Tim Sheiner

I'm a veteran user experience designer with a background in physical product design and mechanical engineering.

My passion is creating interfaces that help people manage complex systems. I’ve designed for users of varying technical levels in many different domains. I excel at this work by meeting users where they are.

"Tim has a special skill for taking apart a complex problem and putting it back together better than anyone I have known. When they are reassembled, even the most complex ideas will flow with new, compelling logic and clarity."

Mark Hovde, (Retired) SVP Strategy and Corporate Development at Certara

Objective

I'm looking for a fulltime leadership position with an experienced team working to operationalize a complex system management problem in the area of logistics, manufacturing, alternative energy, or ecological health.

I will bring design craft to your organization and hit the ground running to build a team and develop a user experience strategy. In addition to product design skills, I have expert-level understanding of system thinking, machine learning, networks, high scale compute, and biological systems.

Experience

My professional work experience is broad. I've worked on B2B, B2C, and B2B2C products in every sort of commercial design context from consultancies to startups to publicly traded companies. Below are highlights from the last fifteen years of my career.

Customer Relationship Management Platform

My recent work at Salesforce has been focused on developer experience (DX). I've designed a a project-based, VCS-backed change and release management experience that enables low and pro code developers to collaborate. Previously I worked on our IoT product and managed our design system team for a time.

At Salesforce I have worked on several aspects of our Platform offering. Here are two case studies.

Developer Experience

My focus has been on enabling low code and pro code developers to collaborate.

I brought people together to workshop needs and expectations.

Structuring ideas at the whiteboard.

I played a central role in formalizing "projects" as the organizing principle for all development work.

I told stories that connected with stakeholders.

I facilitated, through research and presentation, my team's understanding of our customers.

Everyone on the team tells stories about personas.

I visualized the handoffs between DeeDee's GUI and the version control system as a user journey.

Handoffs connect layers of experience.

I created happy path and error models for each workflow.

Workflows are short, repeating stories with constrained branch points.

Using the Salesforce Lightning Design System I then designed a custom app with 3 primary workflows.

Change Management
moving changes from a development environment to source control

Forms on Git

a form for submitting changed metatdata
Release Management
deploying changes from version control through a QA pipeline to production

Every persona appreciates a visual view of the release pipeline!

a kanban arrangement of release stages and work items
Audit
reviewing a searchable timeline of all activity history

Everyone can see what happened.

Events, Monitoring & the Internet of Things

To harmonize the work of several platfrom teams I developed a standard UX model for monitoring.

A blueprint for receiving, interpreting and responding to events of any sort.

I championed the simple but powerful idea of listing for a developer the events available directly in the UI without having to consult documentation.

People can't understand what they can't see.

I designed dashboards for security and operations management.

Security Dashboard

Operations Dashboard

I championed a simple model showing how our IoT service could enable external events to trigger platform automation.

Event based connections between systems is the future.

For our IoT offering I focused removing friction in from our onboarding experience.

Onboarding best practice is to tell an engaging story about realizing value.

Make IoT set up feel a little bit like playing with Legos.

I developed a strategy for making it easier to debug IoT logic that included displaying, in real time, events being received and processed.

The IoT Debugger

I worked with a team to bring IoT monitoring to call center case management.

Timeseries gives the case agent a view into device behavior.

Streaming Analytics Platform

At this streaming data analytics start up I built a design studio of 5 that executed all design work for product and marketing.

I acted as player/coach managing and growing my team, directing the overall creative output of my studio, leading detailed design projects and providing the executive team with UX strategy.

"Tim is a great designer and brings a broad set of skills to the product development process. At Jut, he built and effectively led a talented team of designers. He can institute rigorous process when it matters and do more free form work when needed. Tim is fun to work with, and most important, he is a high-quality human being. I'd love to work with him again."

Steve McCanne, Coding CEO at Brim

Streaming Analytics Platform

Jut was a streaming data start up. Our vision was "easy data visualization for DevOps." I was hire #7, or something really early like that, brought in to create and lead a design function from scratch for a team of ambitious founders who already represented the executive, product and engineering leadership. I owned the UX strategy for Jut, created our design system and built a small but mighty design team that produced a beautifully integrated brand, marketing and product user experience.

As a company we made a critical start up mistake and flamed out after only two years, however, those years were some of the most interesting of my career.

Here's the story.

A Solid Discovery Process

The Jut business startegy was to serve the DevOps market with tooling for monitoring and troubleshooting production software installations.

Things began, as they should in product development, by trying to understand our target users. Employing a variety of research techniques such as 1:1 interviews, attending DevOps trade shows and reading community blogs I led the founders through the process of creating personas.

I drove the research and development of Kyle, our primary persona.

I helped the founders structure their DevOps vision by introducing them to the notion of "design by story telling," using both text and visual formats.

Every design begins with a story.

These promising beginnings led to a collaboration with a CDN provider as a design partner. This relationship resulted in a well received prototype that gave Kyle a visual overview of all the event traffic on his network, combined with a simple mechanism for filtering to the events coming from particular logical or physical nodes during a particular time window. Kyle (that is, real people like persona Kyle) thought it was a great tool for rapidly locating problem spots when troubleshooting network issues.

