repeat.

What’s your setup?

Where do you go to get inspired?

ReallyGoodEmails I mean who knew Emails had so many little gems of UI Greatness!! I love browsing through this site to see how far companies push their e-mail marketing campaigns. Plus, they have an awesome logo and allow you to view the live email so you can poke at its inner workings.

PTTRNS Has a great collection of mobile patterns that I refer to when I’m working on new UI elements for Android or Ios. Even though now most of the patterns are behind the paywall it’s still a good resource.

Design Milk has a great curation of Furniture and Architectural design products. I get a lot of inspiration from the different natural textures and innovation in furniture design.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

I <3 the new update to Things 3. The minimal design makes focusing on task easier, and the subtle pops of color add a whimsical element to the product. When I am looking at the UI of a product, I like to see consistency across all platforms and Things 3 has done that very successfully. The text hierarchy is soo well-done, and it is super easy for a user to navigate through the interface ... everything about this UI makes me happy.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

I really enjoyed all the work I did during my time at SoundCloud. I mostly worked on SoundCloud Go and SoundCloud GO+. I played a big role in mapping out the user experiences of someone upgrading or purchasing SoundCloud Go+ on web and mobile. I also worked on aligning settings across all platforms, conveying the value props of Go/Go+ with onboarding, and creating upsells to make signing up for SoundCloud Go/ Go+ easier.

What design challenge do you face at your company?

Having a small design team means that you have to take on more responsibilities and deal with tight turnarounds. Developing a design system and getting buy-in from different teams can also be a hassle. However, slowly but surely teams are getting excited about participating in design sprints and sketching sessions. Having a CEO that is excited about improving the user experience is also a huge help, and our team hopes to continue to develop a culture where design is valued and is perceived as more than just making the product pretty.

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Speak Up & Invest in your craft are the two things I think are imperative for ambitious designers. Being a shy person I have found that there are times I may have had a good idea and didn’t speak up. Speaking up increases your visibility at a company and is also great for getting your awesome ideas heard and implemented.

I have always been a strong believer in investing in things that can help you grow. Never be afraid to shell out those extra coins for things that will benefit you in the long run. Take that expensive Mandarin class, or go purchase that fancy tablet, as long as it adds value to your craft! :D

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Anything from this album :D

Anything you want to promote or plug?

Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you want to grab coffee in NYC!

Also, if you love cheesecake check out JohnnysCake for authentic jamaican inspired cheesecakes :D.

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