Resources Team

Introducing the Tacticians: Simon Keane, Design Lead

Hi Simon! What’s your job? 

I’m the Design Lead, so I own all aspects of Tactic’s design - everything from product to marketing to the brand, like the logo and typography. It sounds like a lot but it’s the key to successful design - having everything be interlinked visually. Good UX and design have huge power to improve the success of a product for customers. And that’s fun because everyone at Tactic is very multidisciplinary and interested in all aspects that impact the product experience.

How did you find your way to Tactic?

A few years ago I went freelance and positioned myself as a 0-1 Product Designer. So this has meant working with early stage companies and startups, like Tactic, at seed round or series A in their funding and hiring journey. I’ve moved into that space specifically because it’s so greenfield for me to work on big, open concepts and define all the design boundaries and goals from the get-go. Part of the appeal of joining the Tactic team for the current period was knowing that they wanted to do a rebrand with a new logo and redesign the website and product and, basically, everything! There was ambition and scope there.

What did you find attractive about Tactic when you applied to work here?

A mix of the above aspects, and also the people. For successful freelancing, and I only know this as a creative but I imagine it’s the same no matter what job function you’re in, it’s all about the chemistry you have with a company and its people. There aren’t many companies related to search, especially at this young stage, so that was appealing to me - breaking new ground. And finally, designing around big data was something I wanted to explore more - AI, NLP, ML are all very inspiring and you don’t get to work with those concepts frequently as a Designer.

What are you excited to achieve at Tactic?

The first things we shipped were the new brand and logo. That rollout was great - we got really good feedback from our audience, both customers and investors. Going from a DIY design set-up (which was good, but still DIY) to a full-stack system is great. And we have loads more to do! I’m currently working hard on the product to make it easier to use and more visually compelling. And it’s a good time for this work because the back-end is running to such a high standard, that it feels safe to work on the front end to express that better. 

What feature are you most excited about, current or future?

Specifically, I’m really enjoying working with some new starters on the Engineering team who are experts in machine learning. I’m working with them on some product features that will be really responsive and valuable for users. We’re going to start offering keyword suggestions. This is a hard feature to set up - what a computer thinks is good is typically way below human standard, so we’re working on the logic behind it and how to present it visually so it all makes sense. 

In a similar vein, I’m excited about reorganising the navigation of the interface. We have this lego-esque block construction that we can take apart and put back together with all the exact same pieces but in a new formation that’s nicer to experience on the front end. Lego is the analogy I always use! 

What’s your best set-up hack, whether that’s your surroundings or your app stack?

I got a standing desk, which was a great investment. It’s so nice to design standing up and take meetings that way too, and I switch it around throughout the day. It’s made a huge difference.

I also need good music - I’ve bought some new speakers so I can listen to music with high audio quality while I design. 

What unexpected use case would you love to test for Tactic? 

Something like business intelligence could be really good - a way for people to find out about gaps in markets, identify pain points, look for problems to solve, that sort of thing. There are so many startups around these days doing all sorts of things from small scope to big and I wonder what tools are out there to look up their differentiation, either from an Investor’s or Founder’s perspective. 

Go-to emojis on Slack?

I have two favourites that I probably use the most: the monkey hiding its eyes and the fire. 🙈 🔥

How do you switch off from work mode in the evenings and weekends?

Definitely music - I play guitar and have a few acoustic and electric guitars. I really wind down when I’m playing - I’ve done it for over ten years so that’s a nice way to chill out from design mode. I also like to run or lift weights after work. 

If you could work remotely from anywhere in the world for a week, where would it be?

So many places! I’m about to become a digital nomad for a while and my first stop will be Copenhagen. I can't wait. Scandinavian culture has always interested me so I’m really excited to get out there. 

Any work from home rituals?

I definitely like to have plants around - they soften all the tech set-up and make my space comfortable. And I prioritise getting out for walks to freshen up my energy. I live in a residential area that’s nice to walk in so it’s a big benefit being able to spend my time here. I like being able to play music without wearing headphones! That helps me set a nice mood for spending a few hours on graphic design. And sometimes in the summer I sit out on my roof terrace to work. So, not sure if they’re rituals but I have some nice work from home benefits. 

Dogs or cats?

I’m really 50/50… Probably cats because I grew up with them.

Burgers or hot dogs?

Definitely burgers.

Mac or Windows?

Mac.

Slack or Zoom?

Slack.

Film or TV?

Film…? I’d say film.

City or countryside?

Probably the countryside.

Spring, summer, autumn, winter?

I’ll go with summer.

Interested in joining the Tactic team? Check out our open positions here.

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