The Mistake

The next step after our successful initial prototyping experience was to begin creating our actual first product. This produced an intense debate about which of three different application styles to pursue:

  • an IDE, like a programmer would use
  • a Notebook, like a data scientist would use
  • a Data Explorer, most like the prototype, that was primarily a diagnostic tool, navigated by searching & filtering

The source of this conflict came from the tension between developing an application or a platform. We'd prototyped and tested an application for Kyle but the founders the real value would come from building a platform based on a new programming language they would create, to be called Juttle, with syntax optimized for analyzing, visualizing and alerting on streaming data at scale.

To visualize the options I organized a sketching session where I asked 3 teams to sketch the same 6 steps in a workflow, but using 3 different interaction models. The result was an "apples to apples to apples" visual comparison of the different strategies.

Three versions of the same story.

And here the team made a critical, and classic, mistake: the decision was to create an experience, midway between an IDE and a Notebook, that would be most useful to our internal team that needed a tool to write, test and debug the new syntax they were creating.

Mine is not to wonder why…

At this point I had personal doubts about our product strategy but I loved the team, the culture and knew that given the size of our war chest, worst case it'd be at least two years before I had to look for a new job so I accepted the executive call and began to wireframe key workflows.

The notebook UX pattern is great for "exploring" data programmatically

Simultaneously, I architected our design system and art directed its visual expression.

The Jut UI Toolbox was the 4th design system project of my career

I combined our UI "toolbox" and wireframed flows to produce and refine high resolution mock ups.

Before Figma and Sketch, I thought Keynote was a pretty good prototyping tool.

Meanwhile I used visual modeling techniques at various levels of abstraction to catalyze internal consensus about the system we were building.

Part of UX strategy is aligning the team on visual concepts

I focused intensely on ensuring we had alignement on our object model and the words we used to describe the concepts in our system.

No project succeeds without shared terminology.

I extended the scope of UX beyond the GUI by designing our charting syntax.

Declarative Charting Syntax

Meanwhile my energy, can-do attitude and work ethic created trust with the founders who responded with a promotion and budget to grow my design team.

Scenes from a charette at my house

Hello World!

All of this design work, plus some truly amazing engineering, enabled the team to release an extremely powerful tool for analyzing and visualizing streaming data. At least, powerful if you were one of the ~30 people in the world who knew how to write Juttle.

Real-time & historical events and logs could be displayed in a single dynamically updating chart.

We also had a nice set up experience for connecting data streams to our system.

Data Integration GUI

My team was also responsible for all the marketing design deliverables. We really enjoyed the chance to create a tight integration between the marketing and product experiences.

Website for Product Led Growth

Brand Guidelines

Marketing Cutsheets

Unfortunately, none of this great work could make up for the fact that a product strategy of "you need to learn a new programming language" was a non-starter. Juttle was amazing, but because of the time that had to be invested to understand this, very few people actually tried our product.

Once again, with feeling!

My response was to go back to the beginning and make the case for creating a productized version of the search-based diagnostic experience we'd prototyped originally. I took on the role of product manager, and wrote a product brief complete with hi-res wireframes.

Product Brief

On the strength of this proposal I got one engineering resources to help me build an MVP. Interestingly the "platform" strategy showed its strength because using only Juttle and the Jut design system we were able to create a functional application extremely quickly.

The power of Juttle via Point and Click

When I took this out for user testing the response was great. Sadly, we had begun this pivot too late. Out of money and time, Jut was shut down after 2 years, pretty much exactly matching my worst case prediction.

Overall Jut was a wonderful experience, one that created great friendships, exposed me to fascinating technology, gave me a chance to grow as a design leader and will go down as the proudest failure of my career.

Business Intelligence Platform

I improved the user experience at this BI start up by introducing a faceted search functionality and a modern look and feel. The new UI framework I designed and coded was standards-compliant and easily-themed to support our white label business model.

"Tim transformed Jaspersoft. He took a product weakness and turned it into a competitive advantage."

Mary M. Flynn, Senior Director Product Marketing at Okera

At Jaspersoft I was simultaneously lead designer, product manager and front end dev. I led projects that improved the product UX, visual design and technical architecture.

I modernized the interface look and feel.

I introduced a faceted search experience.

The themeable front end framework I built supported our white label business model.

Content Delivery Network Self Service Application

I collaborated with a great team at Hot Studio to work on the redesign of Akamai's self-service portal. I contributed to the user research, UX strategy and design that led to a much easier to understand navigational model for the experience.

"I hired Tim to help us with a project to redesign a complex enterprise web application. He connected immediately with our internal team and also developed a strong positive rapport with our client."

Danielle Malik, Head of UX at Futuredraft

Our work for Akamai focused on improving the visual design and navigation for their management console.

CDN Monitoring and Configuration.

IoT Platform

I contracted with GE during the development of their Predix IoT platform to bring structured, repeatable user-centered methods into all stages of their Agile cycle. I piloted the process successfully, consolidated the win by mentoring a young designer succeed me and was gratified to see other scrum teams begin requesting dedicated UX support.

"Tim is an excellent designer, strategist, communicator and change agent. He consistently suggested ideas to me a month or more before I began to hear those same things from other people."

Dan Harrelson, VP, design leader, and advisory board member

e-commerce platfrom

At Apple I worked on search and community features for our online store.

Working on the Apple online store, I gained e-commerce and search engine optimization experience.

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Now check out the values I bring to work or learn more about my backstory.