Streaming to you from the sunny side of the bay in beautiful Oakland, California, you’ve found the internet home of people-centered digital software designer and resident tall person, Kyle Turman.
Stay curious and don’t be afraid to question things that have gone unquestioned for too long. Follow your curiosity, push beyond the surface, and challenge the status quo.
Keep learning from diverse voices of both past and present. Maintain an open mind and gain perspective. If you learn you’re wrong about something: listen, learn, & do better.
Let’s design the future to equitable and sustainable — inspired by humans and nature. The future is ours to design, so let's help create a better life for all, not just a few.
A Brief History
Hailing from the pan-shaped state of Oklahoma, I've zipped across these United States (with my lovely partner Annie and trusty dog Lulu) to work with some spectacular folks at companies of many shapes, sizes, and stages.
Over the past 17+ years, I've helped build teams, evolve brands, create systems, and design & ship software both large & small. Through it all my goal has been to keep the focus on people — from the people who use software to the people who make it.
I deeply believe people deserve care, respect, and joy, and here's how I've tried to keep that in mind over the years...
I joined Slack right between a public offering and a worldwide pandemic that changed the way many of us work. Needless to say I've witnessed and helped bring to life a host of changes, but a thing that stayed true is how I saw folks balance caring for one another and our customers so well.
I learned this fast as I worked with top-notch folks right out of the gate to overhaul our sign-up and login surfaces using new product principles like "Be a good host," and continued to learn as I collaborated with brilliant engineers to push the future of the Slack developer platform.
I finished up my time there by leading a ragtag crew of designers, technologists, and systems folks that aimed to make the design infrastructure of Slack fast, high quality, and delightful — which ended up laying down the foundation for a larger IA redesign project.
Look, I never thought I'd move to the Bay Area. Yet, after meeting the Dropbox Design team, I was in. We moved to Oakland and I had the amazing fortune of leading the Design Systems and Mobile design teams. The level of detail and polish that went into design was just inspiring to be around.
We worked with the brand team to figure out how to better infuse the Dropbox brand into the product at scale — all the way down to decisions on how the loading spinner animated to the sharpness of buttons. I fell in love with learning how to coach and inspire folks to rise to the occasion and it was incredible to see what we could accomplish together.
When I walked into the Etsy office in Brooklyn for an interview it felt like I had stepped into what can only be described as some kind of eco-hipster-nerd heaven. My people. I learned from many likeminded folks who wanted to make a difference for both the world and their customers and learned how to build a truly user centered design practice.
With A+ mentors, I grew into management and learned how to bring people together to successfully launch large-scale projects — like a renewed Etsy seller tools experience with a shiny new order and shipping management dashboard. After we helped take Etsy public, I got involved in Design Systems and, with the amazing Etsy brand team, we created and rolled out a new look for Etsy that championed its handmade roots.
Agencies and Startups
I had awesome opportunities to learn from some of the best designers on how to craft stories and brand narratives then bring them to life with interactive experiences on the web. I was blown away that I got to work with amazing established brands like Mailchimp, Google, and even Totinos Pizza Rolls, and then contrast that with working directly on early stage startups to bring products from 0→1.
Web browsers become more advanced and so did apps. It was easier and easier to do things no-one had done before (at least without Flash anyway). Modern tools like ruby on rails and responsive web design allowed me to things like design and build a complete online order management webapp experience for a local pie shop that helped expand their business to 4 locations across the state.
The good ol' back-in-the-day. Mine consisted of making logos, posters, brochures, and album art but I kept getting pulled to the web. The internet was starting to explode with web design, mobile apps, and most importantly gifs.
It was an amazing place and I wanted to build cool helpful things on it. I started to surf the wave and realize I could just build things. From one of the first mobile university apps launched in the brand new iPhone App Store to building custom donation management software for the non-profit I was working for using a new payments API that just came out called Stripe, which saved them thousands in processing and management fees.